We're winding down the regular season and there are still a few races that likely will go down to the final hours of Sunday to decide the playoff picture. The Yankees won't be involved in those such battles. Usually that's the case because they've already locked up the AL East and are just going through the motions in prep for a series vs. the Twins.
Well, this year their absence will be because they're already eliminated from postseason contention. They've been out of the playoff chase for pretty much a month now and that's CRAZY. It's been a long-time coming, but they deserve all of the failure and embarrassment that's arrived at their doorstep. A blatant arrogance to change and adapt has left them in this state of purgatory.
So how do they get out of this and return to being a true contender? Well, it starts with Hal Steinbrenner waking up and making serious change throughout the organization. This report from Bob Klapisch hopefully means we're headed in that direction.
Hal is reportedly bringing in a 3rd party audit team to break down every last inch of the organization to see what has led them to this path.
“(Steinbrenner) has had enough” of being a runner-up, said one person who’s spoken to the owner often enough to assess his mood.
One person familiar with the baby Boss’ thinking believes there will be “massive” changes in the way the Yankees do business in 2024. It’s still uncertain whether the overhaul will cost Aaron Boone his job, but Steinbrenner is committed to finding out what went wrong and how to fix it.
The investigation will begin in early October, although interestingly, the company conducting the audit will not recommend personnel changes. The analysis will instead focus on process and how the Yankees compare to other clubs.
The categories will include the success (and failure) of the Bombers’ trades in the last decade, the shake-out of the draft picks, including the international draft, the number of games (and dollars) lost to injuries and the state of minor league player development.
The final report will be data-driven and purely objective. None of it bodes well for the Yankees’ analytics department, which is obsessed with exit velocity and spin rates, and has advised GM Brian Cashman to make disastrous trades for Joey Gallo, Josh Donaldson and Frankie Montas, among others.
Hal Steinbrenner went on the Michael Kay Show in June and said he was confused with why the fans were angry. Despite being 10 games out of first at that point, he thought all things would be fine in the end. It's that assumption that has gotten them here. For years the front office has assumed they constructed the perfect roster that was plagued by injuries and underperformance. Now it's time Hal takes a close look at those who built this flawed assembly of players. Finally.
While this upcoming audit is good and shows Hal seems invested in making serious change, I'm almost certain it won't lead to Brian Cashman's firing. Yes, there are other changes that can be made that could be impactful, but this all realistically starts and stops with the Yankees GM. His botching of trades, payroll, promotion of prospects, and poor use of analytics for years has ruined this once proud and powerful club.
To the dismay of many, Cashman isn't going anywhere despite the obvious need of termination. Aaron Boone's job is almost certainly safe as well. There's a better chance I wake up tomorrow with a full head of hair than those two getting canned.
And let's be clear, I care much more about Cashman being fired into the sun than Boone. While the Yankees manager is part of the problem, he's realistically just a small piece to this puzzle. Firing him and him only would do nothing. They're not a .500 team this year because of him. Does he make bonehead in-game decisions, hold no one accountable, and fail to elevate his players' performances? Absolutely and he should have been out years ago, but to pin this season mainly on his shoulders is refusing to address the big problem.
Hal has made it clear that Boone's relationship with the team is essential. If a rift occurred between him and the players that's when things would change. Judge went to bat for his manager a few weeks ago and made it clear he wants him here. I'd be stunned at this point if Boone didn't return in 2024.
So if the GM and manager are staying put, where are these so-called "massive changes" going to come from?
I not only want assistant GM Michael Fishman fired, I want him tarred and feathered as he leaves the premises. The Yankees poor use of analytics when it comes to building the roster and lineup mostly fall on his head. While the Rays have all of the good nerds, we got the bad one. Fishman and his entire team of data nerds need to be cleaned out. I'm not saying do away with analytics, but bring in a team that utilizes them in a completely different way. Whatever operation those clowns are deploying isn't working. If this audit does not end with Fishman fired then what's even the point?
Matt Daley, who's in charge of pro scouting, should be gone as well. I'd also look squarely at Tim Naehring (baseball ops) and Kevin Reese (player dev) and question what the hell they're doing. Damon Oppenheimer's (domestic amateur scouting) performance with eying guys in the draft needs to be evaluated. While that department has been better of late, I'm still not sold.
Once you get the idiots out of here you then need to find a way to reshape this roster. Given the mess that Cashman has left it in, there's not a whole lot you can do unless you're shooting payroll through the roof. Unfortunately there's not a ton coming off the books to allow an overhaul of the roster.
That being said, I'm now going to do that thing where I ask for roster moves to happen and realistically none of them come to fruition.
The first thing I'd try to make happen is offload Giancarlo Stanton's contract. He's a black hole with no fix in sight, which will make this task harder than getting a "good job" from Dave Portnoy. Giancarlo is cooked. Any hot streak he gets on is usually followed by either injury or forgetting how to swing the bat. At 33 years old he struggles to run from 3rd to home.
