New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman knows that things have to change around the Bronx in order to win World Series title No. 28 — and he admitted so shortly after the club avoided making a major change by signing manager Aaron Boone to a three-year deal on Tuesday.
“I think a manager is only as good as the players he’s got,” Cashman said. “I think Aaron is pretty damn good at his position… We need to demand excellence from them and find ways to extract that out of them.”
Consider the finger pointed.
The Yankees plummeted from American League favorites to losing in the Wild Card Game this season as Cashman searched for the team’s continuous steps in the wrong direction while believing Boone isn’t the issue.
“This was a year that I would say might be my toughest,” Cashman said. “Every year you come through and you have successes and failures… this particular year I feel like it was my toughest year trying to understand.
“I speak for us all in the operation… we’ll try to figure out what ails us. It was a Jekyll & Hyde [season]. Sometimes, it looked unstoppable and many times, unwatchable because of the streakiness and the lack of consistency. Trying to unpack that, trying to solve that on the run… that all falls on my responsibility to figure that out and find out what went wrong.”
Cashman pointed at the inconsistencies of an offense that finished 10th in the American League in runs scored per game and a bullpen that wasn’t nearly as reliable as it had been in years past.
But the veteran executive admitted that not many jobs in the Yankees’ dugout are necessarily set in stone.
“We will be open-minded to everything and anything on this roster, as we should be,” he said. “I don’t know what our budget is going to be from ownership… there are certain things that were head-scratching and frustrating… I’m going to be looking to upgrade… after this 2021 season, there’s some areas of weakness that have popped up in a lot of categories that didn’t exist prior to this year.”
Most notably, Cashman brought up uncertainties at both shortstop before opening up speculation that Gary Sanchez’s time as the Yankees’ catcher might be up.
“Shortstop is an area of need,” Cashman admitted. “[Putting Gleyber Torres at shortstop] didn’t play out as we hoped… given that circumstance, as I enter 2022, I have to upgrade that position from a defensive standpoint.”
For now, Torres — who struggled mightily both at shortstop and at the plate — will be “best-served” playing second base; though nine home runs and 51 RBI in 127 games is a glaring issue that won’t help his chances at sticking around.
When asked about whether or not Sanchez will be the team’s starting catcher next year, Cashman simply said that “we’ll see. We’re going to evaluate all available options.”