New York Yankees Fan

New York Yankees Fan

October 11, 2021

The 2021 season is over and done with. This season was undoubtedly the worst season of my adult life. The highs of the season gave me hope. The lows of the season (so many lows) ate away at my soul. This was the most inconsistent Yankees team I have ever seen. At least in the early 90s when the Yankees were at their worst, I knew what I was getting. The only way to describe this 2021 team would be to call them emotionally abusive. We did not know what we were going to see day to day. In an odd way, getting eliminated from the playoffs was a relief. I didn’t have to experience the stress of never knowing which Yankees team was going to show up on a day to day basis.

Going day to day not knowing which Yankees team we were going to see really highlights the issues within this organization. There is blame everywhere from the players to the coaches to the front office. First off, I am focusing on the coaches and front office. Team culture is built from the top down. The top of the Yankee organization, from a baseball standpoint is not Hal Steinbrenner, it’s Brian Cashman. Cash has control of this organization. Hal manages the business but Cash is the man when it comes to baseball operations.

I complain about Brian Cashman constantly. I disagree with many of his baseball philosophies. However I do completely 100% respect Brian Cashman. Despite his flaws, he runs a tight ship. I may disagree with decisions Cashman makes but I do know that those decisions are not knee jerk reactions. He has a reason and a purpose for every move he makes. Therefore I do not think Brian Cashman is going to be fired by the Steinbrenner family. Cashman has the respect of the Steinbrenners. I see a lot of similarities between Hal and Cashman, I am sure Hal sees that as well. I think Cashman keeps his job. That being said, it’s time to adjust his baseball philosophies.

Cashman had built a lineup of right handed bats who approach each at bat with a walk, strikeout, or home run mentality. That mentality has failed time and time again over the past few years. The Yankees need to look no farther than the best team in their division, the Tampa Bay Rays on how to build a lineup. The Rays have power hitters but they mainly are built around a group of guys that grind out at bats. They have hitters who put the ball in play. The Rays seem to hate striking out, a mentality that is lost in today’s MLB. The Yankees need to pivot to this approach. Put the ball in play and see what happens. Be embarrassed with a strike out instead of being complacent. Add a toughness to a lineup that seems to lack toughness.

The Yankees also need to focus on defense, a switch they seemed to make very late into the season. Moving Gleyber Torres back to second base was a move that needed to happen. Unfortunately that move happened way, way too late into the season. The Yankees need to tighten up that infield defense. Fortunately, it seems like that is beginning to happen, they did field their best defensive line up in the Wild Card game. Let’s hope that continues next season.

The Yankees love of strikeout pitchers has gone a bit too far. Strikeout pitchers have their place on this team, especially in Yankee Stadium but why not throw a different look out there more often? Pitching to contact, especially on a strong defensive team would be a day to day change that can throw opponents timing off. Face Gerrit Cole one night and a pitcher throwing to contact the next can help keep hitters off balance. I would like to see a few pitchers in the bullpen who pitch to contact. Gerrit Cole pitches 7 strong innings, throwing heat, then the Yankees bring in a pitcher throwing junk, keeping hitters off balance. Bringing in power pitcher after power pitcher doesn’t work because hitters are too good. They can adjust their timing as the game goes on because they are coming to the batter’s box with the same approach even though they are facing a different pitcher. However going from 98mph heat to high 80/low 90s breaking pitchers can keep a hitter off balance. It’s time for more depth on this team, both in the bullpen and in the lineup.

Brian Cashman has his work cut out for him in bringing balance to the team. He’ll need all the help he can get analyzing players. This should be done with a completely different Analytics Department. We don’t know much about the Yankees Analytics Team, this is a faceless department within the team. They don’t answer to the press. Fans can pass them on the street not knowing who they are. They may be faceless but we KNOW they are useless. This 2021 team was too right handed. They lacked fundamentals on the base paths. They have a one dimensional lineup and a one dimensional bullpen. Do you know who does not have a one dimensional lineup and a one dimensional bullpen? The Tampa Bay Rays. How can a team within minimal resources have such a strong Analytics Team? Cashman needs to clean house, then proceed to throw money at the Tampa Bay Analytics Team. 

Cashman needs to raid that talent and bring it to New York. There is absolutely no excuse for Tampa Bay to be so far ahead of the Yankees when it comes to assessing talent.

Not only should Cashman send the entire Analytics Team to the chopping block but he should have Goose Gossage throw 100 mph fastballs at them on their way out the door.

Next up is Aaron Boone. I like Aaron Boone, I don’t blame him for as much of this team’s failures as other Yankees fans (and bitter Boston fans do). 

Boone’s responsibilities are to answer questions from the media and be a middle manager in the clubhouse. He doesn’t have authority, we’ve assumed that for a while then it was proven during the Deivi Garcia – J.A. Happ opener controversy of the 2020 ALDS. 

Boone does seem to have the respect of the clubhouse. Not only does he have respectable professional experience but he also has grown up in the game as a 3rd generation player. He has knowledge and experience that can be passed on to today’s players. If anything, the Yankees should empower him instead of limiting his authority. 

For those that want Boone fired, I ask this, who do you think Cashman is replacing him with? This is an analytics driven organization, Cashman is going to bring in a guy who is going to tow the Yankee line and stick to the analytics. The Yankees aren’t going to replace Boone with a polar opposite, they’ll replace him with another guy that is just like him. Giving Aaron Boone two more years to win a World Series is fair and reasonable.

The Yankees do need to make some coaching changes

Phil Nevin cannot set foot in a Yankee clubhouse ever again. This man needs to go. Costing the Yankees the 2021 Wild Card game by sending Aaron Judge in a situation where 1) he wasn’t going to score, anyone could have seen that and 2) the Yankees would have still been down a run anyway and still needed at least one more big hit to tie the game, was bad enough and will go down in the memories of Yankees fans. But he was absolutely atrocious sending runners to get thrown out at the plate all season long. When Judge was thrown out at home in the Wild Card game, I complained that Nevin caused 20 Yankees to be thrown out at home during the season. I was wrong about that, I can admit it. I saw that the actual number was 22!!!!!!!!!!

How does a 3rd base coach lack such a feel for the game? How did he last the entire season? The days of Willie Randolph and Larry Bowa having an excellent feel for the game are long gone. This 2021 Yankees team showed the worst baserunning I have ever seen out of a Yankees team. A change HAS to be made. 

Additionally, Marcus Thames is probably also going to be shown the door. This team struggled to hit all season. This team really struggled to hit with runners in scoring position. I don’t see how they can bring back the hitting coach after a season like this.

It’s going to be a long offseason. Brian Cashman has his work cut out for him. It’s time for Cash to stop being so dang stubborn, recognize his mistakes of the past few years, and finally start to right the ship. Yankees fans have suffered for long enough.

Or Hal Steinbrenner can just hire me to run the organization. Clearly I know what needs to be done.

New York Yankees Fan

By JMo

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