Don't call Yankees Captain Aaron Judge another Justin Fields. He doesn't feel overwhelmed by numbers, mentally handicapped by a cyclone of information. He simply doesn't feel that the Yankees have chosen the correct points of emphasis.
Exhibit A of why he's right? The entire 2023 season, when an undermanned Yankees team still plummeted to historic lows beyond their means. The roster, even featuring fill-ins, was far too expensive to fail this spectacularly.
After this season -- which has now mercifully ended -- Hal Steinbrenner has promised an impartial audit of the team's operations. Processes will be addressed. Player evaluation will be fine-tooth combed. And maybe, just maybe, some personnel will be altered (but probably not Aaron Boone, who Judge advocated for strongly again this weekend).
As the campaign officially ended with a 5-2 whimper against Zack Greinke and the Royals, a nice parting gift of a second win on the season for the probably retiring right-hander, Judge took to the microphone and announced he hoped to meet with Brian Cashman soon after doing most of his conversing with Hal Steinbrenner this season.
As if assistant GM Michael Fishman and the current analytics team weren't already on the hook for their recent run of poor decisions, Judge made sure to knife them, too, harshly declaring that he thinks the Yankees "might be looking at the wrong [numbers]."
Yankees star Aaron Judge leads charge to gut analytics department, change approach
Judge doesn't usually get that blunt, unless he's advocating for Boone to stay. There was no mystery in these words. He believes the same group that traded for Joey Gallo and decided an injured Frankie Montas was worth the calculated risk is feeding the Yankees' players a crock of garbage daily.
The Yankees' captain was spotted in the dugout prior to this interview staring out at the field, soaking in all the quiet pointlessness of the contest. It was like a reversal of the way some losing NBA finalists and Stefon Diggs watch the confetti fall for their opponents. The Royals weren't being crowned champions on Sunday. They were simply playing out the string against an equally irrelevant Yankees team. The complete lack of necessity of that game dawned on Judge, representing another rung New York had fallen down due to poor depth and declining instincts.
Judge made it clear on Sunday -- at least, we hope he did -- that he doesn't view analytics as some kind of looming monster. They're a necessity, and those who wield them are trying to educate you.
But the Yankees' educators appear to be focused on the wrong syllabus, and have been for the better part of an era. You want to flex your financial muscles? Go get the best teachers and keenest nerds. As Judge said, it's beyond time to right a wrong.