The hope is the Dodgers. Considering they just tapped into Jason Heyward and revitalized his career maybe they see the same opportunity with Stanton, with possibly a higher ceiling given that his power is still there. This isn't going to happen, but if the Yankees ate half his remaining money and attached a few solid prospects, maybe they can rid themselves of this giant man who clogs the DH spot in the middle of the order. Stanton would have to green light any trade as part of his contract which adds to the long shot of this happening. It's a pipe dream, but man would it be nice to free up the flexibility of this roster. I truly admire how he's handled himself in New York with the media when addressing his struggles. I also love how he steps up in October. But we can't keep going down this road with him and expecting something different to happen in the regular season. It's brutal to watch this guy.
Now, excuse my Yankee fandom for a second, but if Juan Soto becomes available via trade (and that seems possible given the Padres target of lessening their top-heavy roster) the Yankees must be all-in. Juan Soto turns 25 years old next month. He's an unbelievable talent and the exact kind of hitter this lineup lacks. There isn't a prospect in the org I wouldn't part with if it meant getting him here. No one. Yes the defense is an issue, but with what he provides at the plate I'm willing to turn a blind eye until he becomes a permanent DH. This, to me, is Bryce Harper all over again. He was the perfect Yankee and the org's lack of consideration for him will haunt me until I die. Hal gets his do-over here. Go get the perfect hitter for Yankee Stadium and get back some good-will with the fans. If the Padres stick with him for another year then so be it, but again when he becomes a free agent next off season there cannot be a single excuse to stop them from bringing him here. Sounds greedy and Yankee fan-esque, but hey that's what I am. This team is fucked and needs another star hitter to pair with Judge. Go get him.
I want to remind everyone that Gerrit Cole and Aaron Judge only have x amount of years left in their prime. You've completely wasted a 62 homer Judge season and a Cy Young Cole campaign. Even for this front office, that's impressive incompetence when it comes to roster construction. Advice: stop wasting it.
As their playoff hopes dwindled to a single digit percentage chance, Hal ordered the kids to come up and get a taste. For almost two months we'd get a long look at who can help the team in the coming years. Finally, a good decision, albeit too late into the year.
Eight games into that we lost Jasson Dominguez to Tommy John surgery. Of course that had to happen. So he's out for at least the first half of the season. Awesome. Then you have Anthony Volpe, Austin Wells, Everson Pereira, Oswald Peraza, Oswaldo Cabrera, and even Estevan Florial.
Since the end of August the team has the best record in baseball, go figure.
I'm not saying all of those guys need to be on the team next year, but it's evidently clear youth is the move. Stop bringing in guys like fucking Josh Donaldson in hopes to plug glaring needs. Volpe played a near gold glove level at short this year to the surprise of many, but his bat needs improvement. Pereira has struggled, but it's been a super short window. Wells has impressed defensively and displays power they've needed from the catcher position. Peraza has had a big month of September as he's finally gotten consistent at bats. There's hope with these young guys, but the roster needs more legit hitting. Soto or Bellinger are a must this offseason if you want to be taken seriously. Does the idea of Cody getting a big deal and resorting back to his .200 average hitting self scare me? I have heart burn just thinking of it, but what Bellinger has given the Cubs this season is exactly what they need in the lineup. He'll command something like 7 for $200M and you'll just have to hold your breath hoping they don't mess with whatever swing correction he made.
As for the rotation, Nestor Cortes had a lost year and is dealing with a shoulder injury. His future status is completely up in the air. Domingo German, Frankie Montas, and Luis Severino are gone and should not be considered under any circumstances to return. You have Cole and can only pray he continues to be the best pitcher in baseball. Clarke Schmidt took a big step in 2023 and slots in nicely as a 4-5 option. Michael King got an audition as a starting pitcher in the last 5 weeks and looks all the parts of a front line guy somehow. I have been blown away with how good he's looked. Stunned. And then you have Carlos Rodon who's been terrible. That dude needs to get in shape this offseason and figure it the fuck out. There's been glimpses of him turning a corner later on here, but for the most part it's been ugly. Can't happen in 2024.
So Cole, Rodon, King, Schmidt with some younger guys in the mix. Yoshinobu Yamamoto will be the talk of the offseason on the pitching side of free agency. Every team in need of pitching should be in on him, including the Mets and Red Sox. The Yankees have made it no mystery they want him bad. He'd be a great add right behind Cole, but it remains to be seen what the dollar amount will cost Hal. A Bellinger/Soto + Yamamoto offseason, with the firing of tons of front office people would bring smiles to every fan out there. Smaller moves needs to surround that and those will become clearer as the offseason begins, but those big moves are necessary to fix this.
So yeah, a lot has to happen to turn this ship around. It starts with this audit. Have a 3rd party team rip this entire organization to shreds. Then fire a bunch of the nerds and morons who have led us down this path. After all that, go after the big fish and don't miss. I have little to no faith they will be able to make this right and that sucks, but that's what happens when you give Brian Cashman the longest leash in the history of job security. I'm so tired of being sad.
Even the report of Hal saying he's tired of being the "runner up" pisses me off. The possibility of massive changes on the horizon should get me rock hard, but here I am stuck on those two words. In what world are you the runner up??? You haven't made the World Series since 2009. You've become a laughing stock throughout the sport. You're not the Yankees anymore. No one fears you. You're a push over team stuck in the past, oblivious to the outside world. Tampa, Boston, and Houston have lapped you in the last six years. The best thing they can do is recognize that, admit your failures, and make enormous changes across the board. Hal, we're all begging you man, just start giving a shit.