Feels weird two weeks into October and the Yankees are spectators instead of two American League teams in the League Championship series. Instead, Yankees brass and their fans are spectators as the Rangers and Astros continue to play baseball deep into October.
Basically, the Yankees need to be fixed. There are so many repairs to a roster that is arguably far off from replacing the Astros and Rangers in the ALCS next October, so the owner has commenced meetings with outside evaluators to get this right.
Unprecedented, perhaps, because the Yankees have never been in this position of bringing in outsiders to evaluate what went wrong. The dependence of analytics and failures will reportedly lead to changes, though what and who will be determined.
But believe me, this will be fixed because the Yankees are sitting on the outside and are not comfortable being there. A fan base is livid, and the owner is reportedly upset. Though, before going into specifics of a roster reconstruction, the values of Aaron Judge and soon to be AL Cy Young Award recipient Gerrit Cole, the fix does not concern manager Aaron Boone. The Yankees manager has been retained and a change would have been announced days ago.
And any word about GM Brian Cashman, the architect of a 82-20 season and fourth place finish in the AL East, not returning would have been known by now. All indications are Cashman has been retained and why not? The GM should be at fault for the underachieving Yankees with the second highest payroll in baseball, but there is loyalty here and that previous track record of success.
It’s now in the hands of owner Hal Steinbrenner, Cashman, evaluators, opinions of the manager, and an outside auditor not known and meeting down in Tampa Florida, They have met and will continue to assemble with so few leaks of information. Then again, what does an outside evaluation team offer that Cashman and others can provide?
Here in line is the issue of being on the same page, plotting potential trades, and free agents that can turn this around in 2024. Where the decisions are headed leads to speculation and interesting few months that begin at GM meetings in November. What follows are the early December annual Winter Baseball meetings in Nashville.
Regardless, the Yankees need to be fixed with or without an outside auditor that Steinbrenner requested. Heck, if his late Dad (George) was in charge, heads would have rolled months ago with a new manager and possibly Cashman on severance pay. The roster would have changed and perhaps the Yankees would be here instead of the Rangers and defending World Series champion Astros.
So there are evaluations as to what went wrong and regardless of failure from the many Cashman moves, that is not the entire story here. The Yankees need to have more left handed presence in the lineup, reevaluate their reliance on numbers (analytics), get younger, and healthy.
Surely in these meetings the status of their medical team is getting a second look. Relaxing the toe injury to Aaron Judge was a mishap but Anthony Rizzo and concussion protocols left a lot of questions. Need I add that Judge and Cole carried this Yankees team and are having significant input on changes that have to be made.
Obviously, analytics contributed to a regression and the Yankees failure to reach their goal, and I have reached out to numerous sources that confirm there was a breakdown with players and numbers. The manager, despite not being favorable with a fan base, should not be blamed. And in this era of analytics, Boone and others become a puppet to the front office. It’s basically a job of keeping the clubhouse in tact, answering to the higher ups, and offering some input with the lineup and in game strategy,
Coaches, to be determined also with the audit and I would expect some changes there, and mid season batting coach replacement Sean Casey is determining his options about returning to the staff or remaining as an analyst with the MLB Network.
But this all reflects some of the recent transactions of the GM, a good many that failed and have to be questioned. The audit should critique Cashman, but as I stated this GM has his role until he says otherwise.
Take a look at the last three years of Cashman transactions: Starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery, who is part of the rotation of the Rangers in the ALCS. The failures of Josh Donaldson, Joey Gallo, and when will the real Frankie Montas become a viable part of the rotation? Why did Cashman extend the contracts of pitchers Luis Severino and Aaron Hicks?
Severino will not be re-signed and Hicks had a good ALDS as the Orioles would eventually get swept out of the playoffs. And I always questioned the free agent signing of Carlos Rodon, a huge contract at the time to follow Cole in the rotation, injury prone after a career year with the Giants.
And if I was a part of this audit, this all reflects a failure of the GM and player evaluation. The Yankees obviously need to change their direction in signing free agents and the trade market. I hope Gleyber Torres is not in the trade discussions, this after a 2023 season of being the team’s most consistent hitter. They are stuck with a useless and hefty Giancarlo Stanton contact, and need to continue developing their young core in the lineup.
Is an audit and outside evaluation necessary? To a livid and subtle Hal Steinbrenner, it had to be done. Will it work? Time will tell. But this is baseball and as reflected on their dismal season the roster as constructed did not perform.
To me that is a reflection on the GM and not for an outside evaluator to decide.
Rich Mancuso: X (formerly Twitter) Ring786 Facebook.com.Rich Mancuso