WARNING: IF YOU ARE THE OVERLY OPTIMISTIC YANKEE FAN THAT SEES NOTHING WRONG, THIS ARTICLE ISN’T FOR YOU.
Aaron Boone: "The league has closed the gap on us. We've got to get better in every aspect."
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) October 6, 2021
I’m sorry??? WHAT? What gap?!
You do realize you haven’t won anything meaningful in 12 years right? This is exactly what the title suggests – the people who run the Yankees are content with just making the playoffs. In a city and franchise that expects to be contending every year, being outpaced 4-1 in World Series titles by the Red Sox over the last 17 years is not just inexcusable, it’s embarrassing.
The writing is on the wall guys and gals, ownership does not care about titles anymore. Cashman is too arrogant to adapt his game plan. The Yankees have no desire to hire a manager that can think for himself, much less win a championship.
This roster is flawed from top to bottom, the coaching staff provides nothing outside of Matt Blake, and Brian Cashman is not going to do a thing about it. A culture shock is the only thing that can fix this. I’m tired of the losing mindset. Thinking that you were that much better than the league when you can’t even win your own division is just so telling of where their heads are at. Closed the gap on what exactly? On making the playoffs?
If you believe that the front office is doing a good job, I respect your optimism, but frankly, that is just wrong. Look at the moves, or lack thereof, over the last few years.
Joe Girardi to Aaron Boone
What exactly did Girardi do to get fired? Look, I’m not saying he’s the best coach in the world by any stretch, but at least he had guts. Management canned him for not being a puppet. At the end of the day, that is what this boils down to.
“He’s not a player’s coach”. Okay, and? Newsflash Yankees, your boss isn’t supposed to be your best friend. You can have a relationship with your boss, sure, but being buddy-buddy shouldn’t and can’t be priority number one. Aaron Boone doesn’t know the first thing about holding a player accountable. At least Girardi did that. If you did something wrong, you would damn sure hear about it, not just get an encouraging pat on the back. How do you take a young core that was on the brink of a World Series and regress every year? ZERO accountability, that is how.
Boone is such a puppet of the analytics department that we will never know for sure, but he likely is not a good manager. Constant bullpen mismanagement, poor lineup decisions, head-scratching pinch hitters, we’ve seen it all in his four years here. I like to think that he has at least somewhat of a say in the in-game management. If he does, then he needs to be fired yesterday.
Here’s what drives most of the fans insane. Nobody is calling the Yankees cheap by any means, they have the second highest payroll in baseball, but it is HOW they spend their money. Out of the seemingly endless choices, let’s go with the most recent one.
Coming into the year, the Yankees had ONE (1), yes one, you read that correctly, lefty and that was switch hitting Aaron Hicks. I don’t count Gardy because he was supposed to be a bench bat behind Clint (that hurt to write). Rather than signing a contact-first lefty in Michael Brantley, the Yankees opted to bring in Gardy (again), pick up Britton’s option, sign Darren O’day, and Corey Kluber.
Michael Kay says the #Yankees really wanted Michael Brantley and/or Kyle Schwarber in the offseason and they wanted to play here, but they didn’t have the payroll flexibility to fit one of them in
— Tom Smith (@Tom_Smith717) July 1, 2021
If you want to stay under your fake salary cap, fine, but at least make the moves make sense. For the record, the idea that the Yankees don’t have payroll flexibility is asinine. Just tell us you don’t want to spend the extra money and move on. The fanbase would appreciate honesty for the first time in years.
How about Bryce Harper? Remember when the likely NL-MVP was practically begging to play for the Yankees? I mean the guy shaved his beard and learned how to play first base (conveniently during a series AT YANKEE STADIUM) and the front office didn’t even give him a call.
Instead of signing a 26 year old superstar, the Yankees went with Zack Britton for $39 million, Troy Tulowitzki (remember that), DJ LeMahieu (fair), Ottavino, and inked Hicks to a 7 year extension. Out of these 4, DJ is the only one still here. Britton is missing all of 2022 and Hicks is likely done, so if you’re going to grill me on that, just stop.
