Safe at home for managers Buck Showalter and Aaron Boone when this disappointing 2023 New York baseball season concludes Sunday. Logic says both deserve another year despite the dismal and final outcomes or illogical to say the manager is at fault.
The Yankees and Mets were projected to be playing past Sunday and teams with two of the highest payrolls should be a part of October baseball. But the manager doesn’t hit, pitch, or come off the bench. The manager during this analytical time supposedly determines the lineup.
And these two managers confronted adversity, the unexpected, and obstacles that caused constant questions and speculation. At this juncture, though, Showalter and Boone are concerned with winning their remaining ballgames and finishing strong. They are asked about their job security and easily get to the next question.
Though, I tend to believe the recurring question will come after the last pitch is thrown Sunday afternoon. I expect Showalter and Boone to respond and say, we will leave those decisions to higher ups in the front office.
Regardless, Showalter has another year remaining on his contract. Boone is signed through 2024 with a club option for the next. It’s safe to say that Boone is safe at home, though a contentious Yankees fan base would desire a change. The honeymoon for Showalter is over after his initial year winning 101 games, but it’s always the manager to blame.
I don’t expect David Stearns (incoming director of baseball operations) to make a managerial change during the upcoming transition for the Mets. Craig Counsell has managed the Brewers to another postseason in the final year of his contract. Though, I don’t envision Stearns, the former Brewers GM, and Counsell having an immediate reunion in 2024. Showalter is the right fit for the Mets. There is good chemistry in the Mets clubhouse and not at all toxic as some have reported.
The highest payroll team in baseball will go down as that historic failure. The Mets will eventually finish 10 games under .500 with their final four games at Citi Field against the Marlins, who are fighting for the last playoff spot and the NL Wild Card Phillies.
A 50/50 chance that Showalter will be safe, according to reliable sources, however a source informed me this week that nothing has been determined as Stearns will be formally introduced next week and needs to settle in with many offseason player personnel decisions.
Basically, don’t fault the manager for this failure. Had All-Star closer Edwin Diaz not sustained a freak World Baseball Classic season ending injury, if Jeff McNeill, Pete Alonso, and Francisco Lindor were consistent in the first half, perhaps the question of Showalter would be mute. Let’s establish also that Alonso is not toxic as he and Lindor are among league leaders in home runs and RBI and any alleged dissension is not shown on the field or in the clubhouse.
So many other aspects to the disappointing season including a starting rotation that failed and that has nothing to do with the manager. The Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander duo was a flop and both were gone at the trade deadline. Then again why put all your cards on the table and believe a 38 and 40-year old pitcher are not past their prime?
Behind the scenes, I am hearing that Alonso and Lindor are strong advocates to assure that their manager is safe and locked in for another year. I am also hearing that the Mets clubhouse is unified in support of Showalter.
Ahead to 2024 and pending offseason moves that are essential, the Mets expect a healthy Starling Marte back in the lineup, continued development of a young core from the start with Mark Vientos, Brett Baty, Francisco Alvarez, and Ronny Mauricio.
However a new sheriff in control (Stearns) will likely stay with Showalter, 67 years old with a demeanor of showing this losing season has taken a toll, but he deserves another opportunity to lead a comeback in 2024. I am sure owner Steve Cohen, GM Billy Eppler, and Stearns will allow Showalter to fulfill the final year of his contract that should not reflect on the misfortunes of 2023. Then again Showalter may not be in the long term plan for Stearns
With every win down the stretch, the Yankees have the best record in baseball since mid August, so Aaron Boone should be safe at home in the Bronx. Considering the analytics have not worked and owner Hal Steinbrenner said restructuring is coming as the Yankees will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
Boone has the support of GM Brian Cashman. And the captain Aaron Judge, with other Yankees players have been open about being behind their manager. My sources are also confirming a similar sentiment that Boone will be retained and finish his contract.
Again, as with Showalter the manager in this analytical world of baseball is trapped with numbers and decision making. Winning ball games is what matters. Reality, though, are there any viable candidates to assume these two managerial roles in New York?
Yes, both teams need to restructure and a guarantee of a busy off season awaits after that final pitch Sunday. But guarantee this in late March of 2024, Buck Showalter and Aaron Boone will be trusted for another year.
Rich Mancuso: Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso