Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner talks with reporters during...

Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner talks with reporters during the MLB owners meeting in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 5, 2020. Credit: AP/John Raoux

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Long on vagueness and short on specifics and — at least publicly — even shorter on organizational introspection, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner did not provide much encouragement to fans pleading for changes in how his franchise operates after a playoff-less season.

Steinbrenner’s Zoom news conference on Tuesday also did not provide much encouragement to the many in his organization desperate for some signs of change in methodology.

The message, distilled to its essence, amounted to this: Trust us.

Though calling the 2023 season “unacceptable” and acknowledging “we accomplished nothing,” Steinbrenner said there could be “personnel changes” coming, but did not elaborate.

Steinbrenner, like general manager Brian Cashman has been, was defensive about an analytics department that runs just about every sector of the organization and has come under increasing fire after years of mostly plaudits and adulatory coverage.

“Analytics has taken a lot of heat, not justified in my opinion,” Steinbrenner said.

Defensive doesn’t quite cover Cashman in talking about the same topic; combative being more accurate.

Pushing back on what he called multiple times Tuesday the “[expletive] narrative” surrounded the club — mainly, that is run almost exclusively by the analytics wing of the organization — Cashman repeatedly offered a full-throated defense of the group.

“We’ve got good people. I’m proud of our people, and I’m proud of our process,” Cashman said. “Doesn’t mean we’re firing on all cylinders, doesn’t mean we’re the best in class, but I think we’re pretty [expletive] good, personally, and I’m proud of our people.”

He added: “I’m proud of our operation, I think we have a great group of baseball people.”

Cashman, in continuing to push back on the all-analytics-all-the-time narrative, said the Yankees have the “smallest analytics department” in the American League East and the “largest pro scouting department in all of baseball.”

But that, of course, doesn’t tell the story because, regardless of the numbers, ultimately it is about who has influence and it is difficult to find anyone in the organization outside the analytics group — including in the clubhouse — who doesn’t believe that group does anything but carry the day when it comes to the vast majority of decisions.

Much was made in August of Steinbrenner’s comments about bringing in a third party to evaluate the organization, but that doesn’t seem to be all it appeared. Steinbrenner said Tuesday the outside firm he hired, Zelus Analytics, was recommended by assistant GM Mike Fishman, who oversees the club’s analytics department.

Steinbrenner said work with Zelus, expected to last throughout next season, would be a “collaboration,” and Cashman expanded on that a bit.

“How do they run their algorithms, how do they evaluate certain things using their analytics and we get to compare ours to what they do and then maybe see a blind spot or two,” Cashman said. “That’s all it is. If we see in some of their algorithms they do something a little different, we’ll ask why and we’ll make a determination if that’s a better way or is our stuff better than their stuff? That’s really all that’s about.”

Regarding the much-discussed three-day series of meetings that took place in Tampa the week after the season ended that included about 15 members of baseball operations — meetings Steinbrenner said lasted some eight hours per day and characterized as having gotten “heated” at times — the owner implemented on himself the gag order he put on the group before the meetings began.

“These were private meetings,” Steinbrenner said. “I can only assure you they were extensive.”

The meetings, which Steinbrenner did not attend as to encourage as much open dialogue as possible but resulted in him receiving some “40 pages” of notes, were run by Cashman, who also declined to provide many details.

As for Aaron Boone, Steinbrenner said he spoke to multiple current players — and former players such as Andy Pettitte and Nick Swisher, who both have undefined organizational roles — in deciding to ultimately bring the manager back for a seventh season. (Boone has a year left on his contract).

“The players respect him as a manager, they want to play for him and win for him,” Steinbrenner said.

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