The Yankees of Aaron Boone and Brian Cashman have demonstrated what they are capable of. Specifically ninety-something regular season wins, then a deflating October that frequently ends with an ass-kicking from the Astros and never concludes with a parade. They might be able to live with that most places. Even we managed to deal with it for a spell. But no longer.
Say owner Hal Steinbrenner assesses the wreckage of this ugly ALCS sweep by Houston honestly and soberly. And say he actually cares about winning the World Series. Yes, two big leaps. But play along. If he checks those boxes, his conclusion should be pretty straightforward. The manager and general manager need to go.
Boone and Cashman should not be fired because an angry fanbase needs blood in the wake of this ugly ALCS sweep by Houston. They should not be fired because we yearn for Steinbrenner to finally respond to failure the way we know his father would have. They should be fired because the Yankees are going nowhere with them at the helm. There is no longer any true hope for something more. And that is the worst place a team can find itself in.
The Yankees are no closer today than they were the day Joe Girardi got sent packing five years ago. They’re actually farther away. The roster is not getting any younger. There are not enough quality prospects in the farm system (and they’re often disinterested in playing the ones they have). There are still too many bad contracts. And the best thing the Yankees have going for them — Aaron Judge, even after a ghastly postseason — may soon walk out the door.
There is a strong argument to be made Steinbrenner’s payroll limitations shoulder a substantial amount of the blame and have tied Cashman’s hands. But it is what it is. The owner cannot be fired. It’s up to the manager and GM to win a pennant within the parameters presented to them. Boone and Cashman have not done so. And they have shown nothing to suggest they can. This thing has clearly run its course. Blind faith only goes so far.
Steinbrenner — who is very close to squandering all benefit of the doubt with his paying customers if he has not already done so — needs to conduct a wide-open GM search. Talk to everyone humanly possible. Find someone with a vision to fix this. And then let him or her lead the way selecting the manager.
It will be a terrifying time for the Yankees. Boone and Cashman will have new jobs within 15 minutes if they want them. And there is no obvious replacement for either man. The new regime could look underwhelming compared to the old one initially. Which is fine. No one like the Joe Torre hire, and that worked out OK. This may be a similar situation, too. That group became a dynasty with a new voice in the room. No one expects that here. But the Yankees need to evolve, whether it be their offensive approach, bullpen management or any other number of issues. You have to wonder about the culture, too. Rallying around the 2004 Red Sox?
The war with the Astros is over. Houston won. The Yankees can never whine about asterisks or buzzers or trash cans ever again. Eleven games in 2022. Nine Houston wins. And the two games they lost, the Yankees did not lead until the last at-bat. That is as close to complete domination you will ever see in baseball. Call them your daddies and move on. But the chance to own the next era of the American League should be the focus now. Boone and Cashman have made it clear they are not up to that task. If ownership is capable of admitting this — and actually cares about winning championships — it will act accordingly.
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]