Brian Cashman broke his silence on the state of the Yankees Monday with an uninspiring Zoom press conference. The takeaway message? Status quo:
“We’ve had a lot of storms hit along the way, and change doesn’t happen without a great deal of thought and reason. We’re not reactive. I don’t see us reacting to shake up the roster too quickly, and I don’t see us not believing in the staff that we have, or the players that we have, either.”
Which begs the question: if an unequivocal lackluster effort over an extended period and the worst record in the American League doesn’t make you react, what will?
The issue with Cashman’s optimistic attitude toward the 2021 season is that the deficiencies we’re seeing play out daily are the same that have plagued this team throughout the Aaron Boone era – poor defense, all-or-nothing hitters, bad pitching and prone to stretches of total ineptitude.
We all see it with our own eyes, so why doesn’t he?
More and more, it’s becoming apparent that last year’s 33-27 record wasn’t the result of a shortened or fluky season. The core of this team, which has essentially remained intact since 2018, might not be very good.
Do they hit home runs? Yes – although not this year yet. Do they strike people out? Yes – but doesn’t everybody in today’s game? Cashman seems to have put all his philosophical eggs in these two baskets (surely on the counsel “analytics nerds”) and the results have yet to return a championship (or even a pennant).
In a stunning article from Randy Miller of NJ.com Tuesday, Miller spoke under the condition of anonymity to a scout in both leagues to get their assessments of this Yankees team. The piece is well worth the read, but only if you’re ready to hear some harsh truths.
According to the NL scout:
“This is the worst version of the New York Yankees I’ve ever seen in my life. Oh my gosh, they’re painful to watch. They have all these stars, but they’re not as good as the sum of their parts. Not at all.”
“Nobody in baseball works on baseball anymore. I’ve had people call me that tell me that the Yankees’ minor-league camps are a joke because all they measure is pitchers’ velo and hitters’ exit velocity. They don’t do team fundamentals. Nobody takes infield anymore before games. And you wonder why guys can’t hit a cutoff man. Pitchers don’t back up bases. When Frazier airmailed the ball in on that sacrifice fly Sunday, why was Gerrit Cole catching the ball on a hop between home and first instead of backing up home plate?”
On the Yankees $200 million-owed DH Giancarlo Stanton, the AL scout added:
“If Stanton doesn’t hit a home run, he’s an out. He’s lost at the plate. The book is out on Stanton. All you’ve got to do is get ahead of him and he’s done. The Yankees’ other guys are going to have to hit for them to be able to withstand that out of him.”
Just six more seasons to go!
For better or worse, this isn’t the George Steinbrenner Yankees anymore and the days of reactive firings or lineup shakeups are over. But at what point does the regime recognize that wholesale changes are needed?