Perspectives: More On The Yankees...
by Paul Semendinger
October 4, 2023
Thanks to everyone for a great discussion yesterday here on SSTN. The discussions in the comments were excellent.
I have a few more big ideas to touch upon briefly this morning...
* This is not 20/20 hindsight. I said this at the time. I said this a million times at the time. Trading away Jordan Montgomery was a bad move for the Yankees. It made no sense. The Yankees needed pitching. The Yankees always need quality left-handed pitching. Jordan Montgomery was (and is) a quality left-handed starter. Yet, the Yankees traded Monty for Harrison Bader - a guy who was injured, who wouldn't play for weeks and weeks, and who had a history of breaking down. Worse, the Yankees' excuse at the time, this ludicrous talking point that Jordan Montgomery had no role in the playoffs, was absurd on its face. No one knows in August which pitchers will be available in October. It made no sense. It was baloney. I was surprised and amazed that so many bought into the Yankees' spin on that. Again, it was clearly absurd. Since the trade, Harrison Bader spent time on the Injured List and was released by the Yankees. Since the trade, Bader has put up, in a season and a half 0.5 bWAR. Jordan Montgomery, over that same period has put up 5.0 bWAR.
* Last night, Jordan Montgomery, who the Yankees felt couldn't, wouldn't, or shouldn't pitch in the playoffs... pitched... in the playoffs. He went 7 innings, allowing 6 hits, and no runs. Imagine that.
* The Montgomery trade wasn't just a miss by Brian Cashman, it was a colossal failure. And this is one of the big problems with the Yankees - very bad decision-making and no accountability. Brian Cashman should have to explain, today, to Hal Steinbrenner, how he could be so wrong about Montgomery's ability to pitch this well and his ability to pitch this well in a playoff game. "Brian, what didn't you see there? What didn't the manager see? What didn't the coaches see?" If the excuse is that he improved after leaving the Yankees, the obvious follow-up is, "Why couldn't he do this for us?" Montgomery was a Yankee. They drafted him. He came up through the system. How did an entire organization get this so wrong?
* Brian Cashman has gotten a lot wrong, a ton wrong, these last many years, and yet, he keeps his job. When people make comments like, "The Yankees don't care about winning," or "All Hal Steinbrenner cares about is making money - not having a quality team" it is understandable. It is completely understandable because the people he employs are not doing good work, their decisions have hurt the team, and yet they keep their jobs.
* Aaron Boone has been the Yankees manager for six seasons. He has never gotten the Yankees to a World Series. All indications are that he is returning to manage the Yankees for a seventh season in 2024. No manager, in the history of the Yankees, ever, was given this much time to reach a World Series. No manager... ever - for whatever reasons. When the Yankees keep bringing back a manager who hasn't brought them to the World Series year-after-year, giving him chance after chance, especially as the team goes backwards, again, true or not, it gives the indication that they are not serious about winning. One cannot draw any other conclusion.
* We are judged by the decisions we make. That's a fact of life. The Yankees' decisions in regard to Brian Cashman and Aaron Boone do not (in any way) say, "Our number one goal is to win." The Yankees' actions say, "Good enough... is." And for many Yankees fans, I'd argue most fans, good enough is not good enough. It is not. Period. Exclamation point.
* We are living through one of the least successful long, sustained eras in Yankees history. This is clear and obvious and supported by the cold hard facts. The Yankees have won one World Series in the last 22 years. Let's count down back in 22-year increments and see how the franchise has done:
2001-2023 = 1 World Series Championship
1978-2000 = 5 World Series Championships
1955-1977 = 5 World Series Championships
1932-1954 = 13 World Championships
1909-1931 = 3 World Championships
This is not just a few years without success. This is more than two decades of the Yankees consistently falling short. Year-after-year-after-year.
* The Yankees' lack of success, in today's era, right now, is a longer period of time than the Horace Clarke years or the 1980s. It is. Facts are facts.
* I have often criticized the Yankees for not being fan friendly. I have made many suggestions over the years on ways the Yankees can be more welcoming and appreciative of their fans. This year, the Atlanta Braves have opened their stadium to the fans, for free, to watch the team workout in preparation of their first round in the playoffs. This is an example of a franchise that considers and appreciates their fans. Often times it is the little things that make a big difference.
* There is a talking point that "teams today just cannot win on a year-to-year basis." We're told that baseball is designed to thwart long-term success and that "there are no dynasties." Hummmm.....
The Atlanta Braves have finished in first place in the N.L. East six consecutive seasons.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have finished in first place in the N.L. West in ten of the last eleven seasons (the other year, they finished in second place with 106 wins).
The Houston Astros have finished in first place in six of the last seven seasons.
Over the last eleven seasons, the Yankees have finished in first place just twice. It's not like the Yankees are consistently good and just fail in the playoffs (when they get there). The Yankees are not even consistently the best team in their division.
Other teams have figured out how to finish at the top year-after-year consistently. They're doing that in today's game. Not the Yankees. Not in any way. The Yankees don't win enough. Period. And because all of the decision-makers seem to be coming back to try the same failed approach again in 2024, the message to the fans does seem abundantly clear, "The Yankees do not care about being the best or winning championships."
If that's not the message they are sending, what is?
A note to other baseball writers, podcasters, talkers, and the like - if you borrow or use any of these ideas, do the right thing and give credit where credit is due - to the author and this site.