There was a lot of vagueness in New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner’s answers when questioned about what changes he will or will not make to the team’s staff at as the offseason approaches.
Indirectness Indicates That Changes are Coming to Yankees Staff
Steinbrenner sounded like Kevin Garnett after winning the 2008 NBA Finals when reiterating that ‘anything is possible’ in his impending decisions to either cut bait with personnel or make changes in other areas of the franchise. His most detailed response at Sportico’s Invest in Sports conference was documented by Donald Blum of the Associated Press:
“It could be practices. It could be the way people communicate when we bring a young minor leaguer up to the major league level, are the major league coaches talking enough to player development and vice versa,” he said. “Are the major league coaches really getting into reading a lot of research because we do notes as these kids go from one level to the next, what’s being worked on, what the weaknesses are, what their strengths are.”
The Yankees’ season just ended days ago, so reasonably, Steinbrenner and his front office have not had much time to make well thought out decisions yet and will need to assess where they went wrong as they missed the playoffs.
Letting go of hitting coach Dillon Lawson in favor of Sean Casey back in July was a first attempt at bringing in a fresh face to handle analytics, but the Yankees went 33-37 down the stretch of the season.
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Who is Safe and Who Should be Clearing Their Desk?
Steinbrenner made it clear that he won’t be selling the team that’s been in his family’s name since 1973. Further, Boone is under contract until 2025, when Steinbrenner has the prerogative to exercise his club option or not.
Since he began his stint with the Yankees in 2018, Boone has led New York to five playoff appearances, including two ALCS runs. Under his leadership, Aaron Judge took home the 2022 AL MVP award.
Getting over the hump against the Houston Astros is the last hurdle in the AL to recapture a World Series. Boone’s ability, or lack thereof, to get that done in 2024 can determine his time in the Big Apple short, but for now, it seems his job is secure.
Judge criticized the Yankees’ analytics department for how they use and value the data they put together and implement, be it in roster decisions or elsewhere. Steinbrenner doubling down on these sentiments in a media-friendly way almost certainly means that change is coming.
Former Yankees prospect Ben Ruta came down hard on New York during Lawson’s time with the team, telling:
“Fully expect them to clear house in the minor leagues,” Ruta wrote, per Braun. “All the coaches were brought in by Dillon Lawson and the analytics guys. Lawson is the hitting coach who was let go. They will change developmental culture back to old Yankees days. Keep in mind, I played in the Yanks org. before analytics in ’16 to ’18, and then after in ’18 to ’20. Stark difference in development.”
With Lawson out and Casey in, frustration remains. What Steinbrenner decides regarding his coaching ranks and player personnel remains to be seen, but the Yankees may need more than time to get healthy to get back to competing for a World Series.