Cashman’s misdeeds put Boone at risk of losing Yankees job

Yankees manager Aaron Boone and GM Brian Cashman
Sara Molnick
Thursday August 10, 2023

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The current Yankees’ state of affairs is the handiwork of general manager Brian Cashman. However, it looks like Aaron Boone may end up paying for it while Cashman is likely to go scot-free.

While the Yankees remain on the outskirts of the wild-card contention, trailing by 5.5 games and holding onto hopes of a last-minute playoff push, frustrated fans are prepared to make their displeasure known. The calls for a change in leadership are resonating loudly. Across social media platforms, the demand for the removal of Cashman and manager Boone is fervent.

Amidst this increasing pressure, an individual familiar with Hal Steinbrenner’s perspective has revealed that the owner has made a determination about the upcoming year. It appears that at least one of the two – Cashman or Boone – will retain their position for the 2024 season.

A long-time loyalist of the Steinbrenner family, Cashman’s position seems to be secure. However, Boone’s future is more uncertain, partly due to having just one year left on his contract. This, combined with the Yankees’ underwhelming performance in the 2023 season, has led Steinbrenner to feel “considerably frustrated,” as stated by the same individual familiar with Steinbrenner’s perspective.

Steinbrenner’s subtle warning to Aaron Boone

In May, Steinbrenner expressed that maintaining the players’ respect and their desire to play and win under Boone’s leadership was a crucial factor for him. He indicated that if he observed a loss of this essential aspect, he would consider making a change. But a month later, Steinbrenner conveyed a cautionary message, implying that if the team failed to reach the playoffs despite having a healthy roster and the intended lineup in the second half of the year, he would be initiating inquiries and seeking answers.

Unlike his father, who had a history of dismissing managers like Billy Martin and Yogi Berra, the younger Steinbrenner is reluctant to change managers unless it becomes absolutely necessary. Even then, a managerial change is not a guaranteed outcome.

Boone is expected to have ample opportunity to revitalize the Yankees during the remaining 48 games. Despite hovering around a .500 record (89-84) since August 1, 2022, Steinbrenner maintains optimism for a winning streak that could overshadow a season of average performance.

The odds are stacked against the Yankees. According to FanGraphs, Boone’s team has an 8.8 percent chance of making the playoffs and a mere 0.5 percent chance of winning the World Series as of Wednesday.

With the likelihood of missing the postseason or, at best, making an early exit, what factors are preserving Boone’s and Cashman’s positions?

According to another individual close to Steinbrenner, the owner’s safety net lies in his desire to evade difficult decisions and remain away from the center of attention. But making personnel changes is not something Hal is inclined to do. He has generally deferred decision-making to Cashman and also has a positive personal rapport with Boone.

aaron-boone-new-york-yankees

However, this scenario might take a turn if the Yankees fail to rapidly turn things around. Sporting a hefty $280 million payroll, they’re currently headed for 83 wins, a performance not seen in over three decades.

Missing the playoffs is one thing – it occurred during Joe Girardi‘s tenure on four occasions (2008, 2013-14, 2016) – but if the Yankees end up at the bottom of the standings in 2023, Boone’s position would be gravely endangered.

Given the Yankees’ storied legacy, such a level of failure is simply not acceptable. Steinbrenner would likely be compelled to take action if only to address public concerns and Boone may become the scapegoat.

But Brian Cashman did blunders

However, if we consider a continued struggle for the Yankees, there’s an additional dimension that involves Cashman.

He will be held accountable for the roster’s imbalance, characterized by an overabundance of right-handed power hitters. Additionally, he will have to address the failure to secure a legitimate left fielder in the previous off-season, the misjudgment in committing to a six-year, $162 million contract for Carlos Rodon, and the lackluster maneuvers executed at the trade deadline.

Numerous challenges the Yankees face are, indeed, systemic issues that cannot solely be attributed to Boone. These are decisions made at the GM level, and Cashman has not had his most stellar season. While he does have job security, with a contract extending until 2026, Cashman might be urged by Steinbrenner to restructure the team’s talent evaluation process.

As is widely known, the Yankees have deeply embraced analytics, as directed by Cashman for several years. However, this dependence has undergone a recent shift with the hiring of new hitting instructor Sean Casey, along with traditional advisors Omar Minaya and Brian Sabean.

In the past, decisions based on statistics led the Yankees to acquire players like Joey Gallo, Sonny Gray, Frankie Montas, and hitting instructor Dillon Lawson – all of whom experienced struggles while with the team.

