The Yankees' 2023-24 offseason only gets more mysterious as we glean more information about it.
The team is in need of myriad changes, but the free agent market is underwhelming, fronted by Cody Bellinger, who was non-tendered last offseason. Therefore, the tradewinds probably have to blow. Brian Cashman will be in charge of managing those once again, but he doesn't have full trust of the fan base because of his wonky advisors.
Therefore, to confirm competence, Hal Steinbrenner invited an outside company to audit his team's operations and reassure investors ... or did he? Word leaked on Tuesday that the audit will be a self-reflection, only lightly nudged by taking a peek at someone else's processes.
Making sense yet, or are you more lost than when you started? Exactly.
So, it would stand to reason, entering this all-important offseason, that the Yankees seem keyed in on adding another variable to the front office mix. Why wouldn't they muddle things as much as possible between old-school voices like Omar Minaya and Brian Sabean, analytics "leaders" like Michael Fishman, and Cashman, who has the final say? Ah. Right. Might as well add former Yankee/current advisor Nick Swisher.
The Athletic's Brendan Kuty noted that Cashman did not travel with the team to their final two series of the season, instead sending Minaya and Swisher along as representatives. And, according to Kuty, this wasn't just a reward for good behavior.
"Swisher has been a fixture in recent years at the Yankees’ player development complex in Tampa, where he has a home, and players love him for his energy, positivity and the time he invests in them. Minaya and Swisher figure to have key voices this offseason as the Yankees look to figure out how to fix what went wrong."- Brendan Kuty, The Athletic
Yankees' Nick Swisher will have prominent voice in rebuild?
Swisher might've been Fishman's greatest coup, a victory he's long lived off. The Yankees traded for Swish prior to the 2009 season, when he was viewed as a potential backup option, primarily at first in Mark Teixeira's wake. Injuries pressed him into action earlier (who's shocked?), and he went on to be both a galvanizing clubhouse force and offensive powerhouse, posting an .820 OPS or higher in all four seasons of his Yankees career.
Swisher was an undervalued asset wasting away on the White Sox when the Yankees came calling, and his presence has persisted around the Yanks post-retirement. According to Bryan Hoch in his Aaron Judge chronicle 62, Swisher used to treat Scranton's players to Waffle House regularly during his final weeks as an active player in affiliated baseball. He's been a part of this franchise's fabric since, but we didn't know he was acting as the front office's Sean Casey until Kuty's nugget dropped.
Hopefully, he won't feel any loyalty towards Fishman, who uncovered him, in this offseason's reckoning.