With a budget offseason coming, frustrated fans need Yankees front office continuity
Cashman and Hal Strienbrenner
It's going to be a terrible weekend for anyone emotionally invested in the Yankees season. This one probably feels even worse than the last October exits due to the way it ended and the years that go by between World Series appearances.
If you're the manager, you'll have an especially tough time, as Aaron Boone always does. As a man of faith, he goes into every off-season and is convinced that his team will win everything - and he is stunned when they lose.
"It's terrible," Boone said after falling 2-1 in Game 5 of the Division Series against the Tampa Bay Rays. "The end is cruel, it really is."
If you're a fan, you may have used Friday nights to do some Fire Boone! or "Cashman must go" tweets or texts.
Get it off your chest now because you are going to need the strengths of that Yankee front office in an off-season that is unlikely to be a huge expense.
The GM, whose scouts and analysts brought you Luke Voit, Gio Urshela, Chad Green and other key contributors, must be at the top of their game this winter. Our understanding is not to anticipate the Americans as players in the free hand, not after the revenues bleed during the pandemic.
Could Hal Steinbrenner, frustrated with an early exit, change course and pursue Trevor Bauer or J.T. Realmuto? Everything is possible. But every clue we have is that the Yankees and most of the other teams are going to be relatively low this winter.
In this climate, the Yankees will need their ray-like assessment skills more than ever.
In reality, the Yankees and Rays are similar both on and off the field. They were almost drawn on this series and their front offices spend a lot of time following the same players. Both teams have scouts and analysts who value similar qualities and make surprising contributions.
Here are just a few examples:
- In 2018, the Yankees tried to act for Nick Anderson, according to sources. The rays caught him instead and he became one of the best helpers in the league.
- The rays chased D.J. LeMahieu in the free agency, trying to act for Mike Tauchman.
These latter two players are perfect examples of what the Yanks and Rays are good at - they identify players who are undervalued by their own organizations or the rest of the league and turn them into stars or downs. In 2019, the Americans finished before Tampa. This year the rays were better.
The intellectual arms race continues in the American League East and is expanded to include the Red Sox under former Rays manager Chaim Bloom.
The Rays passed the Yankees in depth and high-end pitching this year and then wiped them out of the playoffs. The now infamous Yankees opener game on this series will be a talking point all winter, an easy shot for those who believe Cashman has invested too much in analytics.
That move didn't work. But the front office that brought you the Game 2 debacle is the same that LeMahieu, Urshela and others brought you - and the same that designed a playoff team four years in a row.
In the end, that's not good enough. The Yankees have to see a World Series very soon. But despite the fans' natural desire to demand something after four playoff heartaches, the franchise doesn't need to be overhauled. It just has to keep working hard to beat the Rays in their own game.
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