New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman sounds alarm on team’s disappointing play | FOX Sports

New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman sounds alarm on team’s disappointing play | FOX Sports

New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman sounds alarm on team’s disappointing play

The New York Yankees have scuffled quietly for much of the 2021 season. Now, they’re finally admitting they might have a problem.

That’ll happen when you get swept by your rivals twice in one month.

“We suck right now,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said before Tuesday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels at Yankee Stadium. “As bad as you can be.”

Cashman made it clear that he does not blame manager Aaron Boone. He also made it clear that owner Hal Steinbrenner is not happy with the return on his $142 million payroll investment, a number that ranks second only to the Los Angeles Dodgers ($215 million) in MLB.

“Everybody is frustrated by this,” Cashman said. “Anybody who cares about this franchise, no one cares bigger than the owner because they’re invested in it. It’s a legacy, and he’s not getting what he deserves and what he paid for. So he’s frustrated as well.”

The Yankees snapped a four-game losing streak Tuesday, but their defeat to the Angels on Monday following a sweep at the hands of the Red Sox in Boston over the weekend helped spark Cashman’s comments.

Even more disappointing to Yankees brass is that the team entered the season as the AL East favorite, while the Red Sox were expected to be on the rise but still rebuilding. Instead, the Red Sox enter Wednesday atop the division at 49-31, while the Yankees are in fourth place at 41-38. New York is 0-6 against Boston this season and has been outscored 36-17 in those contests.

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To this point in the season, Boone has preached patience, but he sounded off Monday night on his team’s apparent lack of urgency.

“Talk is cheap,” he said. “We’ve got to do it. It is disappointing. And as frustrated as we are tonight for not grabbing this first one, especially coming off the weekend, we’ve got to go play tomorrow and try and dig ourselves out of this.”

Admitting there is a problem is a step in the right direction. Pinpointing what exactly might need fixing could prove more difficult, as the Yankees have been decidedly mediocre all season. They are 21-19 at home, 19-19 on the road and 23-24 against teams with winning records.

But one thing that does stand out as a problem is New York’s offense, which ranks 25th in MLB in runs scored per game (3.97), trailing even the lowly Baltimore Orioles (3.99). And while the Yankees’ home run total of 102 is tied for eighth in the league, their batting average (.234), slugging percentage (.393) and OPS (.712) all rate below league average.

Aaron Judge (.285/.382/.515) and Giancarlo Stanton (.268/.357/.498) are having fine seasons, but they’re not getting enough help from the rest of the roster.

On the pitching side, Cashman’s offseason gambles on Jameson Taillon (5.18 ERA) and Corey Kluber have not paid off. To be fair, Kluber pitched well through his first 10 starts (3.04 ERA), but he has since suffered a shoulder injury that will keep him out of the rotation until at least August.

And while ace Gerrit Cole has his usual glittery numbers (2.66 ERA, 126 strikeouts in 101.2 innings), there have been noticeable changes to his game since MLB released a memo on June 15 stating that it would begin cracking down on pitchers’ use of sticky substances.

In five starts since then, Cole has had a 7% dip in spin rate, and his strikeout rate has dropped to 25.4%, much lower than the low 30s where he typically resides, according to CBS Sports. He has also allowed nine of his 14 home runs this season in those starts.

Cole has expressed his frustration with the crackdown, saying after his June 16 start: “It’s so hard to grip the ball. For Pete’s sake, it’s part of the reason why almost every player on the field has had something, regardless if they’re a pitcher or not, to help them control the ball.”

While Cole’s search for rhythm and the Yankee offense’s search for contact remain major concerns, the Yankees do have two advantages that they might be able to leverage moving forward. One is the bullpen, which has been solid all season and leads MLB with a WAR of 4.1 (per Fangraphs).

The other thing is resources, which the Yankees have never been shy about using to find help ahead of the trade deadline. Cashman has made it clear that the Yankees will be buyers this summer.

“Clearly we have areas that we want to try to improve upon,” he said over the weekend, “and we’re open to a lot of ideas. 

“We’re ready to win.”

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