Even after a win Tuesday night the New York Yankees are hanging just around .500 with a 34-32 record positioning them fourth in the American League East behind the Tampa Bay Rays, Boston Red Sox, and Toronto Blue Jays, 10 games behind the division leader.
Only halfway through June, the Yankees have been riddled with injury, struggling with fielding and base running, and unable to hit into anything other than a double play. Simply put the 2021 Yankees just aren’t it.
Despite so much frustration for fans, the worst part of it all is the organization doesn’t seem to have any answers for the plethora of problems that continue to arise for the team.
Off with his head
Fans across Twitter are calling for manager Aaron Boone’s head, looking for the organization to fire the first Yankee manager mid-season in over three decades. The sentiment is understandable, fans are angry and looking for someone to blame but the reality is Boone is simply a puppet, quietly doing what he’s told and working with whatever general manager Brian Cashman drops in his lap. Boone might be the face of the problem but Cashman is the architect of the problem.
In 1998 Cashman became the Yankees senior Vice President and general manager signing a one-year $300,000 contract. That year the team took home a World Series trophy solidifying Cashman’s new position with the team. Cashman certainly had an impressive run with the Yankees winning four World Series titles six AL Pennants and bringing in big names like A-Rod and Roger Clemens. Despite the early successes, Cashman slowly lost his magic touch leading the Yankees through seven years of not-so-great baseball from 2010 to 2016. Things seemed to turn around with the introduction of Boone and the Baby Boomers but still, nothing came to fruition.
Two big problems
Now here we are June 2021 barely above .500 with no center fielder and a broken rotation and Cashman is the man to blame. Cashman has been building unsuccessful teams for over a decade even with a change in management halfway through. Cashman has two main problems with his team construction that keep coming back to haunt the organization, a consistent failure to create a solid rotation and his instance on a home run or bust offense.
I’m not going to go year by year talking about Cashman’s rotation failures because that would take all day but to put it simply Gerrit Cole was Cashman’s first ace since CC Sabathia during the 2009 offseason. You can argue Masahiro Tanaka but you’re wrong. Just use 2021 as an example. Rather than looking to sign a number two behind Cole, exactly what everyone knew we needed after the 2020 season Cashman decided instead to take a chance on Corey Kluber whose slightly passed his prime and Jameson Taillon who hadn’t pitched in over a season despite having names like Snell and Bauer floating in free agency. There is a time to take a gamble but a decade after your last World Series win just isn’t it.
Home run or Bust
You can blame Boone all you want for the serious lack of offense this season but he’s just playing the cards he’s been dealt. Cashman has taken the baby bomber mentality to a whole new extreme creating a lineup whose main goal is to send the ball 400 feet. Don’t get me wrong, a good home run is always fun to watch but winning games is even more fun and when the Yankees can’t send the ball into the stands they just can’t win. It seems the Yankees just have too much unsuccessful power. The home run or bust mentality alone isn’t working, if it was we’d have something to show for it by now.
Learn from those around you
As the Stanley Cup playoffs wind down it’s hard for me to think about anything but hockey. The New York Islanders are a perfect example of how to take a team and turn it around. For years the Islanders were unable to make anything happen consistently missing the playoffs despite some high-level talent. If you haven’t noticed by now the Islanders certainly aren’t that team anymore and there is one big difference between semi-final Islanders and can’t win a game Islanders and that difference is management. Ownership cleaned house bringing in a new general manager and head coach with a new vision for the team. It’s time for the Yankees to learn from one of New York’s hottest teams and create a start fresh. Boone might not be the main problem but he isn’t part of the solution either. It’s time to clean house.