The Yankees’ season isn’t over, but ahead of a series with the Marlins, their playoff odds sit at a paltry nine percent. A crazy comeback could still happen, although it feels like we’re closer to offseason content than anything else. With that in mind, there’s a certain cloud on the horizon, a vibe that this Yankees’ roster and the org as a whole will look very different come Opening Day 2024.
Bob Klapisch’s reporting earlier this week indicates this is still Brian Cashman’s team, and indeed, given that this is the beginning of a four-year extension signed last winter, it seems all but assured the Yankee GM will stay employed no matter how this season ends. It does seem as though the administration is aware of at least some of their own pitfalls, however, and a number of personnel should probably be worried about their long-term tenure. Aaron Boone for one is probably the most likely candidate to not return to the staff, after a midseason change in hitting coaches has yielded no improvement.
Boone’s contract runs through the end of next season, but like a veteran player in the last year of their deal, it becomes easier to cut your losses once you get to that final season. He’s not the biggest problem with this team but as the season’s gone on, he doesn’t seem to be adding any real value. His inability to communicate with players, especially after the Anthony Rizzo and Domingo Germán affairs, undercuts a huge piece of what was supposed to be his value to the organization, and he comes across as more and more redundant to the team as the year goes on.
I also can’t help but think someone from Cashman’s team will be cut loose, in a “throw meat to the wolves” kind of move. A change in the analytics team or player development makes sense, as the club no longer seems like they’re on the cutting edge of baseball and have struggled to convert Top-100 prospects into MLB regulars. Both Michael Fishman and Damon Oppenheimer have been with the org for years, as central to the administration as Cashman himself, but may end up being the blood sacrifice the fanbase is looking for.
On-field changes seem inevitable as well. After a three-year decline at the plate, followed by an injury that seems like it will end his season, Josh Donaldson’s MLB career may be over the same winter that Isiah Kiner-Falefa becomes a free agent. Two of the three pillars of the now-infamous Minnesota Twins trade, one of the most debated deals in recent Yankee history, may be off the roster within seven weeks.
More critically, what on earth do the Yankees do with Luis Severino and Domingo Germán? For better and worse, both pitchers have been stalwarts of fan conversation and professional analysis for five years, and Severino’s four-year, $40 million contract ends this season. It seems unlikely that he’ll attract much more than a one-year pillow deal, and whether that’s from the Yankees or another club, it’ll be the first time in his career that he comes to camp without the optimism and potential that he could recapture some of the dynamic stuff he showed in his early years. If you’re buying Severino’s services, you are truly in a fixer upper situation.
A team’s decision on Sevy is likely eons cleaner than Germán, who is under team control for one more season, but after everything that’s happened off the field, it sure feels like a untenable situation for the Yankees. They didn’t cut him after his domestic violence suspension and circled the wagons after he entered an alcohol treatment program, but he’s just not a talented enough pitcher to be worth the headaches he causes.
The Yankees can simply nontender Germán — and the nontender deadline comes well after he should complete any inpatient treatment. It’s unclear if he’ll play stateside in 2024, and while the Yankees would do well to let him be someone else’s problem, there’s no doubt that him leaving the roster would close a chapter of recent Yankee history that’s spurred plenty of spilled ink.
Most of the season has felt like a TV show with a lost writer’s room. As the Yankees enter the home stretch of the campaign, you can bet on a number of these multi-year storylines being cut from the programming.