Perspectives: It's Bad
by Paul Semendinger
July 17, 2023
I'll start with the most obvious point, one that very few are discussing.
The Yankees' hitting coach was not the problem.
My goodness. There were so many positive words written about the fact that the Yankees did something big... they changed their hitting coach! A move like that, in season, means nothing. It meant zero. The Yankees changed their coach right before the team was taking a four day break.
What was the move supposed to prove? Was there a belief that Sean Casey was going to immediately change the Yankees' hitters approaches - even while they were on vacation and away from the game. Even if Sean Casey becomes the greatest hitting coach in the world, changing a hitter's approach is a process that takes a great deal of time. It doesn't happen in a day or a week, or probably even over half a season.
Changing the hitting coach was a move to make a move and nothing more. It was supposed to indicate that the Yankees are serious. They aren't. At all. Sean Casey's impact on the 2023 Yankees will be minimal, at best.
What also wasn't mentioned was the fact that since Aaron Boone has been the manager, the Yankees have employed P.J. Pilittere, Marcus Thames, Casey Dykes, Hensley Meulens, Brad Wilkerson, and Dillon Lawson as hitting coaches (or assistant hitting coaches). If the approach was all wrong, why were all of those coaches hired?
Shouldn't the person or people doing the hiring be the ones fired when that many different people are trying an approach that is obviously not working?
Fair question - if you were running a business, would you continually hire people without any leadership experience to serve as the leaders for your company?
This has been the Yankees approach - and it hasn't worked.
They did this again with Sean Casey. The man has never coached before. He might be a great guy. He might be the best guy. He might be the smartest coach ever. But he has no experience at all as a professional coach. If a team is expecting immediate results (which won't happen anyway) hiring a novice is absolutely not the way to get those results.
Here's another fair question...
If your main leader (let's call that person the manager) has been doing a poor job, and seems to do worse year-after-year, would you hire one of his closest friends to be his new assistant?
That's what the Yankees did with Aaron Boone and Sean Casey. Again, to me at least, this makes little sense. Rather than having the manager feel the heat, the Yankees seem to want him to feel more relaxed.
Have you ever noticed that when people say "You know" a lot, that they really don't know.
Can you count how many times Aaron Boone says, "You know" in the postgame conference?
Do the Yankees, as an organization, truly believe, since they keep hiring TV analysts that there is no difference between talking about the game and coaching it?
Over their last 16 games (12 of which have been against bad baseball teams), the Yankees are 7-9. I was concerned that the Yankees would do real well in these games and create a mirage of sorts to have the team look better than it really is.
Instead, they've looked worse.
I lost count, but of the runs the Yankees scored against the Rockies, in the entire three games, how many did they truly earn - and how many came as a result of very bad baseball by the Rockies? I think almost every run the Yankees scored came because of a bad defensive play or an extended inning as a result of a bad defensive play.
As difficult as it might be to imagine after the Yankees lost two of three, they actually played worse than the result.
I don't believe any of it, for a million reasons, but the MLB news outlets are drumming up the idea that Shohei Ohtani might actually be coming to the Yankees. I think this is just to create interest and speculation. I don't believe a word of it.
Who knows, maybe I'm wrong, but....
What do the Yankees possibly have to offer that the Angels would want for Ohtani?
Does anyone believe the Yankees will pay Ohtani a gigantic salary over the next decade for him to play for them?
I know that we have to believe that Ohtani will be great forever, but if you owned the team, would you pay $40m plus annually for a player, as great as he is, heading into his 30's who is doing something no player in the history of the game ever did before?
Where would Shohei Ohtani play? DH? If so, what about Giancarlo Stanton? If the Yankees can't move Stanton, he would have to become an every day outfielder. Is that a good idea?
Shohei Ohtani is great, but even with his talent, he hasn't been able to help the Angels win. Does anyone believe that he would be the answer to the 2023 Yankees? Are the Yankees just one player (even a player this great) short of greatness?
Don't get me wrong, I'd love for him to be a Yankee. It would be great fun watching Ohtani playing baseball on a daily basis. But for 2023, he's not the answer. This team has too many holes. Far too many.
The Yankees bullpen, so good for the first half, is looking tired. Haven't we seen this happen year-after-year?
The Yankees might have figured out that you can hide a team's flaws through a strong bullpen for long periods of time, but when that pen is used and abused game after game (and year after year), it eventually falls apart.
The second half just started, and the Yankees only true strength this year is already starting to look like it is running on fumes.
If you owned the Yankees, wouldn't you wonder why the team you've invested so much in is in last place?
Wouldn't you wonder why the team hasn't reached the World Series since 2009.
Would you believe that the Yankees are ascending or getting worse?
At one point would you ask the tough questions of all of the team's decision makers? It seems clear that they have not been doing a good job.
Today is July 17 and the Yankees are in last place.
Since the All-Star Break in 2022, the Yankees have played .518 baseball. They are 85-79.
Since July 1 of last year, the Yankees are 93-86 (.519).
The Yankees have not been a good team for a long time now. We are well beyond small sample sizes.
In order to fix problems, teams must recognize that there are problems. This Yankees franchise is riddled with problems.
Aaron Judge returning isn't going to fix the problems. It's much deeper than one player.
Now that Oswald Peraza is back in the big leagues. It is imperative that he plays every day.
The Yankees did a bad job with him last year. They also did a bad job with him in the minors this year by not giving him much experience at third base and second base. Again, these are organizational decisions that simply do not make sense. On any level.
Now that he's in the Majors, it is assumed that Peraza will be playing a lot of third base. It would have made a lot of sense to give him more experience there in the minors.
I know, I know, the chicken parm story is so great. "Anthony Volpe fixed his swing. He figured it out." (I never believed this.)
In the last nine games that Volpe has played (since July 4), he is only 2-for-33. He's batting .060 over this span. His batting average for the season has fallen from .225 to .208.
Simple question to conclude - Have the Yankees done a good job in the ways they have transitioned Anthony Volpe to the Major Leagues?
I do not believe they have.