I can certainly understand why Yankee fans would not want Aaron Boone as their manager and the October calendar is one reason. Their Yankees team lost to the rival Red Sox in the AL Wild Card game. The Red Sox and Astros begin the AL Championship Series Friday night in Houston.
Instead, a good majority of Yankees fans believe their team should be one of the two teams in the ALCS with a chance to advance to the World Series. They are placing the blame on Aaron Boone and they want him out of here.
Back to that in a moment because Boone is not a major culprit in this lost season. He was the perfect manager for a Yankees team that turned their season around with a 13-game winning streak (August 13-27) narrowing the gap between them, the Rays, and Red Sox.
A week and a day after going home, Boone does not have a contract though. Tuesday, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported owner Hal Steinbrenner is leaning towards bringing back his manager. I reached out to Insiders and they have also confirmed the ESPN report.
But the Yankees hierarchy are taking their time, which of course leads to speculation. Are the Yankees retaining Boone for another two or three years or waiting until the World Series concludes to decide his future in the Bronx?
Teams on the sidelines are usually in a holding pattern with changes in personnel to not take away attention from the MLB postseason and World Series. So any announcement from the Yankees may not come anytime soon.
Also, Boone is under contract until the end of the World Series. There could also be a time frame here as the collective bargaining agreement comes to a close as of December 1. Currently the cross-town Mets and Padres are seeking a new manager, and the Yankees could decide to make a change despite the ESPN report.
Okay, why the uncertainty? Why do fans want a change in the dugout? And where does GM Brian Cashman stand in this equation, who in my opinion is the architect of this 2021 season of failure?
To begin, Cashman is staying in his chair at Yankee Stadium and those same insiders say he remains in good standing with Steinbrenner and his chain of command. Though the Yankees have been a team that Cashman built to win with the second highest payroll in baseball and a failure also was attributed to a 36-40 record against teams in their division.
Rather than Boone, if anyone deserves to lose their job it is Cashman. October has not been good for the Yankees. This year, the Astros (2017 ALCS), Red Sox (2018 ALDS), Astros again (2019 ALCS), and the Rays last year all gave the Yankees an early postseason exit.
It’s been 12 years since the Yankees have been World Series champions. It was also the last time Cashman had a chance to celebrate with those he put on the field. A season in the Bronx that ends without bringing another trophy home is never a success for the Yankees.
But the manager, Aaron Boone, who survived the turmoil and adversity of a season consumed with injuries and COVID-19 situations with the roster, has become the culprit for a failure that became circumstances beyond his control.
Okay, question some of the moves and bullpen situations of that old lefty-righty strategy. I can’t fault the manager because his ace Gerrit Cole recorded only six outs, or Aaron Judge was tagged out at home plate in the sixth inning at Fenway in the Wild Card elimination game.
No, Cole is paid huge money to win those games. Judge was not a Boone call but a fault of third base coach Phil Nevin, who gave the green light. The Rex Sox led the league in recording outs from the outfield and the Yankees set the pace as they tied Kansas City with 22 runners thrown out at the plate.
In defense of Aaron Boone, he can’t be blamed for this latest Yankees postseason failure. He couldn’t take the fall for a team that did not live up to expectations and fooled all prognosticators that picked the Yankees to win their division .
Instead, the Rays and Red Sox were better and will continue to be. Cashman, at the trade deadline, was convinced the answer was trading for Joey Gallo, a move that failed, despite adding another left handed bat to the lineup.
But Boone was right putting Giancarlo Stanton back on the field and out of the DH role. He could do no wrong when Stanton and Aaron Judge hit those long home run balls. He was the culprit for the Gary Sanchez mishaps behind the plate and constantly swinging at bad pitches which accounted for another of his off years.
Again, it’s a roster constructed by the GM and those in command.
Okay, so, to place the blame on Aaron Boone, because fans want a manager with a tougher presence to take control of a losing situation is not fair. True, Boone provides a similar tone and thoughts about his underachieving players and could be too protective.
He does not show that fighting attitude during those post game press briefings with the media. HIs demeanor is different and that comment of “gut wrenching” after another tough loss was not good enough.
He does not have that fire in him. That’s not the Aaron Boone personality. And fans can say Boone, a former Yankees player with ties to the organization, is continuing to learn on the job after coming out of the broadcast booth.
They want Buck Showalter. I heard fans refer to bringing Joe Torre out of retirement, the manager of four championship teams, but that is not being realistic.
You want the answer and why I believe Aaron Boone should be granted another contract? ANALYTICS is the manager and not the answer. The Yankees analytical department failed and not Aaron Boone.
In the end, baseball is all about numbers and the analytics room that devises a lineup and is supposed to work in conjunction with the manager. More than one manager over the past few years ,when questioned, informed me the scouting reports mean nothing.
Boone, like others, gets to the ballpark and the lineup is on his desk. The ballgame to be played is put in motion with a script that is more fitting for an award winning TV series or movie.
So again, Aaron Boone is not a reason for this Yankees failure. He is respected in the game and most important with the players put on his roster.
Roster overhaul is sure to come. Some coaches, possibly Nevin, will take a fall for this failure. Brian Cashman will again be the architect to put the Yankees back on top, because Hal Steinbrenner and the higher ups are loyal to their long standing GM.
Soon Aaron Boone will have the answer and he deserves another contract. He is not the fault of a front office and analytic department that caused another Yankees failure in 2021.
The blame game here is not the manager.
Rich Mancuso: [email protected] Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso