New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has recalled the 2013 season in a bid to explain why he thinks they overperformed.
Speaking to the New York Post, he said: “Our team over-performed last year. It’s a credit to everybody involved in that process. But the record didn’t reflect the talent.
"So when you take a sledgehammer to the roster like we did this winter and spend the money we did, it’s more reflective of recognizing. Of not being fooled.”
The Yankees finished fourth in the American League East last season with a record of 85/77, scoring 650 runs; their lowest total since scoring 603 in 1991.
They now face the prospect of having to earn back 18 wins to win the AL East in 2014 and 13 to make the play-offs. The Red Sox hit claimed a 97-65 to win last season while Tampa Bay made 92 games for the second season in row to claim the wild card slot.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi was awarded a four-year $16m extension after impressing in 2013 and his career record of 642-492 in eight wins above what the team was expected to achieve.
But Cashman doesn't regard the run differential as a good evaluation tool.
“I’d say Joe, our coaches, our players worked their tail off and fought every step of the way, and they earned that record,” Cashman said. “But if we repeated last year’s season 100 times, that [85-77 record] would’ve been the low end of probability.”
The run differential, Cashman added, is “more reflective of the talent on the field. When you over-perform, like the Orioles did [in 2012], you realize that’s more of an anomaly. And last year was a market correction.”