Yankees Thoughts: Brian Cashman Leaving Season Up to “Hope”

The Yankees played on Tuesday and that means their season loss total increased by one.

Here are 10 thoughts on the Yankees.

1. It takes a lot for Brian Cashman to join the Yankees on the road, and losing 16 of their last 22 games entering Tuesday certainly constitutes as a lot.

“Thankfully, we got out of the gates really strong,” Cashman said at Tropicana Field before Tuesday’s game. “Hopefully that cushion will allow us to work through this. Hopefully sooner than later because it’s gone on long enough.”

Whenever you’re using the word “hopefully” to discuss your baseball season, you’re screwed, and Cashman used the word twice in 11 words. You would think more than $300 million in salaries could buy you more than hope, but that’s all it has gotten Cashman. It’s all he has gotten after incorrectly spending more than $3 billion in salaries since the Yankees’ last World Series appearance.

2. Cashman could do something other than “hope” the season will turn around. He could replace his manager and try to remove the comfortable-with-losing stench Aaron Boone has covered the Yankees’ winning tradition with. But he won’t. That would go against “the process” Cashman has frequently mentioned in recent years as an excuse for his team’s shortcomings. It would go against his belief that the process is more important than the results, which he said at his end-of-the-season press conference in 2022.

“It’s been a tough stretch for us,” Cashman added.

If by “stretch” Cashman means the entirety of the Boone era, then yes, it’s been a tough “stretch.” Unfortunately, that’s not what Cashman meant. He was referring to just the last month. In fact, he didn’t hesitate to praise the work Boone has done this season, saying his manager has navigated this collapse “as well as he possibly can.”

3. Not only did Cashman defend his handpicked manager’s leadership during a third straight disastrous mid-June collapse, he doesn’t think this season is any way like the last two.

“I think every year is different,” Cashman said. “I think those teams are different and some of the issues are different.”

What? WHAT? WHAT?! Like Mugatu yelling about Zoolander’s faces, THEY’RE THE SAME THING! Blue Steel? Ferrari? Le Tigre? 2022? 2023? 2024? THEY’RE THE SAME THING!

Each Yankees season is a continuation of the previous season. This season is a continuation of 2023 and 2023 was a continuation of 2022 and so on. The collapses have been the same. The offensive issues have been the same. The oft-injured players inevitably getting injured are the same. The underperforming players are the same. When you run it back with the same front office, same manager and essentially the same roster over and over, you get the same result. This collapse isn’t an anomaly. It’s not part of the ebb and flow of the baseball season like Boone likes to say. It’s expected. It’s part of who these Yankees are.

4. Cashman’s presence at the Trop on Tuesday did nothing to stop the Yankees from free falling into nothing as they lost again. After they scored a first-inning run on a Gleyber Torres RBI single, the thought the game may play out differently than nearly every game for the past month may have entered your mind. Then Carlos Rodon walked to the mound.

Two batters and seven pitches into Rodon’s night, the Yankees lead was gone and the game was tied at 1. Two batters and seven more pitches from Rodon, and the Yankees trailed by three runs and the remaining eight-plus innings were just a formality in leading the Yankees to their 17th loss in their last 23 games.

5. “It has not been fun, that’s for sure,” Rodon said. “I’m just not really giving my team a chance to win, giving up runs early.”

The Yankees have lost each of Rodon’s last four starts, and in those games, he has put 41 baserunners on in 19 innings, pitching to a 10.89 ERA and 2.053 WHIP. Opposing hitters are batting .356/.423/.713 against him for a 1.135 OPS. For reference, Aaron Judge has the highest OPS in the majors at 1.103, so opposing hitters are collectively the best hitter in the game against Rodon.

6. It was always going to be extremely difficult to like Rodon as a Yankee after his first season with the team when he came to spring training unfocused and possibly out of shape, got hurt before Opening Day and said he would be pitching if it were the playoffs then missed the first half of the season, pitched to a 6.85 ERA over 14 starts, blew a kiss to heckling fans, turned his back on the pitching coach and gave up eight runs without recording an out in his final start of the season. With what has gone on with him this season, I can’t envision ever being a fan of his as a Yankee.

7. Rodon allowed four runs on Tuesday before recording an out didn’t stop his manager from supporting the lefty (who makes roughly $800,000 per start).

“Once he gets settled he’s got a lot of ways of getting you out,” Boone said.

Rodon has a 9.00 ERA on the season in the first inning. He loses each game for the Yankees before they have a chance to bat at home or before they have a chance to bat for a second time on the road. But hey, once he gets settled, watch out!

8. Rodon’s next start will come on Sunday in Baltimore in the final game before the All-Star break. He faced the Orioles in Baltimore on May 2 and allowed six earned runs on eight hits, including three home runs and the Yankees lost 7-2. You can put the Yankees down for a loss this Sunday in Baltimore.

Since the Yankees already lost on Tuesday and are likely to lose on Sunday with Rodon pitching again, that means they would have to win the next four games to post a winning road trip. The last time the Yankees won two games in a row was June 11 and June 12. Today is July 10.

9. With “hope” being Cashman’s solution to the season, the best the Yankees can “hope” for on this six-game trip to Tampa and Baltimore is to go 3-3, and even then it’s not exactly promising. A 3-3 trip would keep them running in place while the Red Sox keep winning and the Orioles gradually increase their separation. On June 12, the Yankees had a 2 1/2-game lead over the Orioles and a 14-game lead over the Red Sox. Today, the Yankees trail the Orioles by four games in the loss column and their 14-game lead over the Red Sox is down to two games in the loss column.

10. The stuffing in the “cushion” Cashman spoke about is bursting at the seams. The Yankees are a bad rest of this road trip from being buried in the division race and from hanging on to a postseason berth. The team Cashman said is “pretty fucking good” during his unhinged tirade over the winter is anything but. For the last month, they’ve been pretty fucking bad, and the “hope” they will magically turn it around is fading by the day.