Ever since Hal Steinbrenner assumed control of the Yankees, the team has moved farther and farther away from what we know as “the Yankee way”. With George at the helm, the Yankees were the fully operational Death Star that Brian Cashman has mentioned in the past. Now, this is not to say that they are no longer one of the best franchises in baseball, because they most certainly are. It’s just that Hal and his executives are more willing to change and adapt on a year-to-year basis in order to achieve the ultimate goal.
Consider the last few seasons. Ever since 2017, when the Yankees established themselves as a legitimate World Series contender, Steinbrenner has been adamant about the fact that a team doesn’t have to spend over $200 million to win it all. This dictated the way the Yankees and Cashman operated, as they dropped under the luxury tax threshold in 2018. Two years later, the Yankees are now spending $85 million on three players and will blow over the threshold in 2020.
If a few things rolled their way over these last few years, maybe the Yankees would have been World Series champions. It didn’t happen though, so they moved on. As much as Steinbrenner may have liked to maintain a lower payroll, they could not miss out on adding Gerrit Cole, no matter how much money he would cost.
A second thing, the Yankees stuck with Larry Rothschild as their pitching coach for the past nine years, from 2011-2019. Just this offseason, they decided to part ways with him and bring in a younger, more analytically-driven pitching coach in Matt Blake.
Blake had previously worked as the Indians Assistant Director of Pitching Development, grooming what had become one of the better pitching staffs in all of baseball. Now, with the addition of Cole, the Yankees decided to get a fresh start with Blake. Coincidentally, Blake worked as a pitching coordinator for Eric Cressey, who now oversees the Yankees’ strength and conditioning department.
The Yankees have hired highly respected performance coach Eric Cressey to oversee their strength and conditioning and training departments. Cressey works with Max Scherzer, Corey Kluber, others. https://t.co/rcDeyYbfuO— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) January 4, 2020
Now Cressey and Blake can collaborate again, this team specifically for the Yankees.
The hiring of Cressey, though, was not just meant specifically to reunite him and Blake, but more so because the Yankees had the worst health of nearly any team in baseball history in 2019. Cressey has worked with Max Scherzer, Corey Kluber, and several others in the past and is a highly respected trainer among the MLB community.
For the most part, Hal isn’t influenced by his father enough to run the Yankees in the same fashion. He is making necessary year-to-year adjustments based on what he sees in baseball and in his own organization. Based on their current run of success, it just feels like a matter of time until the Yankees are on top of the world again.