BUFFALO – Asked directly about Aaron Boone’s job security Tuesday, general manager Brian Cashman didn’t offer what anyone objectively would categorize as a ringing endorsement.
But Cashman also made clear that, being true to his tenure as GM, which started in 1998, there aren’t likely to be any in-season changes coming, either. He hasn’t done it before and likely won’t start in 2021.
"I think losing invites the scrutiny on us all, and I’d best answer that (by saying) we're in this together," Cashman said, asked if he had "100% confidence" Boone was the right manager to lead the Yankees out of their current travails. "We made this bed, and we're gonna sleep in it. And we're gonna make sure that we find a way to fix this together."
Of in-season changes, including to the coaching staff, Cashman said: "That's not something I believe in, And it doesn't mean I'm not willing to make changes if I felt they were warranted. But I don't feel they're warranted here…(This is) the same coaching staff and same manager that's had a lot of success here. So we are charged with finding a way to fix what's ailing us. And the ultimate responsibility on that is me. I've told our personnel that I don't intend to let us fail…we’ve got really good coaches that know what they’re doing, I think we have a really good manager that knows what he’s doing."
Which isn’t to say Cashman is satisfied with overseeing a club that staggered into this three-game set against the Blue Jays Tuesday night one game over .500 (33-32), good enough for fourth place in the AL East.
"There's been some sleepless nights," Cashman said. "We need to obviously get on that winning track and get our numbers where they belong in that win column, and become relevant again, because right now, we have not been the relevant powerhouse in the American League. We've been everything but."
The last time Cashman addressed the media was April 19 and, with the Yankees foundering then at 5-10, he said: "We know we’re better than this. We are going to get it corrected."
Better as of June 15, but not all that much better and, entering the night, losers in 13 of their last 18. Back in April there wasn’t much to do in terms of roster upgrades from the outside but, with the calendar where it is, this is when, at the very least, groundwork conversations begin in advance of the July 30 trade deadline.
Cashman said he intends to be in "buying mode," particularly when it comes to centerfield, where 37-year-old Brett Gardner is being all but run into the ground.
Centerfield was the only position Cashman mentioned specifically but with the rotation, other than Gerrit Cole, struggling, starting pitching is all but certain to be on the agenda, among other things, such as a lefty bat to aid an underperforming offense and perhaps another bullpen arm or two.
But will Cashman, if the right deal came along, be given permission to surpass the luxury tax ($210 million in 2021)?
Indications remain managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner, on the hook for a payroll that’s currently in the range of $207 million, isn’t currently inclined to go over the luxury tax, but he wasn’t at first inclined to lay out $324 million two winters ago for Cole until he was. Circumstances can and do change.
"The ownership here has poured great resources into this roster already, they're not getting what they deserve with what they're paying for this roster so far," Cashman said. "But, ultimately, I'll bring to Hal Steinbrenner and his family all recommendations that include…we’re going to have opportunities that present themselves that are money related and ultimately decisions will be made then."