Hal Steinbrenner Keeps it Vague, Brian Cashman Brings Shock Value During Disappointing Yankees Press Conference

New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner and GM Brian Cashman answered questions from the press on Tuesday concerning the teams recent worst season in 30-years. Concerns about the competence of the front office have been running rampant over the last few months and both fans and the media rightfully have questions surrounding the direction of the organization.

It was truly a tale of two attitudes as Steinbrenner and Cashman seemed to approach their respective meetings differently. Steinbrenner answered questions with a true sense of professional disapproval while Cashman launched into an expletive ridden rant that seems to have surprised everyone.

Hal Steinbrenner’s Take:

“It was awful. We accomplished nothing. We didn’t win a division, didn’t make it to the playoffs, didn’t win a series in the playoffs, much less a championship,” Steinbrenner said during an online news conference. “The fans didn’t get anywhere close to what they deserved.”

Steinbrenner said he had 40 pages of notes following the end-of-season meetings, which he said at times were heated but respectful. At the recommendation of assistant GM Michael Fishman, New York hired Zelus Analytics for a yearlong review of its practices. The firm is headed by Doug Fearing, who has a Ph.D. from MIT and founded the Los Angeles Dodgers’ research and development department.

“We’re going to look at their systems and their processes that they use to analyze data and make decisions,” Steinbrenner said. “We’re then going to take all that, what we’ve learned and compare it to what we do.”

Steinbrenner explained that he addressed staff personally last month at meetings in Tampa, Florida.

“I told them this season is completely unacceptable, that we got a winning record — that’s not an accomplishment, that’s a requirement, as far as I’m concerned,” Steinbrenner said.

Steinbrenner was also questioned about the leadership of Yankees manager, Aaron Boone, and commented “I think he’s a good manager. He’s extremely intelligent. He’s hardworking. The players respect him as a manager, they want to play for him and win for him… He’s able to take all the information we throw his way.”

“One of the misconceptions that’s out there, because I hear it from a lot of people, is that Boone makes every decision in the dugout during the game based on analytics,” Steinbrenner said. “That’s just not true. Analytics gives Boone and the coaches a lot of information, so do the pro scouts. It’s up to Boone during the game when he puts the the lineup together and then everything after, what he wants to do with all that information. Honestly, if you ask the analysts, they’ll probably say that too many times Boone makes a decision during the game that’s based on his experience, what he’s seeing, his intuition.”

Photo by AP Photo/Noah K. Murray

The Yankees owner also explained that before deciding to retain Boone, who is entering the last year of his contract, Steinbrenner consulted with former players Andy Pettitte and Nick Swisher along with Yankees clubhouse captain Aaron Judge along with a pair of former general managers who were hired as advisers last offseason, Brian Sabean and Omar Minaya.

Brian Cashman’s Take:

Yankees longtime GM Brian Cashman fielded questions for over an hour on Tuesday and appeared to be visibly irritated.

Cashman repeatedly referred to separating fact from “bulls–t,” indicating that critics were largely piling on during a down year for the team. He also indicated that “injuries” were a key determining factor over the organizations recent lack of success.

“I’m telling you that injuries and underperformance are part of it, without a doubt,” Cashman said. “Are there areas for us to get better at and improve at? Yes. Are there people that jumped off the bandwagon because we started to s–t down our leg and losing games and it caused them to make mountains out of mole hills?”

Cashman defended the Yankees organization by saying, “I’m proud of our people and proud of our process. It doesn’t mean we’re firing on all cylinders. It doesn’t mean we’re the best in class. But I think we’re pretty f-cking good, personally.”

Cashman also pushed back on criticisms that the team has leaned too heavily on analytics. He cited the Yankees having the smallest analytics staff in the American League East and the largest pro scouting department in the majors.

“Is that a shocker to everybody?” Cashman said. “Shouldn’t be, but no one’s doing their deep dives. They’re just throwing ammunition and bulls–t and accusing us of being run analytically. Analytics is an important spoke in our wheel but it should be in everybody’s wheel and it really is. It’s an important spoke in every operation that’s having success. There’s not one team that’s not using it. We’re no different… But to say we are guided by analytics as a driver, it’s a lie.”

Cashman continued to defend the organizations player development group.

“The same people that were responsible for us having a lot of success are somehow being focused as the blame game for the reason the 2023 season went south,” Cashman said. “I think you can start unpacking all of a sudden there’s a lot of discussion about player development and how we develop our players and analytics, and then it’s like, you got to come back to why did we lose and why do we have such trouble with many of the same players coming back that won 99 games last year with bringing certain guys into that roster mix.”

Reaction:

Fans have been feeling uneasy since the pair of press conferences. There seemed to be a lack of any “real” direction within the organization and a lack of accountability, at least from Brian Cashman’s side.

Even YES Network employee and longtime broadcaster, Michael Kay, provided some scathing criticisms after witnessing Cashman’s comments.

“I do not think that an executive of a team, especially a vice president, longtime GM, respected guy in the business, should have comported himself in that way… as an executive, you are representing one of the biggest brands all over the world, and you’re dropping f-bombs and ‘BS’ and stuff like that? It’s not a good look for Brian. Forget about what he said — the angry contentious way that he went at it, I think is very, very questionable.”

It was surprising to hear Kay provide such staunch criticisms of Cashman as he has been accused by fans for taking it easy on the Yankees GM over the years.

“A Yankee executive does not talk like that publicly, does not use expletives like that, does not have that kind of mouth when the camera’s rolling. It’s not a good look for the New York Yankees. Believe me, I’ve been around this forever. The Yankee brand is very important to the people around the Yankees. You cannot tell me that what Brian did yesterday is good for the Yankee brand.”

Jacob P.M.

Covering the New York Yankees - Find me on X/Twitter: @JacobBSpeaks

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