Even in the previous month, according to an insider, the Yankees had an opportunity to secure outfielder Randal Grichuk in a deadline deal. Grichuk, boasting a .308 batting average with the Rockies, could have been a two-month rental for the Yankees before his free agency. However, this potential deal was rejected by the club’s analysts.

Instead, Grichuk, a 31-year-old who could have bolstered the Yankees as their left fielder during the critical playoff push, was acquired by the Angels.

To be fair to Cashman, many of the Yankees’ challenges could not have been predicted. For instance, Carlos Rodon, who had an exceptional 2022 season with the Giants, should have translated into a more effective performance in a Yankees uniform.

Rodon emerged as the most sought-after pitcher in free agency last winter. The Yankees outbid all competitors to bring the left-hander on board, positioning him as a co-ace alongside Gerrit Cole.

No one could have foreseen the extent to which Rodon would be plagued by injuries (back, forearm, and now hamstring) and struggle to contain opposing hitters while on the mound (evidenced by a 7.33 ERA and eight home runs allowed in 27 innings).

Aaron Boone and Brian Cashman are at a Yankees training season.
Torry

Domingo German finds himself in a similar situation. The extent of his ongoing struggle with alcohol issues, resulting in his placement on the restricted list for the remainder of the year, caught everyone off guard, including Cashman.

Luis Severino’s descent into becoming one of MLB’s least effective pitchers was not part of the plan. Likewise, the simultaneous decline of the experienced Yankees core – Giancarlo Stanton, Anthony Rizzo, D.J. LeMahieu, and Josh Donaldson – was unexpected.

Cashman took a calculated risk last winter by relying on these players, opting not to pursue a significant overhaul. Consequently, the ’23 Yankees closely resembled their ’22 counterparts. If one believes that a GM should be held responsible for unsuccessful hunches, then Cashman might face scrutiny this upcoming offseason.

There remains a possibility for this, although this doesn’t guarantee a new GM will be appointed by the next Opening Day. The Yankees still maintain a strong lead in American League attendance, and their YES ratings are impressive as well. Despite this season’s challenges, the team still holds a mathematical chance at securing the third wild card spot. Furthermore, they’ve successfully met the challenge posed by crosstown owner Steve Cohen to assert the Mets as the city’s premier team.

These accomplishments undoubtedly work in Cashman’s favor.

Yet, the spotlight will also shine on the impending managerial decisions, which promise to be compelling. It’s crucial to remember that Boone has the support of Steinbrenner and the players. However, the ultimate verdict will be determined over the course of the next 48 games and it is do or die situation for Boone despite misdeeds by Cashman.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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8 thoughts on “Cashman’s misdeeds put Boone at risk of losing Yankees job

  1. Who ever is choosing to keep putting Severino out there needs to be fired. If you’re hanging on by a thread to make the final wild card you don’t pitch Severino.

  2. “No one could have foreseen the extent to which Rodon would be plagued by injuries (back, forearm, and now hamstring) ” Rodon has a lengthy injury history to the the point of him staying healthy is the exception not the norm. Montas, traded for despite his known injury. Bader, significant injury history. This is a pattern, not a surprise.

  3. It’s not on Boone…he’s juggled the overworked bullpen masterfully behind a staff of Cole (CY type year) and the five inning Schmidt (who has pitched like a really good four or five—but not the 2 role he has had to fill). You can’t make chicken salad out of chicken crap…the over-the-hill-gang con Rail Riders line up falls all on Cashman…he failed to bring in any line up help at the deadline…

  4. Cashman has been bad last 5 years. Boone is a bad manager who by himself loses 10 games a year even with good teams. He is an non inspirational excuse maker. Yanks also need much better scouts and player development people. Why can Rays, Dodgers and Astros always pull talent from system when Yanks can not.

  5. Very good article, truthful and to the point. I totally agree with the assessment of Cashman, doesn’t have that magic touch anymore. He should definitely be held accountable for his actions or lack there of. I personally believe Boone is a horrible manager, almost never makes the proper moves and always gets out managed. Both should be fired. Yes the players need to look at themselves in the mirror. Hal also needs to take a lot of the blame for being a non caring owner.

  6. If Cashman couldn’t and can’t see the total decline of Donaldson and Stanton it shows that he has to go. He got suckered big time by Oakland and gave up all of the pitching depth for an injured pitcher and Boone although not more than a puppet for Cashman has to take all of the heat. He can only play and pitch the personnel he is given. He should have seen that Donaldson couldn’t hit anything but batting practice pitching and Stanton is a hit one day and look bad for a week player who is afraid to run because of all the leg injuries in the past. Nobody could have predicted the injuries to Judge or Rizzo

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