Whether changes are coming or not for the New York Yankees, there can't be much optimism with the process. The "external" audit isn't quite that, and it's coming after the World Series, when the front office will need to make important decisions on personnel. Brian Cashman isn't going anywhere. Aaron Boone is still the manager. The analytics department is still hanging out. Eric Cressey still has a job despite working remotely as the Yankees' injured list casualties pile up.
The one saving grace could be Hal Steinbrenner green-lighting a spending spree and keeping Cashman out of the way. Has that always worked? Not exactly. But Cashman's carefully crafted nothing-for-nothing trades, bad depth signings, and lack of aggression at the perfect-fit free agents has been the culprit for what's happened from 2018-present.
Now, we don't want to get anyone's hopes up because there's nothing to suggest the Yankees will pivot that aggressively, but Steinbrenner is currently involved on the baseball operations side more than he's ever been and now perhaps realizes something's gotta give.
If he's not going to clean house to bring aboard a new shot-caller with a fresh philosophy, then he'll probably have to take matters into his own hands with his checkbook. And the Yankees have some flexibility with money coming off the books and plenty of arbitration-eligible candidates to non-tender.
It's unclear what any hypothetical financal splurge might look like, but NJ.com's Bob Klapisch suggested one might be on the way.
Yankees Rumors: Hal Steinbrenner to overrule Brian Cashman with spending spree?
"Hal has to channel the old man and do … something.- Bob Klapisch, NJ.com
His options include leaning on Cashman to shake up the analytics department. The player development and scouting departments could be overhauled. The strength and conditioning specialists — the ones who’ve failed to keep the Yankees off the Injured List — may be in trouble as well.
Or Steinbrenner might just open the spigot and spend like George. As in, pursue free agents Shohei Ohtani, Cody Bellinger and Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto.
The Yankees obviously can’t afford all three — can’t they even afford Ohtani? — and it’s anyone’s guess if they can even snare one. But a full-throated sales pitch will at least convince fans that Steinbrenner cares enough to drain the ATM."
Yankees fans love the sentiment of a fearless Yankees front office navigating free agency, but Shohei Ohtani isn't coming to New York and Cody Bellinger is not the fit. Yoshinobu Yamamoto, though? Yes, please.
Whether the Yankees blow by the final luxury tax threshold or not, there's a way to make this work. Trade Gleyber Torres. Non-tender Domingo Germán, Kyle Higashioka and Jonathan Loaisiga. Do NOT re-sign Frankie Montas. They probably can't get rid of Giancarlo Stanton, so perhaps it's time to find a destination for DJ LeMahieu, even if it means eating a few bucks. That right there frees up one massive AAV for 2024 and beyond.
Or ... keep all those guys and spend more? The Yankees have made their bed. It's time to lie in it. They can't continue to afford wasting the prime years of Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole. They can't stunt the growth of their few up-and-coming young studs. They can't be on the outside looking in of a relatively weak American League (a 90-game winner is in the World Series!).
The Yankees have many options to fix what's broken, but they haven't acted swiftly, and most of those changes may take years to show results. Throwing money at the problems is probably the quckest fix. Isn't that why they're the Yankees? Or else what's the point of this?