“It has been tough to watch, and the players know that,” Steinbrenner said. “They’re better than this.”
Steinbrenner said he was encouraged to learn that the players recently held a clubhouse meeting he described as “fiery.” That was important, he said, because the players are most responsible for the lackluster season.
“They need to fix this problem, because everyone, including our fan base, rightfully so, has had enough,” Steinbrenner said, adding later: “We all can share the blame, but the majority of the blame lies with them. That’s why I think the type of meeting that they had two or three days ago is crucial.”
The Yankees have not fired a manager during a season since 1990, when Stump Merrill replaced Bucky Dent. They have never fired a coach during a season since Brian Cashman became the general manager in 1998. Steinbrenner clearly values the kind of leadership stability that his father eventually maintained — grudgingly, at times — in his later years. So how has that helped the team?
“I’d like to say it accomplished winning world championships; that obviously hasn’t happened the last few years,” Steinbrenner said. “Not afraid to make changes, as we saw with the manager a few years ago, but the changes have to be made for more than the sake of making changes.”
He added: “Do I like consistency, having the same people around that I am used to, that I communicate well with, that we can kind of understand each other? Yes. But not if we’re having serious problems with that person’s performance.”
Steinbrenner does not have serious problems with Cashman, Boone or the coaches. He said that the team’s decision-making process was comprehensive and that he valued the opinions of scouts as well as data analysts. He dismissed the idea that the Yankees could be sellers at the trading deadline, as they were in 2016, the last time they finished fourth in their division.