Perspectives: My Hopes for The Rest of 2023 (Pt. 1)
by Paul Semendinger
August 28, 2023
For all intents and purposes, the 2023 season is over. It's been over for a long time.
Last week Brian Cashman stated that no one saw this disaster of a season coming. I did. Many of the writers here did. We've been saying this for a long time. Years ago, I warned that when the window closes, it closes quickly. I warned that the window was closing - years ago.
And it did.
The Yankees are 62-68. They are 6.5 games out of fourth place. The one thing they have done well this year is lose.
I don't think the Yankees have much hope for 2024. The Yankees, as they are currently constructed, do not look to have a quality team heading into next year. I'm not sure how much the Yankees will be able to change. I am not sure if they are willing to do the necessary things to make the team a winner again. But, if they don't make significant changes, 2024 will be worse than this year. If the Yankees don't make a lot of changes, we might be looking at a second consecutive last-place finish.
In short, the window closed. It closed quickly. The only way to open it again is to make significant changes to the organization.
The following are my hopes for the rest of 2023. If these things occur, they could help the Yankees as they work to build a better team for next year and into the future.
Hal Steinbrenner - The knock on Hal Steinbrenner is that he seems to care more about the money the Yankees bring in rather than in putting a quality baseball team on the field. Looking at his comments (many) over the years about the luxury taxes, along with his decision to put a patch on the iconic Yankees uniforms, and the fact that the Yankees are raising ticket prices for next year (amazingly), and so much more, it's difficult to argue against that perspective. My hope is that Mr. Steinbrenner realizes the errors of his ways and he lets the baseball people make the decisions (however costly) that will help the Yankees find success. Passing on players like Freddie Freeman and Bryce Harper may have seemed to be financially sound, but they resulted in the Yankees having a worse team. I believe that had Harper been signed all those years ago, that the Yankees would have won at least one World Championship over the last few years. I also believe that all the goodwill and excitement he would have brought would have paid for his salary time and again. I am tired about hearing the most valuable team in the entire sport, a franchise worth billions more than the next team, talking about the luxury tax. I want to hear them talking about winning, period. That has to start from the top.
Brian Cashman - For decades he did a very good to great job running the Yankees. Those days are over. He jumped all into a flawed analytical approach. Her made hosts of bad player decisions. He hired Aaron Boone to be the manager. He's the GM of a last place team. Even in the year's previous, when the Yankees were more competitive, they have been more of a paper tiger than a championship-level baseball team. If Cashman was great, or very good, at one time, those days are long gone. It's time for a new direction. A new GM should be hired today so that person can immediately begin the process of evaluating all aspects of the Yankees to be in the best position to make the necessary changes this off-season to help the team get back on track. Years ago Brian Cashman wanted ultimate authority. He got it. He must now own his many mistakes. The Brian Cashman era should be over.
Aaron Boone - In the end, giving a novice the Yankees to run wasn't fair. The Yankees put Aaron Boone in an almost unwinnable situation. They asked a guy with no experience to bring the team to the World Series. The fact that Aaron Boone didn't get the Yankees to glory isn't 100% his fault. He wasn't prepared for the role. But, that being said, he also never grew with the role or rose to the occasion. In many (most) ways, he's the same manager in 2023 that he was in 2018. His time is up. The Yankees should, immediately, bring up Shelly Duncan from Triple-A to manage the team to see how he handles the big leagues. Like the young players, he also deserves a look before the 2023 season ends. There is no good reason to have Aaron Boone managing this club any longer. (I'm not convinced that Shelly Duncan should be the manager in 2024. I'd like a new GM to make that decision. I believe the Yankees need new voices in the system. The system is flawed in so many areas. But, since the goal for the rest of 2023 should be to see the Triple-A kids, I can think of no one better than the manager they have there right now to lead the team through the rest of this season.)
The Team As A Whole - If these recent months haven't convinced Hal Steinbrenner that the 2023 Yankees are a disaster, maybe the only hope is even more losing. I am fearful that if the Yankees play well over the season's last month, they'll somehow believe all is well. It isn't well. Maybe if the Yankees keep losing, a lot, it will become painfully obvious that wholesale changes are needed.
Aaron Judge - The Yankees have a horrible recent history when it comes to injuries. Aaron Judge is a big part of the Yankees. He is the biggest part of the Yankees going forward. If Judge is not healthy and great, the Yankees have no chance. They need him to be great for many years. In order for him to be great, they need to keep him healthy. I would sit him down and let him rest for the remainder of 2023. I'd also send him to a dozen different doctors to examine his foot so that he and the team can make the best decision going forward on how to make sure he has the best opportunity to be fully healed in time for 2024. There is no sense in playing him any longer in a lost season.
Giancarlo Stanton - I hope Stanton finds his 2017 form these last few weeks. I want him to mash and mash some more. I want to see tremendously long home runs - and lots of them. I want him to turn back the clock. I want Stanton to be so good that a contending team sees that he isn't altogether finished, enough that they are willing to take a chance on him. For the Yankees to move forward, they have to move away from Giancarlo Stanton. He can't play the outfield, he cannot stay healthy, he cannot run, and he clogs the designated hitter spot. The Yankees have to move on, no matter what it costs, even if they have to eat most of his salary.
Anthony Rizzo - I hope that Rizzo can get well enough to make it back into the lineup. The people who made the bad decisions regarding his health have a lot of explaining to do. If I were Anthony Rizzo, I'd be talking to the Player's Association about all of this. The fact that he hasn't returned to the lineup speaks loudly and clearly to the horrific job the Yankees did with him following the concussion (or concussion-like symptoms). I am rooting for Rizzo's recovery. I hope he can be a productive big leaguer again.
Anthony Volpe - This was supposed to be Volpe's time. He has shown some promise. I hope over the last month, that he begins to cut down on his swing and learn to be a complete hitter. He needs a two-strike approach. He needs to stop swinging for the fences on every pitch. He needs to cut down the strikeouts. He also needs to begin stealing bases again. The Yankees should let him run wild. Right now, heading into 2024, all the Yankees have is a young shortstop with some power who can't hit .220. That's not good enough. The Yankees need more from Volpe. They need to teach him to be a complete ballplayer. The fact that they haven't yet speaks poorly for the entire organization.
End of Part 1. I'll have more tomorrow...