Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Yankees Post Mortem: Turns out, we were ALL right!

So for all of our learned treatises and caterwauling complaints about what was wrong with your New York Yankees these past six months, it turns out that…


We were all correct! Even Brian “Cooperstown” Cashman. Consider if you will:

There was too much analytics. As many have pointed out here—and as Tyler Kepner did in the Paper of (Occasional Baseball) Record—our Twin Towers, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, finally managed to stay in the lineup (most of the time) and had very good seasons. Nonetheless, neither got to 100 ribbies. 


Why? Nobody was on base ahead of them. And in our one, lowly play-in game, after Rizzo, Judge, and Stanton there was nobody who could actually drive in a run. A Yankees team in a do-or-die postseason game, with a .199 hitter in the cleanup spot? For shame!


We don’t know how to do analytics. True that, too! As has also been widely bandied about, while teams like the TB Rays and the Red Sox learned how to play stats ball to the max, we did not.


Case in point: that play-in game again, in which the Yanks managed to draw zero walks, and where Joey Gallo struck out on a check swing—two things that should never happen in Three True Outcomes Ball. This is a result of a Yanks’ stats wiz who—like everyone else in the front office—seems to enjoy lifetime employment despite his many, abject failures.


Pay no attention to that little man behind the curtain!


It was the hitting. As previously mentioned, the Yankees’ 1,266 hits on the year was the team’s lowest, full-season total in the DH era. It was the lowest since 1969. Forget the league-leading walk total—a number that has often been matched or exceeded in those previous years. 


If you can’t match a Jerry Kenney-Jake-Gibbs-Gene Michael team in hitting, you don’t have enough hitting. Period.

It was the pitching. To me, the pitching was actually a big surprise. Looking at the ragtag collection of ragged, injured ragamuffins that Cashman had assembled for a rotation at the start of the season, I predicted 77 wins for the team.


I was wrong. The starting rotation gave us a very strong…first half. Then it started to melt down, putting an ultimately unsustainable strain on the bullpen—something that had been Cashman’s biggest success story of the year. 


It was the injuries. To be fair, this excuse—which Cashman is sure to be spouting all about town—has some validity.


DJ’s hernia—which may well have affected his play all year—and Voit’s knee woes, meant that the AL’s batting champ and home run king from 2020 were ineffectual or on the DL much of the season. The Covid slump hurt—and Rizzo was never the same ballplayer afterwards—and injuries to Gio, Torres, Hicks, Kluber, Taillon German, Loisaiga, Britton, Sevvy, and more, predictable as most were, undoubtedly hurt the team at key moments.


The question of why the Yankees always have so many injuries, every season for the last five years now, remains unanswered. And always will.  

It was Ma Boone. Spare me his 98-win average. The push-button manager—that is, he is Brian Cashman’s button to push—failed spectacularly in basic baseball strategy and especially in using his bullpen to close out games, leading directly to at least 7-8 traumatic losses. 


Boone’s insistent defenses of third-base out machine Phil Nevin, his clueless remarks about how“the rest of the league is closing the gap,” were also indications of how oblivious he is. But worse than that, even, was how often the Yankees showed up this season completely flat, looking utterly unprepared to play and dropping games to teams such as the Orioles.


A bad field manager, a failing clubhouse manager—a nice guy. Sorry, not enough.


It was Cashman. Here we get to the heart of the matter. The Office Boy, Pete Campbell, Cooperstown, Brain—call him what you will. It was another season for The Intern just like all the other seasons.


A couple of decent midseason deals to rebuild the bullpen. Some useful dumpster diving. And a total fail when it comes to building a good farm system, assessing the talent on the field now, and having any idea of where this team is going.  


A Yankees lineup with no power lefties? After you have purposely built the new park with a porch just for them? The greatest office politician in baseball history is, sadly, an idiot.


It was HAL. And again—nothing will change until HAL does. I hesitate to say that he should sell the team to just anyone. Last time the Steinbrenners considered doing that, they nearly dealt the Yanks to the Dolans. But until he either hires a new front office or sells, none of the above will change—except to get even worse.


See? We were ALL right. Doesn’t that make you feel grand?


13bit said...

A friend and I were musing over all the great field managers and bench managers the Yankees used to have. SERIOUS talent and decades of baseball wisdom on tap. The departure of guys like that is emblematic of the general decline in the Yankees organization. They don't do good baseball, to put it crudely. Excuse me, English language. They don't do good baseball. And that's a choice, not an accident.

13bit said...

I meant coach. Long day. FIELD AND BENCH COACHES.


Rufus T. Firefly said...

What bitty said.

And F U HAL.

Please sell the team.

JM said...

And caught in the middle of the management muddle, the players languish. No rings. No nothin'. Some mishandled to the point of wrecking whatever chance they had at a playing career. Some individually flourishing despite the stupidity but never realizing the glory they should've. Others mercifully sent to other teams, where they are righted and become solid performers for years.

Ladies and gentlemen, your perennial New York Yankees. The best baseball example of a fish rotting from the head down.

TheWinWarblist said...

Fuck the Red Socks.