The New York Yankees‘ front office has undeniably made some high-stakes decisions, adopting a risky and costly strategy to shape the team’s roster.
Notably, they invested a hefty $50 million over two years on Josh Donaldson and took the controversial step of trading for the already injured Frankie Montas. Moreover, the choice by general manager Brian Cashman to exchange Jordan Montgomery for an injured outfielder who was absent for half of the 2023 season indicates a pattern of the Yankees embracing some perilous gambits.
Aaron Judge: A Beacon of Responsibility
Even amid the criticisms, star hitter Aaron Judge defended Cashman, especially after his stellar performance in Friday night’s triumph over the Arizona Diamondbacks. After achieving the remarkable feat of hitting three homers in one game for the second time this season – a first in the Yankees’ illustrious history – Judge reflected on the team’s current state.
“The fans aren’t happy,” Judge said after the 7-1 win.. “They’re the ones that are showing up every single night, paying a lot of money to go out and watch us go out here and win some games. This year we haven’t. I think as an organization, top to bottom, we all take responsibility. But as a player, we take the most. We’re the ones out there doing it, we’re the ones out there playing every single night.”
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Evaluating the Yankees’ Front Office
There seems to be a palpable disconnect within the organization, prompting owner Hal Steinbrenner to consider third-party evaluations of the front office’s tactics. The Yankees occasionally appear disjointed in their strategy and execution.
In a forward-looking approach, the team has been fielding prospects. Yet, their top young outfielder, Jasson Domínguez, is set to miss a significant portion of the 2024 season due to Tommy John surgery.
Upcoming Free Agency: A Glimmer of Hope?
The impending free agency offers a glimmer of hope for the Yankees. Their roster could greatly benefit from adding another ace to the mound, especially with key pitchers like Luis Severino, Domingo German, and Frankie Montas possibly on the way out. Cashman seems keen on acquiring Yoshinobu Yamamoto, a top-tier international pitcher who’s poised for a lucrative deal this upcoming winter.
But it’s the offensive firepower that the Yankees sorely need, and the current market looks scarce. Unless Cashman uses prospects as trade assets, he’ll need to scout players that not only gel with the Yankee ethos but can also withstand the intense New York scrutiny. The Yankees have had their share of players who struggled under New York’s spotlight, such as Aaron Hicks. Hicks, now thriving with the Baltimore Orioles, stands as a testament to the unique pressures of playing for the Yankees.
While Judge underscores that the onus is on the players to deliver, much of the current scrutiny rightly falls on the front office and their choices over recent off-seasons.