It's all finally come to a head. Fans have been complaining about something being wrong with the New York Yankees clubhouse dating back to 2020, and the issue is now at the forefront of the discussion as the team has officially been eliminated from the playoffs.
Aaron Judge was vague, but he said changes need to be made for 2024 and that he was ready to give his input to the front office. Manager Aaron Boone, who's reportedly coming back next year, offered a similar sentiment about the Yankees requiring a sort of a reset, but he didn't really know what to pinpoint either.
And then came Anthony Rizzo, who's been out since the beginning of August after playing for two months with "cognitive impairment" as a result of a collision with Fernando Tatis Jr. in late May. He's Judge's right-hand man in the Yankees clubhouse and has remained with the team despite being unable to play.
He spoke to the media on Monday ahead of the team's final home game against the Arizona Diamondbacks and stated more of the obvious, but hinted at something unidentifiable being "off" with the clubhouse dynamic.
Anthony Rizzo's assessment of awful Yankees' season speaks to a larger problem
Here's the full quote since Elon Musk decided to cut it off for us:
"You can’t just sit here and say that what we did this year is good enough to go into next year. You’ve got to, first, look yourself in the mirror and say, why wasn’t this clubhouse good enough? It’s not like the personalities didn’t mesh. There was no divide in here.- Anthony Rizzo
But over the course of the season, we just didn’t play well enough. There’s stuff behind that, but I think as you get into the offseason even more, you’ll be able to dissect what didn’t go well."
This Yankees team has been playing poorly for over a full calendar year now. Nothing about what potentially might be wrong in the locker room should be a mystery, which is why that speaks to a larger issue about leadership among the players and coaching staff.
The personalities didn't not mesh? There wasn't a divide? OK, but is that good enough? It just seems like a whole lot of nothing is going on, which might translate to the uninspiring play.
The Yankees players and coaches are the only people who will know what's truly wrong, so these kinds of answers offer no confidence toward a solution. There doesn't seem to be a formula. There seems to be more confusion and befuddlement than anything.
The front office remains a problem, but have the core players established any sort of culture to help foster positivity? Relentlessness? Accountability? Camaraderie? It really doesn't seem like it.