New York Yankees Haven’t Won a Pennant Since Brian Cashman Called Them a ‘Fully Operational Death Star’

The New York Yankees were just swept by the Houston Astros in the ALCS, marking yet another season of disappointment for the team and their fans.

With a current 13-year World Series drought, a tough division to get through in 2023, and likely AL MVP Aaron Judge about to hit free agency, there are quite a few reasons for frustration in the Bronx.

But if fans are looking for even more reasons to be upset, they can revisit comments from 2018 made by General Manager and Senior Vice President Brian Cashman.

During the winter meetings in December after the end of the 2018 season, Cashman memorably declared that the Yankees were a “fully operational Death Star.”

New York Yankees GM speaks to the media
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – New York Yankees General Manager and Senior Vice President Brian Cashman speaks to the media during the 2022 season that ended with the Yankees being swept by the Astros in the ALCS. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Since he made those comments, the Yankees haven’t won a single pennant.

While they have won the division twice since, they’ve also missed out on several major free agents and watched their division rival Rays advance to the World Series in 2020.

Yankees Compared to Small Market Rays

The disappointing results are even more obvious when making a direct comparison to the Rays, who have actually won more playoff games over the same time period while spending $535 million less in payroll.

While money can clearly buy some level of postseason success, it’s nearly impossible for it to guarantee a title.


But postseason success can be random and not representative of a team’s true talent level.

Except there’s been very little benefit in the regular season as well.

Since the start of 2019, the Yankees have won 327 regular season games, while the Rays have won 322.

$535 million more in payroll, all to win an average of 1.25 games per year more than Tampa.

It seems unlikely that’s what Cashman would describe as a “fully operational Death Star,” although maybe it’s fitting considering that in the Star Wars franchise, all the Death Stars that were built got blown up.

Written by Ian Miller

Ian Miller is a former award watching high school actor, ice cream expert and long suffering Dodgers fan. He spends most of his time golfing, eating as much pizza as humanly possible, reading about World War I history, and trying to get the remote back from his dog. Follow him on Twitter.


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  1. In two weeks, close to a million American aged 18 will vote for the first time.

    As they do, they might also ponder why in their lifetimes the Yankees have fewer American League pennants than:

    Red Sox
    and Royals

  2. By Cashman’s definition the Houston Astros are a fully functional death star. The ONLY question mark for the 2023 Astros is Justin Verlander. Crane has said no one will out bid him for JV. If JV leaves, it’s because he wanted to leave a franchise that gave him the experiences of the last 6 seasons. That would be cool if JV wants to go somewhere else. He’s given Houston fans incredible thrills during those seasons he’s pitched.

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