Most of what Hank Steinbrenner says is, well, simply hot air. He likes attention and likes to give quotes but almost every single thing he has said publicly this year 1) showed a complete lack of understanding of the Yankees and baseball itself and 2) had no impact on the Yankees’ decision making.
Now, he says the following (via Pete Abe):
“I’m going to be reviewing the entire organization,” Hank Steinbrenner
told the AP in Tampa today. “We’re going to do everything we can to win
next year. We’re not going to wait. Do everything we can that makes
sense. We’re going to fix what we have to fix. We’re going to have to
look at what has been done wrong over the last five years, which I’ve
had one year to try and figure out. Clearly, a lot of mistakes were
The beginning of this quote is all fine in theory and is just a way of saying “we’re going to try and do better.” To which the response is “well, of course.” Have they been trying to not win before?
The last two sentences are troubling for a couple reasons. Hank is underestimating his own learning curve. He thinks he is at a disadvantage because he’s only been around 1 year and he’s absolutely right. But does he really think he’s going to make up that ground and suddenly make better decisions than people who really understand baseball and the Yankees? I don’t think so.
His inexperience is evident right away. Why is he just evaluating the mistakes made in the past 5 years? That, in a way, unfairly focuses on Cashman, since he’s had full control over the past 3 mistake riddled years. The mistakes that the Yankees are paying for right now happened primarily before Cashman gained control. If you look at the Yankees drafts from 1998-2004, they are just pitiful. The players that the Yankees did develop (Wang, Cano, etc) were primarily by accident. The Yankees would have traded away those players in a heartbeat. Luckily, other teams undervalued them.
Perhaps I am simply a Cashman apologist, but the entire point of the Yankees decision in 2005 to shift the focus of the team to player development was to have patience and create a successful team that will compete year after year without having to rely solely on the free agent market. It was understood that there would be some down points as the Yankees tried to bridge the gap.
With that in mind, how many poor decisions has Cashman made? He didn’t really have much choice in acquiring the likes of Kevin Brown and Randy Johnson. Signing Pavano was certainly defensible (everyone wanted him). Jaret Wright? Yeah, that was a mistake, but it only cost money.
I still think Hank is upset he didn’t get his way with Santana and he is too dense to realize that despite everything that has happened: IPK and Hughes having terrible seasons, Santana pitching well with the Mets, the Yankees missing the playoffs, etc, the Yankees still made a smart choice. They can instead invest that money in the likes of C.C. Sabathia, a pitcher who is showing no signs of declining, while holding onto IPK and Hughes, who, at 23 and 22 respectively, are still quite likely to end up being productive big leaguers. Remember – Wang didn’t get a start in the majors until he was 25.
Santana wouldn’t have won the World Series for the Yanks in 2008 and, as everyone knows by now, that’s all that matters. The Yanks had trouble scoring runs and had some terrible luck. They’ll still be above .500. This shouldn’t be the tipping point. The Yankees need to just hold the course and let Cashman continue to run things. Hank “reviewing” the organization can only lead to bad things; he simply is not qualified to judge any piece of it.
As they say, Rome was not built in a day, and the next Yankee Dynasty will not be built in a winter, especially one in which they abandon their long range plan.