Hal Steinbrenner might not be as intolerant of losing as his raging father was, but the man doesn't like to be embarrassed. He's not a glutton for it. He's too trusting of Brian Cashman, a borderline "family member" 'til the end, to blame the Yankees' current and future issues on his GM, but he certainly doesn't love the idea of an empty stadium populated by empty suits.
Baffling quote about not understanding why the fans were upset in June aside, Steinbrenner can usually be counted on to close deals that are essential to his franchise (Aaron Judge, Italy on Line 1), as well as steer the ship away from long-term certain death.
That's why, with a perilously empty September ahead of his boring-as-hell team, and with images of disappearing gate receipts skittering below his eyelids as he slept, he gave the go-ahead on the decision to promote Jasson Dominguez and Austin Wells slightly ahead of schedule. Both were expected to get long looks in spring training, but with the Yankees entirely out of the race (and harboring a toxic clubhouse), it seemed like a slightly off-kilter and desperate measure.
...which is why it seemed out of character for Brian Cashman to approve it. According to Michael Kay, Cashman might've lost his grip on the situation a bit. On Kay's radio show Tuesday, he claimed Steinbrenner overruled the more cautious analytics team and pulled the lever, which would seem to indicate an internal overhaul is coming this offseason.
Yankees voice Michael Kay claims Hal Steinbrenner called up Jasson Dominguez, Austin Wells
It's not "anti-analytics" to play rookies. "Analytics" is still too large a blanket statement in some baseball communities, often referring to "anything that scares you/is different from the way you remember it."
But odds are Cashman and the analytics gurus probably didn't see much objective value in starting the rookies' clocks, even after the service time manipulation cutoff. If you look at everything in black and white, it would make little-to-no sense to elevate Dominguez again, just nine days after deeming him ready for Triple-A.
But the justification for this move can't be found in a column full of numerals. Whoever made this decision believed Dominguez had an extra gear within him, along with the ability to shine (and elevate his game) under the spotlight. Whoever made this call believed Wells could command a game at the big-league level, framing metrics be damned. And, based on the way Dominguez has captured all the attention on this team like a one-man vortex and the way Wells has been praised by every pitcher he's caught for making adjustments on the fly (Michael King spoke volumes), it seems that person may have been right.
That's why you're now hearing it was Steinbrenner and the veteran baseball men behind it.