Brian Cashman ‘embarrassed’ by Yankees’ ‘disaster’ season as evaluations loom

With the Yankees desperately trying to avoid another loss on Wednesday, Brian Cashman held his fourth impromptu press conference of the 2023 season.

The team the general manager assembled has been nothing short of catastrophic. Entering Wednesday’s game against the Nationals, the last-place Yankees were five games under .500 at 60-65, 10 games out of the final wild card spot, and in the midst of a nine-game losing streak, the franchise’s longest since 1982.

“We are what our record says we are,” Cashman admitted. “We’re certainly not proud of it. It’s been a disaster of a season. We’re embarrassed by it.”

A “storm” of injuries, as Cashman put it, has hindered the Yankees all year, but the club also left spring training with clear holes at third base and in left field, among other concerns. Cashman did not upgrade the offense after it was exposed in last year’s postseason, and he planned on being heavily reliant on injury-prone and/or aging players.

The result has been one of the worst Yankees teams in recent memory despite a mammoth payroll.

“We’re not mathematically eliminated, but we’re certainly in a bad spot, clearly,” Cashman said with 37 games left in the season, including Wednesday’s. “It’s pretty minute.”

Still, Cashman said that the goal is to compete the rest of the way. The Yankees will try to do so while also evaluating for 2024.

The organization promoted youngsters Everson Pereira and Oswald Peraza on Tuesday and plan to play them regularly. But Cashman said that that doesn’t mean the Yankees are declaring the 2023 season over just yet.

“You can develop and win at the same time,” said Cashman, who believes the Yankees are still fighting. “We’re trying to do both.”

Trying hasn’t gotten the Yankees very far, though, and the numbers strongly suggest that their campaign will end with the regular season. At that point, Hal Steinbrenner is going to have to make some monumental decisions when it comes to Cashman, Aaron Boone and how his team operates.

“He definitely wants answers,” Cashman said of the owner. “He wants us to look at all aspects of the operation, and he also wants us to win our game tonight.”

Cashman said that the organization will evaluate different “buckets,” including injuries, unexpected poor performances, player assessments, analytics and performance science.

“We’re going to evaluate it all, clearly,” Cashman said. “Unfortunately, we’re gonna have some time to do that. But I’d say everybody’s had a little bit of a hand in it from top to bottom.

“It has to be objective. You got to remove emotions. A lot of raw emotions involved in stuff right now. People are upset outside the organization, but [also] inside the organization, from ownership on down. A lot of opinions are going to be flying on what is the culprit or what are the real issues. Some issues could be a mirage; not accurate, but it’s getting spewed a lot. We have to make sure that we remove the emotion and go through everything.

“We’ve invited a lot of scrutiny, a lot of questions. Some of them will be legitimate. Some will be bullshit, but we gotta be professional and deal with all of it and try to sift through what’s real and what’s fake.”

Cashman spoke like a man who plans on directing the impending autopsy. The Yankees’ general manager since 1998, he is under contract through 2026. He has yet to oversee a sub.-500 season, but that could change this year.

Asked why he and the rest of the Yankees’ current regime have earned the right to fix things, Cashman replied, “We’ve got a pretty good track record here” despite not winning or appearing in a World Series since 2009.

“We’ve had real good run a success. But this, at the same time, is not an easy sport. Nothing’s guaranteed,” Cashman continued. “I don’t think there’s anybody in this planet that felt that the New York Yankees, as constructed entering or leaving spring training, weren’t a playoff-contending team.

“But at the same time, shit happens, and a lot of it’s happened. And because of that, there’s a mess on our hands.”

Cashman went on to say that he wasn’t at the podium to make a case for himself. He acknowledged that that is Steinbrenner’s decision to make.

The same goes for Boone’s future.

“I think Boonie’s doing everything he can possibly do, just like all of us,” Cashman said.

Fans, however, are starving for red meat, and many blame Cashman’s roster construction not only for this season, but for the “championship or bust” Yankees’ lengthy World Series drought.

“They want us to win,” Cashman said of the Bronx faithful and ire directed his way. “They’re invested in this franchise. They’re invested in our team, and they’re disappointed. Certainly, I hear them loud and clear. We’re disappointed, too.

“It comes with the territory. I think we’re all going to be evaluated. We’re going to look at every aspect of the operation, because that’s what you have to do under these circumstances. And then it’ll take us where it takes us.”