Maybe someone should tell Brian Cashman that dumping $100 million into the bullpen and taking flyers on your hitters isn’t a recipe for success.
Full disclosure. I think not going over the luxury tax is ridiculously narrow minded by ownership. That being said, you have 200+ million to make a winning roster, figure it out.
Since 2001 – baseball's age of enlightenment – Cashman has spent about $4.4 Billion on Yankees' payrolls to win 1 championship 13 seasons ago.
— Red Sox Stats (@redsoxstats) October 6, 2021
In case you were wondering, that is enough money to buy every other baseball franchise outright. With the money that he has spent to not win, Cashman literally could buy the LA Dodgers franchise. Let that sink in.
Trade deadline incompetence
Over the last 4 years, it is a recurring theme that the Yankees are “in on *insert player name here* but the asking price is too high”. Cashman doesn’t get a pass because of Gallo and Rizzo. Gallo and Rizzo were desperation moves to save his job. An overpaid, and yet again, underperforming team saw the Yankees on track to miss the playoffs after coming into the season as the AL favorites. Gallo underperformed, that is the bottom line. You can criticize the all-or-nothing approach at the plate, but what Gallo was advertised as, high on base, gold glove defense, was a necessity on this team.
Even with a pass for the Gallo trade, the track record has been less than stellar to say the least. Sure, Cashman has hit on a few. Guys like Clay Holmes and Luke Voit were awesome under the radar additions, but where are the “deathstar” moves? Sonny Gray? JA Happ?
Look at the Astros, the Dodgers, the Cubs. These are teams that go for it. Hoping an under the radar move pans out isn’t going for it. The Astros traded for Verlander, Cole, and Greinke. Max Scherzer and Trea Turner went to the Dodgers after they won a World Series and were on pace to win 100+ games again. The Cubs went out and got Chapman in their run and Castellanos in 2019.
Time and time again, the Yankees stand on the sidelines and watch top tier trade targets go to rival competition. It’s infuriating. The organization has the prospect capital to make the move, look at Gallo. Cashman is too busy hoarding them though with no plan to play them, i.e. Luis Gil sitting the bench for Andrew Heaney. Speaking of which, the arrogance to not sit a failed trade just to prove a point. Andrew Heaney did not give this team a chance to win, yet, he was in there every fifth start. It’s little things like that. Punting every fifth game just to give your failed trade another shot.
Andrew Heaney has now allowed 12 home runs and 28 earned runs in 12 games and 33.2 innings pitched with the Yankees. That's a 7.49 ERA
— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) September 18, 2021
There are plenty of contributing factors as to why the Yankees ended up in the spot they were, and had to travel to Fenway for the do-or-die Wild Card, Heaney taking automatic losses is one of them. Have the ability to swallow your pride and let the best players play. This is the most storied major franchise in sports, not a middle school baseball team.
The New York Yankees need to take a long, hard look at themselves in the mirror. You have nobody to blame but yourselves. The league isn’t “catching up to you”, you haven’t done what’s necessary to win as a franchise. Nobody is in place to hold players accountable and management isn’t willing to take the steps to put that in place.
Simply put, to return to dominance, the Yankees need to change their entire philosophy. No more accepting “good” and hoping that you get a few bounces here and there. While the Yankees gear up for an offseason with names such as Corey Seager and Carlos Rodon out there, they have to make competitive offers. Cashman has to find a way to put this money to good use. No more shopping in the bargain bin for 4 guys you hope will pay off. Make a move that is going to better this franchise.
Boone, Phil Nevin, Marcus Thames all need to spend their offseason finding a new job, preferably as far away from the Bronx as possible. Bring in a manager that can think for themself. Whoever the guy is that comes to lead this team, needs to get on to Aaron Judge for striking out with RISP as much as he does Estevan Florial.
Hold your players accountable, hold your coaches accountable, bring some balance to this lineup, and trust your young arms. In order to return to prominence, this is the only way. “Good” is not the Yankee standard. It’s time to overhaul this clubhouse and instill greatness in them. This core is capable of great things, they just need the guidance and the supporting pieces to get it done.