Brian Cashman makes a tepid defense, claims Yankees able to thrive minus Aaron Judge

Yankees GM Brian Cashman is talking to the media about Aaron Judge on June 20, 2023, at Yankee Stadium. Inset Aaron Judge
John Allen
Wednesday June 21, 2023

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The Yankees’ performance takes a hit when Aaron Judge isn’t in the lineup, and the numbers paint an unfavorable picture. Despite general manager Brian Cashman’s assertion that the Yankees can weather his absence, the statistics tell a different story, leaving fans skeptical and incredulous. His assertion is a feeble defense to shield his decisions from increased criticism.

Without the 2022 MVP, the Yankees’ performance suffers. Since Aaron Judge injured his right big toe on June 3 in Los Angeles, the Yankees have played 13 games. Out of those 13 games, they have only won five, including a 3-1 victory against the Mainers on Tuesday night in the Bronx. During this period, they have scored a total of 42 runs.

When asked about the Yankees depending too much on Aaron Judge for their offense — a question that goes back to the decisions made in the previous offseason not to strengthen the lineup beyond Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo — Brian Cashman quickly disagreed. He acknowledged that the team’s offense has been noticeably affected without the reigning AL MVP, but he sees it as an unusual occurrence or a deviation from the norm.

The trade deadline is coming up in six weeks, and the regular season is almost at its halfway point. Despite this, Brian Cashman is not panicking. Just like owner Hal Steinbrenner, manager Aaron Boone, and everyone else involved, the Yankees GM firmly believes that the team is ready to overcome challenges and handle Aaron Judge’s absence.

Brian Cashman revealed his understanding of the fans’ dissatisfaction and disappointment with the current situation, stating that there is still a long way to go. He acknowledged both external and internal frustration but emphasized the Yankees‘ belief in their roster and their capabilities. Brian Cashman tried to assure that the team has their support and will work through the challenges together, even if they face criticism for their recent performance. He remained optimistic, stating that he believes the team will ultimately reach its desired position by the end of the season.

But statistics contradict Brian Cashman

The Yankees had a tough time scoring runs when Aaron Judge wasn’t playing earlier in the season, and even during the 2022 playoffs when he wasn’t at his best. This makes us question if the team relies too much on him for their offensive success.

Cashman with Aaron Judge
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Brian Cashman is aware of the poor performance of the Yankees’ offense when Aaron Judge is not playing. Since Aaron Judge injured his toe in Los Angeles at the beginning of this month, the team has a record of 4 wins and 8 losses. Overall, they have a record of 8 wins and 14 losses, while Aaron Judge has been out of the lineup this year, including when he was on the injured list for 10 days due to a hip strain.

Even the general manager agrees that the team’s performance since Aaron Judge got injured has been terrible. Brian Cashman describes it as looking bad, feeling bad, and even tasting bad. The team has had the worst offense in the league since the start of June, and their gap behind the leading team in the American League East has grown to 10 1/2 games, which is the largest it has been this season. Still, its boss says something that is hard to see or believe.

Brian Cashman acknowledged that Aaron Judge is an important player for the team, but he also emphasized the presence of other experienced leaders on the roster. According to him, these players have the ability to make significant contributions. He mentioned that the team has several professional hitters who are more than capable of performing at a high level. However, at the moment, these hitters are facing difficulties and struggling with their performance contradicting Brian Cashman’s views.

During crucial moments when the Yankees have relied on their experienced players to perform, players such as Josh Donaldson, DJ LeMahieu, Anthony Rizzo, and Giancarlo Stanton have been struggling with alarming slumps. Even rookie shortstop Anthony Volpe has been struggling to achieve positive results, making it difficult to justify keeping him at the current level of play and potentially considering a demotion to Triple-A.

Except for a few players in supporting roles, the entire offense of the Yankees has been a disaster without their leader. Starting from June 4, the day after Judge got injured, the Yankees have the lowest batting average (.195), on-base percentage (.255), wRC+ (64), and fewest runs scored (39) compared to all the other teams in baseball.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and AL MVP Aaron Judge.
Charles Wenzelberg

Brian Cashman is open to trade and backs staff

The uncertainty surrounding Aaron Judge’s injury timeline is causing even more worry. The Yankees have no idea when the slugger will be able to return, and they haven’t shared any specific timetable with the public. Brian Cashman stressed that they are being cautious and taking their time with Judge’s recovery. They don’t want him to come back too soon and risk further damage to his right big toe.

Brian Cashman is willing to consider making trades before the August 1 deadline. Yet finding someone to completely replace Judge is extremely difficult. Instead, the team will have to be patient and wait for Aaron Judge to recover. To improve their situation, the current players in the Yankees’ clubhouse need to step up and perform better. It’s up to them to turn things around and get the team back on track.

He stated that there are no plans to engage in trading to find a replacement for Aaron Judge. Brian Cashman mentioned the importance of patiently waiting for Judge’s return and expressed faith in the capabilities of other players on the team. He acknowledged the current absence of their desired contribution from these players but expressed optimism that they will eventually improve and fulfill their potential.

Brian Cashman also supported his coaching staff despite the team’s recent performance. He stated that their approach is not the cause of the current situation and believed that there would be a market correction over time, leading them back to their normal performance.

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