Perspectives: The Boone/Cashman Press Conference
by Paul Semendinger
November 5, 2022
Well, for the most part, I'll never get those 90-minutes back. I usually don't watch press conferences, but I tuned in yesterday hoping to glean some information from Aaron Boone or Brian Cashman. To be blunt, they didn't say much, or mostly, anything at all.
I found Brian Cashman to be more forthright and he did share a few nuggets of information. Basically Aaron Boone said nothing of importance. He just made statements that, often times, went nowhere. Boone plays it so closely to the vest that he often says almost nothing at all.
I also have to say that I am continually amazed that Aaron Boone got his job as manager based on his interviewing. Maybe he talked differently there than he has the last five years, but I never hear him saying much of value other than, "We're close," "We have to go get 'em." and such. "He just didn't quite get in a groove." "I think it's there." "There's a lot to like." On and on... I don't know, to me what Boone says in his press conferences isn't much different than what Joe Schultz said to the players in Ball Four, minus the expletives. It's just meaningless statements. Platitudes. No substance.
And sometimes, Boone's answers are just nonsensical...
The following was one Aaron Boone's answers:
"As far as change, I think it's just continuing to evolve, and inevitably with that comes change, you know."
When asked what the top priority for the Yankees this offseason will be, Boone responded,
"Uhh, I mean... Look, I mean, that's probably, you know, I know Cash is coming in next, and certainly, I'm always a part of the conversations, and things, and you're trying to improve . The off-season takes you in a lot of different places..." (I have to wonder, why Boone couldn't have said, my priorities are to secure shortstop, sign Judge and get a starting pitcher... or anything like that. Instead, he talked in circles. If they're going to expect the media and the fans to tune in to these press conferences, shouldn't there be some expectation that something meaningful is discussed and real answers provided?)
Boone offered no news on the coaches.
He was asked if he should reevaluate his approach over the 162 game season, he replied, "No."
Aaron Boone also said that he had no concerns or worries about returning to the Yankees as manager for 2023. "I have a contract..." (I'd like to think that as the team played some of the worst baseball in the history of the franchise for the entire month of August that Mr. Boone might have been feeling some heat. But, no. He felt great. As Brian Cashman said later, "We don't get rid off people because of results..." Interesting.)
Boone indicated that Giancarlo Stanton will play some outfield in 2023. (To which, I will have to see it to believe it. That might be the stated desire, but I don't see it happening in practice.)
Aaron Boone also said that he's comfortable with the team and that he feels really good about "our process and my process." (I really wish that there was more self-reflection. Saying, "We did well, I did well, and we have a good process..." really doesn't inspire confidence in me going forward. I'd rather hear my manger say, "You know what. We failed. Period. I made some mistakes. This isn't good enough. No. no way. I have already looked at mistakes I made, and those won't happen going forward." But, for the Yankees, it's all good. And, to see this as an outsider, I'm seeing a process and a mentality that is part of that process that isn't good.)
Boone also feels that Josh Donaldson will hit well next year, or so it seemed. "He just couldn't get it going this year," was the basic sentiment, but he did impress with his glove, if not his bat. (If Boone is going to rely heavily on Josh Donaldson as a middle-of-the-order hitter again, as he did this year, and remember, he said the process was sound, the Yankees are in trouble.)
Of course, Boone stated that he'd like Aaron Judge to return.
When asked what metrics he uses to determine if a player is doing well defensively, because he claimed that Isiah Kiner-Falefa was a top defensive shortstop, Boone seemed surprised by the question and he was unable to answer it at first stating that the team looks at, "I mean range... turning plays into outs... you know... transfers... ummm, you know, all of it." (This was not a good look.)
Finally, Boone would not commit to Oswald Peraza as his shortstop for next year saying it'll be a competition in Spring Training. In that answer, he indicated that Peraza didn't get a chance in August and September because he was so young.
Again, by and large, and for the most part, Aaron Boone stated that the results need to be better, that they want to win, that he supports his players, and that everything always changes. Like Brian Cashman, who came next, Boone also used injuries as a big reason why the Yankees didn't do better in the playoffs and why they were so bad from early July onward. (Of course, from my take, if you have an older roster with players who often get injured, it should be no surprise that as the players age, they'll break down more...no? The team should have a plan in place for when the starters get hurt, because they will. But, the process was good. It was good!)
Brian Cashman then took the podium and shared that one of his goals for 2022 was to improve the Yankees defensively and with Donaldson, IKF, and Jose Trevino, he did just that. He also stated how when needs arise, they try to address them, such as acquiring Harrison Bader to shore up centerfield. (I agree with all of that. Brian Cashman set and attained that goal.)
Cashman used the injuries as a reason, as well, for the Yankees failures. He made a comment along the lines of, "We had to do auditions and things out of curiosity. We gave it a shot to see what would happen." (To which, I was a little taken aback... that was the plan. Curiosity? Let's see what happens? There has to be a better plan in place than, "Let's see what happens." To me, that's a huge red flag.)
Brian Cashman stated, numerous times, that he wants Aaron Judge to return. He also said that Judge earned the right to take his time with the process. (Which he did, of course.) Interestingly, Brian Cashman indicated that Aaron Judge and his agent knew that he was going to go public with the contract they offered last spring and he was surprised that there was talk that Aaron Judge wasn't happy he did that. (This seems like some bad communication which could be a problem with figuring out their next contract.)
Cashman stated that Hal Steinbrenner always makes decisions to make the fans happy. (I found that to be an odd comment knowing that so many fans aren't happy with so much. If he wanted to make us happy, why did he quickly rehire Aaron Boone. Why didn't he sign Bryce Harper. Why didn't he do a lot of things...? Hal Steinbrenner, himself, often talks about how he has to make his investors (not the fans) happy.)
When Brian Cashman was asked about his analytics department, he stated that he felt they did a great job. He also stated that people are not let go for a lack of results. They are let go because of the process they use or not adapting to the times. (I also found that interesting. Isn't baseball, and all of pro sports a results based industry?)
Brian Cashman indicated that if Judge comes back, the positions that are highest on his priorities are left field and shortstop. (I was surprised he did not mention pitching.)
A reporter asked if the "Three True Outcome Strategy" was something that needed to be revisited, Brian Cashman asked that that even is. (He may have been playing coy, but I thought that was a strange answer.) Cashman then highlighted how he acquired players like Anthony Rizzo and D.J. LeMahieu... contact guys (but he failed to mention he also acquired Joey Gallo who disproved the point he was making).
Brian Cashman does not have a contract yet going forward, but he seems confident that it'll get done. He was very pleased with Matt Blake and his team. The Yankees do plan to pick-up Luis Severino's option. He also feels Aaron Boone did a great job as the manager.
And that... was that.
Overall, it was not a very inspiring press conference. It was a lot of, "If we were healthy," and "Injuries hurt," and "Yeah, he's great," and "We have a great process."
I'd love to hear Mr. Cashman say, "I have delivered one World Series appearance in the last 19 years. That's not just not good. It's bad. And for the Yankees, it is terrible and unacceptable. Something is not working. At all. I'm the General Manager, and have been throughout those years. It's on me. And I'll make it better."
But we mostly got, "Yeah, we wish it tuned out differently". "We're doing a good job." "He'll come around." "We do what we can." "We try to improve." "Change happens."
"You know... it's just not easy."
The following teams have all been in the World Series since the last time the Yankees were there:
Astros (four times)
Dodgers (three times)
Giants (three times)
Cardinals (two times)
Royals (two times)
Red Sox (two times)
Rangers (two times)
Something isn't working.... I wish Mr. Boone or Mr. Cashman had been able to articulate what the problem is.