NEW YORK — With the worst record in the American League through the first 15 games of the regular season, the Yankees are off to an uncharacteristically bad start this year.
As much as disappointment and frustration are pulsating throughout this organization—from ownership down to the players and into the fan base—general manager Brian Cashman is confident that this team has what it takes to turn this season around.
"Individual, below average performances will get corrected over time," Cashman said in a Zoom call on Monday. "We trust our players, we trust our process, but the record, obviously, is something that we're better than and we just obviously have to correct that here in the near term as well as the long term."
After losing to the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday, New York's eighth loss in their last 10 games, the Yankees slipped to 5-10 on the year. The only team in Major League Baseball with more losses is the lowly Colorado Rockies.
"Right now we're a team that an opponent would want to play, because obviously, we're not firing on all cylinders," the general manager said. "It was 15 games I'd like to forget."
Cashman singled out New York's struggles on offense as a culprit for this skid to start the season. Woes on the offensive side of the ball, Cashman explained, are magnifying other deficiencies on this roster.
Factor New York's lack of power and inability to string hits together with subpar defense and unreliable starting pitching—beyond ace Gerrit Cole—and it's the perfect storm for a mediocre overall performance.
Nonetheless, only 15 contests into a 162-game campaign, Cashman isn't letting this slump get to his head.
"Our message to our players, and therefore our fans, is we are going to fight our way out of that start and hopefully by the end of the month, you'll see a more reflective record that gets us back online and get people's confidence back to where it should be," Cashman said.
The last time New York started a season 5-10 was 1997, one season before the Yankees won three consecutive championships. Cashman said he doesn't remember that season's slow start because eventually, New York got back on track, finishing the year with 96 wins and lasting deep into the postseason.
Even if this current core of players has yet to put together a World Series appearance, Cashman isn't planning on making any changes any time soon.
"We trust our players, we trust their abilities, and we trust over the course of time that [our play] will, as it normally does, correct itself."
To put it another way, in nautical terms, Cashman likened the Yankees' current situation to a ship at sea in the midst of a storm. This team needs to "batten down the hatches and sail through it," he said.
That starts on Tuesday when the Braves come to town for a two-game series at Yankee Stadium. Whether New York flips a switch against Atlanta, or it takes a few additional days, Cashman knows exactly what his club can accomplish. In his eyes, it's only a matter of time until they pass through these choppy waters and get back to smooth sailing.
"Our expectation is to provide great Yankee baseball for those who come to the game or those who are watching the games. We haven’t done that here in the beginning of April. We’ve got to self-correct here over the course of time. We look forward to doing that and proving anybody wrong who’s going to predict otherwise.”
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