Brian Cashman's contract was about to expire, less than a decade after he became general manager of the New York Yankees, and the relationship between him and owner George Steinbrenner had been so tense that he assumed he would be let go. He gave what he thought would be his last recommendations to Steinbrenner and focused on the need to build the farm system.
For years, Steinbrenner's habit had been to trade a lot of the minor leaguers for help in the big leagues, but the Red Sox -- under new GM Theo Epstein -- had started to demonstrate the power of developing a steady stream of talent in the farm system. This is the future, and this is what the next GM needs to do, Cashman told Steinbrenner, and the phone call ended.
A little while later, Steinbrenner called Cashman and asked him if he would stay and implement the changes he recommended. Since then, Cashman has fostered what has been good player development, producing Robinson Cano, Brett Gardner, Luis Severino, Aaron Judge and others. The Yankees have clung to a lot of their best prospects.