Hal Steinbrenner rejects notion Yankees have stayed stagnant
The Yankees have not won a World Series title since 2009 and recently had their season ended by the Astros in the ALCS for the third time in the last six years.
But Hal Steinbrenner, who is bringing back Aaron Boone as manager for a sixth year and is expected to do the same with general manager Brian Cashman for a 26th year, takes issue with the notion that his franchise is stuck in its ways.
“We get accused of being a stagnant organization sometimes. We’re not,” Steinbrenner said in an interview with YES Network that aired Monday night. “We’re constantly evolving and Cash is great at that.
“It’s just not accurate,” Steinbrenner later added. “If it was, then we would make changes here.”
Steinbrenner declined to get into his negotiations with Cashman, who is working without a contract after his last one expired on Oct. 31, but said “we do not have an agreement at this point.” The interview took place shortly after the conclusion of the World Series, according to YES.
After his team was swept by the Astros in the ALCS, the Yankees’ managing general partner said it was “unacceptable what happened,” but largely chalked it up to injuries. The Yankees were missing contact-oriented batters DJ LeMahieu and Andrew Benintendi, and relievers Chad Green, Michael King, Scott Effross and Ron Marinaccio to injuries during their playoff run.
“I’m not going to make excuses, [but] they did go into the playoffs a bit healthier than us,” Steinbrenner said of the Astros. “But like I said, they’re a great team. I don’t believe they’re doing anything that we’re not doing.
“I think we all have to realize that the team we fielded Opening Day that Cash put together was one of the most dominant teams in all of baseball for months — not weeks, months. Then we got hit by a lot of significant injuries. … Had we rolled into the postseason relatively healthy, particularly with a couple players like Benintendi and LeMahieu, a couple good contact hitters, I think we would have done better in the playoffs. I think we would have scored more runs.”
Among the other areas Steinbrenner addressed in his sit-down with YES:
After giving Boone a vote of confidence a few days after the Yankees were knocked out — and a year after he re-signed him to a three-year deal — Steinbrenner was asked why he thinks he has the right manager.
“Because the players respect him and they want to play for him and they want to win for him,” he said. “If I didn’t think that was the case, as in years past, I would have made a change. But Aaron Boone wasn’t responsible for our offense, the slide they experienced the last couple months of the season rolling into the postseason. That was not his responsibility. And we had a lot of injuries.”
Steinbrenner said “some of the critique” about Boone’s in-game decisions this postseason “is justified,” but that overall, he “makes a lot of good decisions.”
As Aaron Judge’s free agency looms over the Yankees’ entire offseason, Steinbrenner said he has had multiple conversations with the right fielder since the season ended and “made it clear to him we’re gonna do everything we can to make [him re-signing] happen.”
“If it doesn’t happen, we will move on the best we can,” Steinbrenner said. “But there’s no doubt he means a lot to the organization and a lot to the fan base, rightfully so.”
Steinbrenner said the Yankees would “consider” naming Judge captain if he re-signs.
Steinbrenner made multiple references to the Yankees’ young trio of Anthony Volpe, Oswald Peraza and Oswaldo Cabrera. Peraza and Cabrera made their MLB debuts this season while Volpe finished the year in Triple-A, but all three could be involved in the competition for shortstop this spring.
“We’ll see how they do in spring training and how everything shakes out,” Steinbrenner said. “But like I said in March, it’s certainly my intent to see those two guys [Volpe and Peraza] in the middle of the infield and now we have Cabrera as well who came up this year when we needed him and did a great job overall.”
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