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Hal Steinbrenner says Yankees ‘absolutely’ have right coaching staff, places most of blame on players

With the Yankees off to their worst start in five years and a season without postseason ball more likely than one with it in the Bronx, fans are starting to call for Aaron Boone and Brian Cashman’s jobs.

But Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner is having none of that, yet. He think he “absolutely” has the right coaching staff in place.

“Everybody on the coaching staff has dealt with these players in the past. We’ve had some great offenses and some great teams,” Steinbrenner told reporters on Thursday. “Nobody’s working harder than the coaches, and the most important thing to me, always, in any given year, is that the players respect the coaches, believe in the coaches, and that’s absolutely the case here.”

“I’m aggravated, frustrated, angry, but that’s not gonna push me into a kneejerk reaction to get rid of somebody that I believe the players respect, want to play for, want to win for, and overall has done a good job keeping that clubhouse together through this difficult three months.”

Steinbrenner wouldn’t commit to offering Boone a contract beyond this season, postseason berth or not, and said he would prefer to not make a baseball operations decision midseason. But he did say he would evaluate everyone’s performance at the end of the year.

“[I’m] 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 just the sake of making changes,” he added. “And I know I’m stating the obvious, but I’m gonna be looking at everybody’s performance at the end of the year throughout the organization, baseball ops or not, and that’s what I do every year, and it’s not something I tend to do in the middle of the year.”

“I’m just a believer in seeing an entire body of work from an employee, regardless of what department they’re in,” Steinbrenner said. “We do that year-to-year to-year. And every year, even if somebody’s in the middle of a contract, at the end of the year, I’m gonna look at their performance, and I’m gonna make a decision whether to continue with that person or not continue with that person [regardless] of whether or not they’re under contract. Doing a knee-jerk reaction to appease this person or that person in the middle of the year when I really don’t think there’s a problem, that’s certainly something I’m not I’m gonna do.”

The problem, according to Steinbrenner, is simply the players’ ability to not live up to their potential this year.

“Myself, Cashman, Boone, the coaches, we’re responsible. We’re in charge. So at some level, we’re responsible for what’s going on. But make no mistake, in my opinion, the majority of the responsibility, whether it’s the responsibility of inconsistent offense or bad baserunning, et cetera, that responsibility lies with the players,” he said. “They’re the ones on the field. They’re a group of very talented, professional athletes that [are] playing this game at the highest level in the world. They need to fix this problem. They need to fix the problem, because everyone, including our fanbase, and rightfully so, has had enough, quite frankly. It’s enough, and they know that, and you’re seeing them say that.”

“They’re taking it seriously. They had a team-only meeting a couple days ago – which in my opinion, is always the best type of meeting. Peers holding other peers accountable is, in my belief, the most effective type of meeting that can occur. We all can share the blame, but the majority of the blame lies with them.”

Steinbrenner admitted that the roster isn’t as balanced as he had hoped, but in spring training, he felt he “no doubt” had a championship-caliber roster.

“This team that we put together leaving spring training was a very, very good team. They just haven’t played up to their potential that I believe they still have, of course, because it’s essentially the same team – and I’m talking about the starting lineup – that we had last year and the year before. These aren’t aging players. These are guys in their prime. They just haven’t played up to their potential, and that’s been the big problem. At least they haven’t done it consistently.”

Regarding Cashman, he reiterated their positive working relationship and his trust in building a championship-caliber roster, adding that “he’s done a good job.”

“Brian and I have been doing this a lot of years together. He’s extremely intelligent. He understands the deal when it comes to relying on pro scouting, relying on analytics. But also building areas that all teams are building, like analytics, like performance science. We communicate very well. There’s not much that happens without him running it by me first — he knows that’s the I want it. I think he’s done a good job.”

Boone’s contract expires at the end of this season, while Cashman’s will expire following the 2022 season. But the mission is to still win a ring in 2021.

“We’re gonna keep plugging away. … We’re not gonna get down. We’ve had tough losses before. We’re gonna continue to do everything we can to win win win.”