Hal Steinbrenner heard the boos.
Yankees fans rained them loud and angrily at the Yankees managing general partner at the ceremonies honoring Paul O’Neill and Derek Jeter. They let Steinbrenner have it like he was Jose Altuve or David Ortiz.
Fans are left wondering though, does Hal care about your feelings? Retaining Aaron Boone shows he doesn’t. He wants a manager that will toe the company line. One that will take the marching orders from Brian Cashman’s analytics department and take out Gerrit Cole from a pivotal playoff game.
We at NYY Takes have touched on this to an extent. And you can bet we will do it again during this pivotal offseason. Because it’s potentially franchise defining.
It starts with retaining presumptive American League MVP Aaron Judge. The numbers will be staggering. Offering Judge eight years in the $325-$350 million range seems reasonable. And I can’t even believe I typed that sentence. But it has to be done. Judge is the North Star by which the clubhouse is guided. You saw it first hand as he strapped a dovetailing franchise to his pinstriped no. 99 jersey and carried the team to the division title. Every single other hitter in the lineup hit like swung the bat like they were trying to connect with a pesky fly. If the Yankees don’t retain Judge, you can welcome back the 1980s Yankees results. It wasn’t pretty then. It won’t be pretty next season.
What to do about the infield? IKF wilted and the Yankees were strangely late to realize he’s not the guy to man shortstop. He double clutches and can’t range like the best of the best. Yanks fans knew it all season, yet Hal and Cash were late to summon uber prospect Oswald Peraza from Scranton. Then, even more shocking, nailed him to the bench following his call up. Even more bizarre, they started him in the ALCS.
Anthony Volpe is coming too. Do the Yankees have the stomach to start Peraza at short and Volpe at second. That scenario would mean trading Gleyber Torres. Something I think would benefit the team. Gleyber’s focus and results ebb and flow in maddening fashion. Yes he rocked the baby on Josh Naylor, which was awesome. But a pivotal error on a flip to IKF for a double play helped seal the ALCS sweep.
But it all comes back to Hal. Will he exhibit a drive to win a championship we haven’t seen yet? Or will there be the same status-quo focus on the budget that results in some boring moves, riled up Yankees fans and a miserable offseason. We will know the plan exactly when Judge puts his name on a massive contract. If it’s the Yankees, then get your popcorn ready. If it’s elsewhere, then boo that man all the way back to Tampa. Boo him at the grocery store, the gas station. Boo him by not spending your hard-earned dollars on overpriced chicken buckets, draft beers and tickets.
Until the Judge deal is done, enjoy the World Series. Root your heart out for Philly Rob, Kevin Long and the Philadelphia Phillies.