SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – New York Yankees General manager Brian Cashman spent much of his hour-long media presence on Tuesday vehemently pushing back against some of the backlash directed at the organization after an 82-win season, often defending the team’s decision-making process and the various people involved in it.
“I’m proud of our people and I’m proud of our process,” Cashman said on the General Managers’ Meetings website Tuesday afternoon. “That doesn’t mean we’re running at full speed, that doesn’t mean we’re the best in the class, but personally I think we’re pretty darn good. I’m proud of our people and I’m also looking forward to 24 being a better year than 23.”
The Yankees have made the playoffs each of the last six years, but have not made it to the World Series since their outright win in 2009. In 2023, they finished 19 games in first place and needed September 17–10 to avoid their first losing season since 1992, leading to widespread calls that Cashman and sixth-year manager Aaron Boone should be fired.
The Yankees’ offense was exposed during the absence Aaron Richter for most of June and July, ultimately placing 24th in the OPS majors. Outside Gerrit Cole, their starting pitchers combined for an ERA of 4.49. Hoping to break through an American League East that has become significantly more difficult with the Baltimore Orioles Cashman, emerging as a contender, said the Yankees need to “strengthen our pitching” by adding two outfielders – preferably left-handed hitters – and addressing what he called an “infield surplus.”
Day 1 of the GM meetings, held at the Omni Scottsdale Resort, marked Cashman’s first public comment since August, when he called the Yankees’ season a “disaster.”
“We understandably had sand kicked in our faces,” said Cashman, the Yankees’ GM since 1998. “We only won 82 games, we didn’t make the playoffs. I called it a disaster because it was unexpected, and it was a disaster. The squad was a lot better on paper than it turned out to be. But I have to.” I can live with that. I have to own this. I am responsible for this. And I definitely hear it loud and clear in every way, whether it’s the media, whether it’s the fans, all of those things. Hey, if you want to play In this market you have to be tough and fight through, and we’re going to fight through and make sure ’24 is a better result than ’23. But I didn’t expect ’23 to come. I don’t think everyone here saw year 23 coming with the squad we had.”
Cashman added: “At this point last year, right before the end of the winter, it was like, ‘This is a playoff team. This is a team that plays in the World Series. In fact, perhaps the best roster they’ve ever had to offer them a chance to get to the World Series.” And the same people are now talking about roster building and over-analyzing and all these other things, and I enjoy seeing that back and forth where I’m like, “Gosh, these are the same people who really like it.” what we’ve been doing for six months, and now they’re killing us for it.’ I understand. It’s part of being part of this process. That’s what makes sport so great. But we have good baseball people. We have made good decisions over time. Recently some of these things have changed. It wasn’t that good yet. I bear responsibility for that. This is my decision. And hopefully with some of the decisions we’re going to make, we’ll be in a better position to improve the squad and improve our position at the end of ’24.
Cashman at various points defended the Yankees’ due diligence leading up to some of the most notoriously failed trades, particularly the midseason acquisition of an outfielder Joey Gallo in 2021 and starting pitcher Frankie Montas in 2022. Cashman noted that the Los Angeles Dodgers and that Minnesota Twins Gallo acquired after he struggled in New York and none of the medical professionals indicated that Montas would eventually need shoulder surgery. He believes that most criticism of the Yankees is a reaction to the results on the field and is not rooted in the processes that led to them.
“I enjoy making decisions about players who are really good Major League Baseball players or potentially helpful Major League Baseball players and that we’re stupid for getting them and other people obviously aren’t stupid. ” Cashman once said. “The bottom line is that it’s all about winning and losing. And that’s what this is about. We lost way too many games last year when we should have lost. That’s my fault. It’s my fault as a GM responsible for baseball operations.” . If the owner wants to evict me at any time, he can of course do that.”
Cashman also disputed the notion that the Yankees are too analytically oriented, claiming the organization has “the smallest analytics department” in the AL East, but also “the largest pro scouting department in all of baseball.”
“Nobody does deep dives,” Cashman said. “They just throw ammunition and nonsense at us and accuse us of being analytical. Analytics is a key pillar in our wheel. It should be in everyone’s wheel, and it really is a key pillar in any company that succeeds.” There isn’t a team that doesn’t use it; we are no different. But to say that we are driven by analysis is a lie. But that’s what people want to say. I know I can’t change this narrative. All I can continue to do is say, “Shit, that’s not true.” But I guarantee that it’s important to use it, along with our professional scouting opinions and amateur scouting opinions, and yes, sometimes we make our decisions better and sometimes worse. Sometimes they don’t work, but that’s also part of the process.