The Yankees are going back to the future. Brian Sabean has rejoined the organization as an executive advisor to senior vice president and general manager Brian Cashman, the team announced on Tuesday.
Sabean’s scouting acumen has been widely credited with helping to shape the Yankees’ dynasty of the late 1990s. Sabean spent the past 30 years with the Giants, including a lengthy run as the club’s senior vice president and general manager from 1996-2015 and the Giants’ executive vice president of baseball operations from 2015-18.
"It's a little bit emotional and overwhelming, somewhat of a strange twist of fate after 30 years to rejoin the organization that I started in," Sabean said. "A lot of memories are flashing back, specifically thinking about people like Gene Michael and Bill Livesey, who were very instrumental in my growth as an executive and as a person."
The 66-year-old Sabean will join the trusted network of voices in Cashman’s inner circle, which also includes assistant general managers Jean Afterman and Michael Fishman, vice president of baseball operations Tim Naehring and special assignment scout Jim Hendry.
"It's humbling. At my age, I really appreciate being wanted and needed," Sabean said. "As I talked to Cash, I think it became organic as to how I could help the organization. I’m all in. I’ll do anything to help the Yankees win another World Series. Our family is thrilled, and we’re totally invested."
Under Sabean’s leadership from 1996-2018, San Francisco earned eight postseason berths, claiming five division titles, four National League pennants and three World Series championships. Sabean spent the last four seasons as a Giants executive vice president, working on strategic initiatives as a senior advisor and evaluator.
Sabean began his baseball career with the Yankees, joining the organization as a scout in 1985 before earning a promotion to the director of scouting from 1986-90, and the vice president of player development and scouting from 1990-92.
He was among the scouts who traveled to Kalamazoo, Mich., in the spring of 1992, evaluating a lanky teenaged shortstop named Derek Jeter. Sabean saw enough in Jeter to recommend selecting him with the sixth overall pick that June. He oversaw the farm system when Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Bernie Williams all earned their pinstripes.
"I was a link in the chain," Sabean said. "The Tampa consortium, as I call it, really was a think tank. As I look back, we were probably best in class in scouting and player development. To be part of that and watch that grow, and then when I left to go to the Giants, seeing it come to fruition was extremely gratifying."
Sabean joined the Giants in 1993 as an assistant to the general manager and vice president of scouting player personnel. He spent the 1995 season as the senior vice president of player personnel before being promoted to general manager in 1996.
"I still have a great passion for the game," Sabean said. "I really have been exposed to almost everything in the game. I’ve run almost every department you can in an organization. After 30 years of a very eventful stay in San Francisco, I don’t know how much more I could have given or contributed. This is very exciting, to the point of me being nervous, as well as invigorating."