Over in Boston, it's felt for quite a while like Red Sox manager Alex Cora has taken roster-building shots at the front office every time he's felt undermanned. It's always come across crass, and it probably got Chaim Bloom fired -- well, that combined with his heinous return in the Mookie Betts trade and general satisfaction with finishing .500. But still!
But, whether it "worked" or not, it certainly helped make Cora the victor in the power struggle. Now, with an external firm coming in to audit the Yankees, could Aaron Boone be attempting to employ a similar tactic?
During Boone's appearance with Jomboy and Jake ahead of the Yankees' final stretch against the Toronto Blue Jays, he was asked about what has made the Jays' current roster so intimidating.
On cue, Boone brought up Toronto's elite pitching staff, then complimented the way they were able to reemphasize defense and import left-handed bats this winter to contrast with Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette.
Defense and lefties, huh? Must be nice to have, said the man who's been forced to mess with two infielders learning left and center field on the fly all summer long, all the while playing in front of Yankee Stadium's tiny porch!
Yankees should take roster-building lessons from Blue Jays in 2024
To be fair ... the Blue Jays' offseason dedication to defense over offense has left their offense startlingly bereft, and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Teoscar Hernández would look mighty nice right about now as they scuffle through the Wild Card race and fail to reach their considerable ceiling. Additionally, certain moves like Daulton Varsho have not worked out; there simply must've been more valuable uses of a top trade chip like Gabriel Moreno, especially considering Alejandro Kirk is having a below-average season and has muddied his own future.
To also be fair ... the Blue Jays may have moved their fences in to be like the cool kids, but they still don't play 81 games at Yankee Stadium. Dedicating yourself to lineup balance in Toronto is a good idea. In New York, it's a necessity. The Yankees must be running, not walking, to cut the Jays in line moving forward on a few of these lefty plays/defensive boosts.
Considering I'm well aware this comment section will be littered with people pledging that Varsho's been great, actually, only for them to blast him to their mutuals as soon as all Yankee fans are out of the picture (.660 OPS, third percentile batting run value weighs down great defense [but not best-in-the-league defense like they needed, ok, rant over]), I won't take the Jays offseason critiques any further. They built a beastly pitching staff, never feeling comfortable and always adding more (Kevin Gausman, meet Chris Bassitt). They felt they'd hit their ceiling with a playoff collapse last season, so they pivoted, adding lefties to their core and working the run prevention game. It hasn't led to a runaway AL East title, but they're certainly in a better position than the Yankees as 2023 reaches its end.
Hopefully, it leads to Cashman waking up (at Boone's prodding) and realizing that lefty sluggers plus "not playing random infielders in the outfield" could be a recipe for reentering the playoff race.