The New York Yankees are gearing up for what might be a transformative off-season. While the continuance of manager Aaron Boone and general manager Brian Cashman seems likely, owner Hal Steinbrenner might just have a few surprise plays up his sleeve.
Who’s To Blame?
Pointing fingers may not solve much, but the responsibility should be shared across the board. Boone might not have extracted peak performances from his players, but the roster he had at his disposal was not without its challenges. Big-name veterans underperformed, and an injury avalanche hit the team’s core, sidelining stars like Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo, with Giancarlo Stanton’s absence adding to the woes — though, some may argue Stanton was more of a liability when healthy.
“We need to be playing this time of year,” Boone said. “That’s the first thing, but again, take a little bit of solace in just how these guys continue to show up, continue to prepare, continue to compete all the way until the end. They played well down the stretch when it wasn’t necessarily an easy thing to do. So I’m appreciative of that. But we know we need to be playing this time of year and that’s ultimately the takeaway.”
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Money Matters: Performance vs. Payroll
A staggering $280 million payroll raises expectations. And for the Yankees, this should translate to a playoff spot. But significant investments, like the $22 million luxury tax salary on players such as Stanton, have at times restricted them from diversifying their spending. Stanton, the 33-year-old powerhouse, delivered an underwhelming performance, finishing the season with a batting average of .191 and a career-worst metric of -0.8 WAR.
Such performances from high-valued players spell trouble. The Yankees’ vision should focus on roping in young, athletic talent. Relying heavily on aging stars nearing their career twilight is no longer a feasible game plan, a realization Brian Cashman seems to have come to after several let-downs.
Yankees’ World Series Aspirations & Strategic Planning
The Yankees, given their resource pool, should always have the World Series in sight. Boone is determined to dissect the issues and find solutions.
“When you have a season we’ve had and expectations of being a championship caliber team and a team that’s playing in the postseason and playing for a championship, we’re not there,” Boone said. “That’s a reality. We have to acknowledge that and dive into trying to correct that and fix that and try to put us in a better situation. Those are all fair things to question.”
While Boone’s immediate future appears stable, a subsequent underwhelming season might put him and Cashman under scrutiny. The coming weeks will be pivotal. The Yankees should have a clear roadmap by free agency, especially if they have eyes on players like Yoshinobu Yamamoto and other potential outfielder additions.