There are worse weeks in their long history than the one the Yankees just experienced, featuring their first public comments since a disastrous 82-win season ended with a strikeout in Kansas City way back on Oct. 1.
Those comments ranging from managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner speaking in vague terms to describe organizational meetings that may or may not have become heated to GM Brian Cashman firing back at his critics during a lengthy outdoor media session at last week’s general managers meetings.
The weeks that be considered worse than prominent figures making statements to annoy fans even further involve times when the Yankees were actually playing games.
Such as that time in 2004 when they became the only team to lose the final four games of an ALCS when the Red Sox made history with a 10-3 win by capitalizing on the Yankees being out of pitching options and turning to a really aging Kevin Brown to save the season.
Such as that time in 2012 when the Yankees could not hit and promptly got swept in four by the Tigers in the ALCS.
Or there was that time last year when the Yankees barely survived five games in the ALDS against Cleveland and then got dominated in a sweep by the Astros, a team known as the Yankee kryptonite.
Or even going back, pick a week in 1990 or 1991 there were weeks that can be deemed worse in years when the Yankees won 67 games and followed it with 71 victories before hiring Buck Showalter and beginning a run of winning records that barely remained intact with the nightmare of 2023,
In looking at the Yankee recent past, hitting .162 against the Astros set in motion the chain of events that culminated with Cashman spending 67 minutes vehemently and passionately defending his method of doing things, notably the pushback against analytics detractors.
The Yankees have been trending heavily towards this way since Joe Girardi was replaced by Aaron Boone in Dec. 2017 – two years after Statcast first was introduced but when things start going really south is when the issues reach the surface, something that hardly was heard through 100 wins in 2018 and 103 wins with a record-setting amount of injury list stints in 2019.
Every team uses analytics to some extent since common sense is to utilize as much as information as humanly possible. For the Yankees it is coming to the forefront because the methodology seemingly is responsible for a series of failed trades and transactions.
The remark that got the most snark was Cashman using an expletive to describe what he is doing by saying “we’re pretty good”. It was certainly notable but the full quote involved him saying the Yankees were proud of their people while adding they were not the best of the front offices, which is something that can be acknowledged given the recent mistakes that include the seven-year deal to Aaron Hicks for example.
The data approach does create some discontent as other outlets, notably Newsday reported. It also seems to be the Yankees might not be figuring out the right balance or how to get the message across properly.
Getting the message across seemed to be something Aaron Judge alluded to when he said they might not be looking at the right numbers. Perhaps the Yankees will look at the right numbers but nobody will care what they look at it if they get back to winning consistently in a way that leads back to their first title since 2009, which they won with three starting pitchers, a deep bullpen and the same lineup for virtually of those 15 games.
Right now, the Yankees are in the midst of the messy wreckage, much more so than when their tedious 2021 season ended with a meek 6-2 loss at Fenway Park in the wild-card game.
The narrative can change with significant improvement on the field along with better health that includes things like avoiding a two-month absence for Aaron Judge, Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton
And good health can be supplemented by better decisions and avoiding the trend of dubious transactions in recent years that landed Josh Donaldson, Joey Gallo and Frankie Montas.
Until the Yankees do those things correctly, consider them to be on trial with an impatient fanbase where many already issued a verdict and waiting to pounce even further if next season is anything close to a repeat of 2023.