About the Off-Season: Time’s a Wastin’
About the Off-Season: Time’s a Wastin’
By Tim Kabel
November 13, 2023
So far this offseason, the Yankees have done well, nothing. Actually, that's not true. They lost their bench coach to the Mets and their hitting coach said he would not be coming back. The Yankees are reportedly in the process of hiring a new hitting coach in James Rowson but, that's not official yet. As far as the bench coach goes, they wanted to hire Dave Ross, former manager of the Cubs but, he would prefer to manage. Other than that, Brian Cashman had a profane public temper tantrum at the General Managers’ meeting and Hal Steinbrenner had a zoom call in which he declared the Yankees would henceforth be known as the “Bronx Bunters.”
Hal and Cashman have acknowledged that last season was a disaster and have promised “big changes” for 2024. However, other than replacing the two coaches who left, they will not be making any personnel changes. That's right, they admitted that the 2023 season was a disaster but everyone who was involved with running that team will be back, doing things the same way. Cashman just declared that the Yankees will be a “Phoenix rising from the ashes” in 2024. Does he mean the bird or the city in Arizona? With him, you can never be too sure.
Since the Yankees will not be changing their general manager, manager, coaching staff, (other than replacing two people), strength and conditioning coaches, and the analytics department, that sort of limits the scope of the “big changes". Essentially, any and all changes will be made to the roster. If the hitting coach is James Rowson, that may be an indication of some change, as he is supposedly not a proponent of launch angles and other analytics-driven philosophies. He also formed a bond with Aaron Judge while he worked in the Yankees’ system for six years. Again, this would not be a huge change, but it might be a step in the right direction.
As far as players are concerned, the Yankees have been linked to virtually every available player, either through free agency or trades. They have also been connected to players who are clearly not available. This happens every year. It does not only happen with the Yankees but, it seems to happen more often with them than other teams, particularly after a year like 2023.There have been rumors about the Yankees acquiring any number of outfielders including, Cody Bellinger, Juan Soto, Alex Verdugo, virtually everybody on the Cardinals’ roster, Jung Hoo Lee, the Korean baseball star, who is nicknamed, “Grandson of the Wind”, as well as others.
If Cashman truly wants us to believe the Yankees are going to be a Phoenix rising from the ashes, instead of a chicken climbing out of a dumpster, he needs to do two things. He needs to make moves fairly soon, at least one or two, to show signs of life and he needs to make substantial moves. When you are linked to someone who is known as “Grandson of the Wind”, you can’t appease fans by bringing in someone known as “Cousin of the Drought”. Lately, that seems to be the approach Cashman has taken. Instead of shopping for big ticket items, he skulks around flea markets and liquidation sales, At the trading deadline in 2023, he acquired two pitchers, one of whom Kenyan Middleton, is a free agent, the other one was released, and is no longer on the roster.
I realize the off-season has just begun but, the Yankees have a lot of work to do. They need to make multiple moves. They also need to get a new hitting coach and a new bench coach. The top candidates for the bench coach position are Brad Ausmus and Andrew Bailey, no, he is not the fellow from It's a Wonderful Life, although with Cashman and Hal in charge, he very well could be.
Thanksgiving is next week and not much happens during that week in the Major Leagues, as we all know. The winter meetings will be upon us before we know it. I don't want the Yankees to rush into moves. Usually when you rush into moves, they aren't the best ones. However, they need to do something fairly soon to at least give an indication to the fans that they will be doing more. This cannot be bringing Tyler Wade back to the organization or signing David Robertson. It can't be announced that there will be an Alex Rodriguez bobblehead doll day on June 23rd. Hal cannot declare that the weekend after the All-Star game will be known as “Bunt-a-Palooza" weekend.
The longer the Yankees wait to make a move and the less significant that move is, the less likely people will be to believe that the Yankees will be a Phoenix rising from the ashes. Instead, the fans will just think that the Yankees are collecting more ashes. Unless the Yankees indicate that they are willing to change direction in some areas, even with the same personnel in charge, and acquire players who will be able to make a difference, it will simply be like putting more rats onto a sinking ship.