Steinbrenner talks organizational review, Boone, offense

Yankees owner adamant about improving run production: 'It was probably our biggest problem'

November 7th, 2023

NEW YORK – Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner made it known during a Zoom call on Tuesday that he wasn’t happy about how 2023 turned out for his team.

The Yankees didn’t make the playoffs for the first time since 2016 and finished fourth in the American League East with an 82-80 record.

“It was awful. We accomplished nothing,” Steinbrenner said. “We didn’t win a division, didn’t make it to the playoffs. We didn’t win a series in the playoffs much less a championship. The fans didn’t get what they deserve, but we are all very passionate about this. We are working our [tails] off. We are going to do everything we can to right the ship for 2024. But, bad year [in ‘23].”

The Yankees front office recently had intense discussions in Tampa, Fla., about how to improve the ballclub. The meetings averaged about eight or nine hours per day, according to Steinbrenner. One thing the Yankees need to fix is their offense, which ranked 25th in runs scored in the Major Leagues. They are currently looking for a hitting coach after Sean Casey decided to go back into broadcasting with MLB Network.

“We did not get where we needed to be with run production. It was probably our biggest problem,” Steinbrenner said.

Last August, manager Aaron Boone mentioned to the front office that the team’s farm system is not teaching the Minor Leaguers the art of bunting properly. In fact, on the Major League side, the Yankees ranked 23rd in the Major Leagues with nine sacrifices. Steinbrenner acknowledged that the tool has been ignored because the game has changed in the last 10 years.

“A few years ago in player development, we kind of cut back on the bunting skills,” Steinbrenner said. “Aaron Boone feels [bunting] is a big part of the game again. He feels it’s important, so we are going to start right up again with the player development level. … That is one example.

“We’ve talked about so many things when it comes to what we are doing and teaching the kids. We are going to have serious discussions. Boone is going to come down here in Tampa at some point in the offseason and meet with our hitting and pitching coordinators and keep this dialogue going.”

The Yankees brought in an outside company called Zelus Analytics to evaluate how New York operates its analytics department. Steinbrenner wants to make sure that the team is making the right decisions on the field. Zelus will work with the Yankees throughout the season.

“We are going to take all that from what we learned and compare it to what we do,” Steinberenner said. “There could be some areas that we feel that we need to do better and change.”

One thing Steinbrenner has decided on is to retain Boone as manager for ‘24. Steinbrenner spoke to a lot of the current players, former Yankees like Andy Pettitte and Nick Swisher, and front office people like Omar Minaya and Brian Sabean, and the conclusion was unanimous.

“Without giving my opinion on the call, they all came to the same conclusion which is, Aaron is a good manager. He should be our manager in 2024. That was the first big decision I needed to make.”