Cashman on Yanks: 'We're better than this'
Brian Cashman did not sugarcoat his disappointment and frustration with the fourth-place Yankees’ performance through 65 games. Still, the general manager said on Tuesday that he continues to believe manager Aaron Boone and his coaching staff are the right people to pull the club out of its malaise.
Widely touted as one of the American League’s favorites, the Yankees entered this week’s series against the Blue Jays in Buffalo, N.Y., just one game over .500, having imbibed a cocktail of inconsistency and underperformance, especially in what was forecast to be a thunderous offense.
“Losing invites the scrutiny on us all,” Cashman said. “I’d best answer that as we’re in this together. We made this bed, and we’re going to sleep in it, and we’re going to make sure that we find a way to fix this together.”
Cashman noted that in his time since being named the Yankees’ general manager in February 1998, he has never executed an in-season managerial or coaching change -- a streak that he does not intend to change now.
“It is frustrating to watch. I get it,” Cashman said. “And it’s frustrating to watch because we’re better than this. It’s not because Aaron Boone doesn’t know what he’s doing. It’s not because any of the coaching staff aren’t doing the job to the best of their abilities. We are dealing with it; I promise you that.”
With his club having lost 11 of 15 coming into this AL East showdown with the Jays, Boone acknowledged that he felt pressure to reverse the slide.
“It’s been a hard year,” Boone said. “We got off to a very difficult start the first couple of weeks of the season, then righted the ship for a week. These last couple of weeks have been tough. I wear that. I feel that. I’m invested in this job.”
Cashman said that he intends to augment the roster before the July 30 Trade Deadline, saying that he has been “knocking on the doors” of the other 29 clubs to find trade matches. Center field and the starting rotation appear to be two areas in need of improvement.
“Listen, we’re in a spot that we didn’t expect to be in,” Cashman said. “I’m open to all ideas to improve the situation yesterday. I feel like we’ve got a long stretch still ahead of us in the season, and that’s encouraging. But it’s discouraging that we’ve created a pole position that’s more difficult to run the race.”
Last season, Cashman addressed the foundering Yankees during a trip to Sahlen Field, speaking frankly in the temporary vinyl clubhouse structure erected beyond the outfield wall. The veteran GM said he had no plans for a repeat performance during this week’s trip.
“I promise you, and I promise our fan base, we are doing everything in our power to right the ship,” Cashman said.
Luis Severino has been diagnosed with a Grade 2 strain of his right groin, a setback that is expected to delay the right-hander’s big league return until late July or early August. Severino sustained the injury during a rehab start this past weekend for High-A Hudson Valley at Brooklyn.
Boone said that the Yankees do not believe a flaw in Severino’s mechanics to be responsible for the injury, which was sustained while delivering a pitch.
“One of the good things about Sevy’s rehab process over the last year and a half is that he really is in tremendous shape,” Boone said. “His body is as strong and efficient as he’s probably ever been. At this point, it seems like it was a little bit of a freak thing that can happen in the heat of competition.”
The new rules
Boone said that the Yankees have discussed Major League Baseball’s increased enforcement of Official Baseball Rules 3.01 and 6.02(c) and (d), which prohibit applying foreign substances to baseballs. The enforcement will be effective with games beginning on Monday.
“I think everyone certainly understands,” Boone said. “It’s pretty clear, what’s in the memo and what the expectations are going to be, and what the crackdown is going to be. In a lot of ways, we’ve been preparing ourselves for something like this. Now we have a road map and know that enforcement’s coming.”
The Yankees have announced that Friday’s game against the Athletics will be the first Yankee Stadium event with normal seating capacity since 2019. Proof of a negative COVID-19 test or full COVID-19 vaccination is no longer required to attend games at Yankee Stadium.
“I hope we can fill the stadium with a team that’s worth watching,” Cashman said.