Speaking at length on Tuesday after announcing the extension of manager Aaron Boone, Yankees GM Brian Cashman talked with reporters about what went wrong during the 2021 season and what the offseason plan is.
Cashman, who said the Yankees were “unwatchable” at times this past season, noted that as the season played out, the team’s strengths “were no longer” their strengths.
Some of that, Cashman said, was injury-related (including DJ LeMahieu playing through a core injury), while other shortcomings were simply performance issues.
“This was a tough team for some reason to figure out,” Cashman said. “This was a year I would say might be my toughest. Every year you come through and have successes and failures, you kind of do your debits and credits at the end of the year.
“But this particular year I feel like — and maybe it’s not the case, but I believe it is — it was my toughest year trying to understand.”
As far as what the Yankees are going to do this offseason to fix things?
“We will be open-minded to everything and anything on this roster, as we should be,” Cashman said.
“There’s certain things that really were head-scratching and frustrating. Again, as I said, all of that falls on my responsibility. I’m gonna be looking to upgrade. As you always do, you want to make sure your strengths remain your strengths and attack your areas of weakness.
“After this 2021 season, there are some areas of weakness that have popped up in a lot of categories that did not exist prior to this year. We gotta determine whether those are systemic, or whether they’re aberrations. And also — here’s the biggest key — go to the market. Whether it’s the free agent marketplace with the available dollars we have before us , measured with the current commitments, or go the trade market and see how we can solve that with what’s available in the marketplace.”
One of the areas the Yanks will be looking for an upgrade? Shortstop.
“Bottom line is shortstop is an area of need and it’s gonna be,” Cashman said. “We have to address it. I think, obviously, the way things played out this past year. … I would say given that circumstance (with Gleyber Torres being moved to second base), without question, as I enter 2022, I need to obviously upgrade that position from a defensive standpoint.”
Cashman added that the Yanks explored the possibility of upgrading shortstop at the trade deadline and “failed in that endeavor.”
In addition to shortstop and catcher, the Yanks have decisions to make when it comes to a potential extension of Aaron Judge and how to fix the starting rotation.
And with the Boone extension now out of the way, Cashman and the front office will soon be on the clock.