The Tuesday Discussion: Independence Day
July 4, 2023
This week we asked our writers:
Looking at the Yankees from top to bottom, who would it be best that the Yankees gain their independence from? (Note - you can only choose one person.)
Here are their replies:
Ed Botti - After 25 years (we have had 5 US Presidents in the same period) of failing to develop legitimate MLB starting pitching, a plethora of ill advise trades, failed reclamation projects, poor Rule 5 draft positioning, hiring a broadcaster with ZERO managerial experience to run the team, and poor lineup construction, the Yankees would be best served gaining their independence from NYC’s most over rated sports executive in its history. As he himself stated on November 6, 2017 when Joe Girardi was granted his independence “it was time for a new voice and a fresh voice”. That time arrived years ago, and we are still in the exact same spot. It’s time!
As I said 3 years ago “Hire Sabean”!
Lincoln Mitchell - The Yankees would benefit most from being liberated from the narrative. The narrative that the Yankees are some kind of special franchise that, uniquely, tries to win the World Series every year is crippling the team. The less romantic narrative is that the Yankees are one of thirty teams whose major structural advantage is that they play in a huge media market. However, believing there is something special about the Yankees and that players want to wear the pintstripes more than other uniforms or that the Yankees have some kind of mystique has become very damaging to the team. The narrative leads to a myopia that is exacerbated by being in the New York media market. This leads Yankees fans, and it appears Yankees executives too, to have little idea about what is happening in baseball more broadly. Outside of New York, people stopped believing that Giancarlo Stanton was an elite impact player about three years ago. Outside of New York, nobody believes the Yankees have a top shelf farm system. And, while Cashman is probably well-liked by his colleagues, his connection to the Yankees glory days of the late 1990s have become a hindrance, not an asset. If the Yankees liberate themselves from the narrative, they will understand that trying to win the World Series every year, and never being sellers, is a good way to ensure championship droughts of what is approaching fifteen years. If the Yankees move beyond the self-aggrandizing narrative, then they will be able to bring in management that understands how the game has changed and has some sense of how to win in today’s game.
Derek McAdam - While there are several people that should go, I think Brian Cashman is the ideal candidate that the Yankees have to get rid of. Sure, Aaron Boone might make plenty of bad decisions, but he also has to deal with the roster that he’s given. Cashman is the one that has signed several bad long-term deals and made some extremely questionable trades.
Hal Steinbrenner may not be completed invested in doing whatever it takes to get the Yankees to a World Series win, but he’s proven that he will still spend the money. After all, the Yankees do have one of the highest payrolls in the league. It’s unfair to say that the team is “cheap.”
Paul Semendinger - I will take this in a completely different direction. I don't believe the Yankees have done a very good job recognizing and celebrating their stars from the past appropriately. Monument Park is less a place where the Yankees honor and recognize the great players than a place where the Yankees honor players who were the favorites of some decision makers. Why is Player A there and not Player B? There is no rhyme or reason. It's all done behind the scenes and with no rationale ever given. There is no voting process. It is all done in secret. Some years players get in. Other years they don't.
As I have written, the Yankees don't have any third basemen in Monument Park. How can that be? Why is Graig Nettles not there? The Yankees also don't have a left fielder in Monument Park (outside of Babe Ruth who did play there more than most realize). Why is Roy White, one of the classiest and most dignified Yankees ever not yet honored? Dave Winfield is a Hall of Famer. Why is he not in Monument Park? Hank Bauer was every bit the player Paul O'Neill was, and more, but he has never been recognized. Allie Reynolds is there, but his fellow starters who made up the "Big Three," Vic Raschi and Ed Lopat, are not. No one in Yankees history was part of more championships as a player and coach than Frank Crosetti. He belongs in Monument Park as well. As do so many others.
The randomness, secrecy, and arbitrary nature of how players are enshrined in Monument Park is a disservice to the deserving players, and others, who deserve to be there and whose contributions to the Yankees franchise are being forgotten all for reasons no one knows or understands. The whole selection process is shrouded in mystery. Again, it's all completely arbitrary. It's also completely unfair.
The Yankees need independence from this. The process needs to be more transparent, more open, and the deserving players need to be there. The Yankees need to make Monument Park a place where all their heroes are recognized - not just some and not just for reasons that are beyond logic, rationale, and any semblance of fairness.
*** Ethan Semendinger - The Yankees (and all of baseball) need independence from divisions within in the leagues. There are many reasons to do so, and it will force teams to adapt in ways that will benefit the sport as a whole.
Starting this season, every team will play every team in the other league at least a 3 game series over the course of the 162 game season (and a 4 game series against the "geographical rival"). They will also play 13 games against the four teams in their division, and either 6 or 7 games against the rest of their league. On a year-to-year basis, that type of disparity could be detrimental to a team has to play additional games against tough opponents versus a team that gets to skirt around playing lesser teams. It's time to implement a new system.
Currently (as of the results of July 3rd), every team in the AL East is better than the best team in the AL Central. This is also true of 3 of the 5 teams in the AL West. Now, think about how much better your non-AL Central team would be if they had more games against the AL Central opponents (with just the Twins having a .500 or better Winning Percentage). Currently, the system promotes the Twins (and the teams in the AL Central) in an unfair way as they disenfranchise the entire AL East.
It's time to get rid of divisions all together. There are so many ways to do this (with and without involving interleague play) and the MLB needs to take this seriously if they want the best product to prevail.
Andy Singer - There are good arguments to made about multiple people steering the current Yankee ship. Aaron Boone has so clearly not been the right manager for the Yankees. As much as I’m a Brian Cashman guy, even I’ll admit that sometimes, a new voice is needed to change the result for the better. That said, I don’t think either is the right answer here. I wish the Yankees could declare their independence from owner, Hal Steinbrenner.
It is impossible to separate the decisions made with regards to roster construction and staff hirings from the guy at the big desk. I don’t like Boone as manager, but was that Cashman’s hire, as many assume, or Steinbrenner’s? After all, it was Steinbrenner who announced Boone’s return, not Cashman. Cashman goes out and makes a big signing here and there…and always leaves the off-season one or two pieces short. Is that Cashman’s decision, or did Steinbrenner get cold feet once he felt the reality of the bill?
Money doesn’t fix everything, as the Mets have shown in 2023, but I’ll take an owner who is willing to give their people every tool to make the team better. It’s fun to dream about what the Yankees might have done in 2019 or 2022 if they had an owner that was willing to push just a bit further with the budget. I wish the Yankees could declare their independence from Hal Steinbrenner.