Saturday, November 5, 2022

Trust the Process (or Not)...


Brian Cashman (Photo Credit: Charles Wenzelberg/The New York Post)

Boone and Cashman meet the Media for post-season presser…

Yankees manager Aaron Boone and general manager Brian Cashman held their annual end-of-season press conference on Friday which essentially equated to ninety minutes of “not much”. Brian Cashman proved yet again that he is a master deflector with words.

I think it is important to remember the Yankees are not going to reveal their cards to the public. The season may be over, but “the game has just begun” in terms of offseason strategy. There is no way the Yankees would rip their own players, coaches, and front office executives (or ownership). There are too many adverse ramifications of negativity, and it would be counterproductive in the team’s efforts to improve for 2023. Trades and free agent signings are dependent upon the perception of value.  


Clearly, the elephant in the room is the impending free agency of Aaron Judge. The Judge negotiations will determine what the Yankees are able to accomplish this offseason. If the talks drag out until January or February, the Yankees will seemingly be an unlikely aggressor in trades and free agent signings for other impact players.  Best case scenario, which Cashman alluded to, would be quick resolution if Judge wants to stay. Sadly, I think Judge will take his time and visit the other interested clubs. He has earned the right and this is his once in a lifetime opportunity to make the largest financial investment in his life and career. Who would not want to wine and dine with the executives and top players of other teams telling you how great you are and what you would mean for their organizations? Everyone loves to be wanted. So, even if Judge has a desire to be a Yankee for life, it will not be a quick signing.

Of all the off-season’s in recent memory, this is as pessimistic as I have ever been. There is a genuine fear the Yankees will attempt to “run it back” with the same guys (with or without Aaron Judge).

It was evident the Yankees have much confidence in their “process”. I wish they would recognize the process is flawed and requires modification. Perhaps, behind the scenes, those discussions are actively underway. The players need to improve, sure, but the process needs to improve too.  Brian Cashman will never admit he failed. It is not in his vocabulary. Maybe that is part of his persona that allows him to thrive in New York. I try not to read too much into Cashman’s words, but hope…trust…he is making the right decisions and choses behind closed doors. 

Aaron Boone blamed Josh Donaldson’s disappointing production on the lockout and subsequent trade during spring training. He feels Donaldson is better than he showed offensively this season and can be more productive next season. That is not a bet I would make, but honestly, regardless of what the Yankees do with Donaldson, Boone must say he is capable of more. Unloading Donaldson and his contract would be a boon, no pun intended, even if the Yankees must include cash (also, no pun intended). 

Josh Donaldson (Photo Credit:

The real cost is the prospect capital it might take to entice another team to make a deal for a soon-to-be 37-year-old third baseman with tremendous glove but declining production. Good luck with that one, Cashman.

I expected news of Brian Cashman’s extension. His contract expired October 31st and although he acknowledged brief conversations with Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner, there is no contract extension yet. So, Cashman continues as an at-will employee. Asked if other teams had reached out to him, he deflected the question saying they cannot while he remains in the employ of the Yankees. With so much to be accomplished in the coming days, weeks, and months, you would think Steinbrenner is motivated to get Cashman’s new contract finished as quickly as possible.

Whether we believe Cashman should continue his role as General Manager for baseball’s greatest franchise or not, the truth is he is here to stay if he wants to. Complaining about it is pointless. Hal Steinbrenner is not his father, and Brian Cashman helps feed the Steinbrenner family. Nothing as joyous for Hal as the achievement of the 2022 MLB Profitability Championship. 

Hal Steinbrenner (Photo Credit: Corey Sipkin/AP)

It is tiring to hear the team’s continued defense of Isiah Kiner-Falefa. IKF should NOT be the Yankees starting shortstop in 2023. While many fans are clamoring for Anthony Volpe to be the Opening Day starter, he is not ready. Maybe at some point next season but for now, he needs to finish his development in Triple A. Oswald Peraza should be the starter when the Yankees take the field at Yankee Stadium on March 30th to play the (hopefully Aaron Judge-less) San Francisco Giants.

I would love Trea Turner, who has expressed a desire to return to the East Coast, but I will not get my hopes up for that one.

No surprise with Cashman’s announcement of the intent to pick up Luis Severino’s option. The Yankees would have been foolish not to. It WAS surprising that no decisions have been made regarding whether DJ LeMahieu needs surgery. Could be a ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ situation with the risks for and against surgery. I am hopeful for the best, yet we must be prepared he might not be ready for Spring Training. 

Anthony Rizzo will opt out. As a proven team leader and strong performer on the field, the Yankees need to make Rizzo a priority. I am worried that the heavy focus on Aaron Judge could cause the Yankees to lose sight of Rizzo. I hope not. I am not in a hurry to see the return of an iron glove at first base like we had with Luke Voit. Sorry Luke…love the personality and the bat…but the glove, not so much.

Rizzo buys time for the organization to prepare TJ Rumsfield, Tyler Hardman (if he is moved from third base) or Austin Wells (if he is moved from catcher) for eventual ascension to first base at Yankee Stadium. Smooth transitions without a “stopgap” are best.

Austin Wells (Photo Credit: NJ Advance Media for

Another priority is pitching coach Matt Blake. If Blake leaves, it seems the Yankees would replace him with another young analytics-driven coach. The fans’ choice would be David Cone. I have always thought, for sentimental reasons, Mel Stottlemyre, Jr would be an interesting choice. The son of the legendary Yankees pitcher and pitching coach was part of Don Mattingly’s coaching staff in Miami and has built a strong reputation for his role with pitchers Sandy Alcantara and Pablo Lopez. However, the Marlins just announced they have signed him to a new contract that places him among the highest-paid MLB pitching coaches.

The offseason awards for Aaron Judge have begun. The Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) has named Judge the American League Outstanding Player and the overall Outstanding Player with their 2022 Players Choice Awards.


“Aaron Judge captivated the baseball world with his power and all-around hitting acumen in 2022. His 62 home runs broke Roger Maris’ 61-year-old American League record. Judge also led the majors in runs scored (133), OBP (.425), slugging (.686), OPS (1.111) and extra-base hits, while tying for first with 131 RBI. He led the majors by 16 home runs, the largest gap at the top of the home run leader board since Jimmie Foxx outpaced the pack by 17 in 1932. Judge’s MLB-leading 391 total bases were the most by an AL player since Alex Rodriguez recorded 393 for the Texas Rangers in 2001.”

Congratulations to Aaron Judge for the first of many offseason accolades and awards. The best possible award, for me, is Judge’s signature on a new Yankees contract.

Aaron Judge (Photo Credit: Chris Donovan/The New York Times)

Two Gold Glove Award winners. Jose Trevino and DJ LeMahieu were chosen as Rawlings Gold Glove Award winners last Tuesday.

For Trevi, this is his first Gold Glove. Funny how last November, porous defense at the catching position (namely Gary Sanchez) was a hot topic of discussion. Funny how quickly things change.

LeMahieu is a four-time GG winner, but his first with the Yankees. This year’s award is for the newly created AL Utility position. LeMahieu’s prior awards were for second base with the Colorado Rockies.

While Trevi and LeMahieu should be congratulated, so should Anthony Rizzo and Josh Donaldson for their stellar glove play. No doubt Harrison Bader will be in the conversation for 2023.  I love exemplary defense (except when Aaron Boone tries to use it to defend IKF). 

As always, Go Yankees!