New York Yankees Analysis: Hal Steinbrenner blames the players, I blame management too

hal steinbrenner, brian cashman

New York Yankees general managing partner Hal Steinbrenner came out of hiding and finally made a statement on the Yankees’ poor performance and put the blame on the Yankees players. Although there may be some truth to that, for the most part, it’s bull crap. If you own a business and your employees are not performing as they should, you can blame them, but the better course would be to look in the mirror, boss, you’re not leading.

You can pick at all the little problems, but the underlying major problem is that this team has no fire in their blood, no urgency. I have said it during many games that the opposition seems to be playing like they are in the seventh game of the world series, and the Yankees appear lifeless.

Look at the Boston Red Sox series when the Sox steamrolled the Yankees in all three games. The contrasts between the teams were stunning. The Red Sox outscored the Yankees 18-7. The Red Sox took advantage at every turn the Yankees didn’t. The Red Sox used baserunning to capitalize; the Yankees lost those opportunities. It’s tough to know where to start in determining what’s wrong with the Yankees.

The bottom line is that there is plenty of blame to be spread around. Yes, the players are the ones on the field, the coaches, Boone, Cashman, and Steinbrenner, can’t pitch or hit the ball for them, but they must find a way to inspire, and that they have obviously not done.

Let’s not talk about what the late George Steinbrenner would do, that was then, and this is now, and it’s a different time. The “boss” would have already fired hitting coach Marcus Thames and most likely Aaron Boone; he wouldn’t stand for this play that is the worst since 1972. They score only 3.7 runs a game on the season average and are 27th among major league teams. Hal is a different person, the same businessman, but his approach is entirely different; you won’t see him at every game, you won’t see him down in the clubhouse, ranting and raving.  Maybe he should.

Let’s look at the different areas of concern. The New York Yankee pitching has been mostly satisfactory up until recently. The same goes for the bullpen until recently. With the collapse of starting ace Gerrit Cole and closer Aroldis Chapman, the Yankees are in big trouble, regardless of the reasons for those deficiencies.

The hitting has been the biggest concern all season long. Other than slugger Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, the rest of the team has been locked on their heels. However, recently Gary Sanchez has woke up and is again contributing. Gio Urshela has been one of the most dependable players, but perennial favorite Brett Gardner and Gleyber Torres have been horrible, combining for only 6 home runs and 16 extra-base hits. LeMahieu and Torres combined in 2019 for 64 home runs, this year just 10. This is a team that basically can’t/doesn’t play small ball, they are built on the home run, and they are not hitting them at a pace to bring them to the postseason.

To give the New York Yankees some reprieve, the deadened ball this year probably hurts the home run hitting teams more than other teams. Although it probably doesn’t have a big effect on Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, who hit 450′ home runs, others like LeMahieu, Torres, Urshela, Gardner, Andujar, and Voit, many of their attempts are only reaching the warning track. I don’t know the answers, but here are a few suggestions that could help.

  • Carlos Mendoza et al. have got to work with players on the basics. They can’t make blunders, baserunning, and other basic baseball that you don’t even see in Little League.
  • Marcus Thames must work harder to help players lift the ball and stop getting so many ground ball outs and hitting into so many double-plays.
  • The Yankees have to find an adequate left-hitting centerfielder to man the position every day.
  • Andujar in left field just isn’t cutting it. Frazier is the better outfielder but can’t hit. So if they can get a centerfielder, move Gardner, who is great in left, and platoon him with Stanton, it’s time.
  • Please find a way to get Chris Gittens into more games; I believe he can be great. Then, with Stanton in left, you can insert Voit as DH.
  • Aaron Boone has failed to get to the World Series in consecutive 100 game winning seasons, and with basically the same lineup, he needs to find a way to inspire this team and put some fire in them. But, he also needs to know when to throw the analytics out the window and manage from the gut and what’s happening at the moment.
  • Hal Steinbrenner needs to take a more active interest in the day-by-day games. But, with the highest revenue team in baseball, he also can acquire what the team needs to succeed.