Unlike past Yankees teams, Aaron Boone and his coaching staff have their hands full with too many players requiring their full-time attention.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone may or may not be the best person suited for the job, and surely his critics have taken him to task for leading his teams to the playoffs every year, only to see them crash and burn when they get there.
But I think it’s instructive to recall, for instance, the teams that Joe Torre managed. Beginning with the Core Five (Bernie belongs), Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, Bernie Williams, and Mariano Rivera were all players’ players.
Rarely, if ever, did Torre feel compelled to “build them up” in meetings with the press because he knew if they needed some TLC or even a kick in the butt, they would take it upon themselves, individually or collectively, to get things going in the right direction again.
Yankees: Where’s That Ole’ Time Religion?
In contrast, there are only a handful of players on the 2021 Yankees for whom the same can be said.
DJ LeMahieu, Gerrit Cole, Aroldis Chapman, Brett Gardner, possibly Gio Urshela, and you can stop right there because even Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton require Boone and his coaching staff’s constant attention and observation to ensure they remain as healthy as can be.
Of the others, the best that can be said is they are a work in progress.
Whether they need it or not, Aaron Boone’s post-game press conferences are filled with “upsides,” a favorite word of his, going out of his way to label Clint Frazier‘s recent at-bats are “better than two weeks before,” or to insist that Gleyer Torres’ defense is “getting better every day” when our own eyes tell us it isn’t.
Or, that Gary Sanchez is only ten at-bats or so away from breaking out, and all he needs to do “is to relax,” as if that message hasn’t been delivered and ignored umpteen times before.
Gleyber Torres didn’t play in yesterday’s win over the Tampa Bay Rays, but Boone ran him out there pregame working on his fielding for the better part of an hour, tying up the time of at least one coach and fielders at various bases to receive throws.
Look, a player is either a major league shortstop, or he isn’t. The Yankees can’t transform Torres into something he is not, especially at this level when all the other pressures associated with the game are present.
Torres is playing out of position, but still, he requires an inordinate amount of attention from Boone and his coaching staff. Ditto Clint Frazier, Luke Voit (when he plays), and soon Estevan Florial will be added to the mix of young talent that needs fine-tuning.
Yankees: When Brian Cashman Had The Right Formula
In earlier days, Brian Cashman knew exactly the breed of ballplayer he was looking for, and he went out and got them. Professional, many with mid-level skills, self-motivated, and always an intense desire to win.
Martinez, Brosius, O’Neill – they all fit the bill – not to mention the Core Five Cashman inherited from Gene Michael.
Who on this Yankees team gives you the sense that winning is everything?
Forget about Sanchez and his one 500 ft. home run every two weeks.
What I’m saying is there’s no fire on this team, and if you need to see what fire is, tune into SNY for an inning or two to watch the Mets dugout. It’s not, either, the high school rah-rah stuff; it’s more the interplay between teammates and the intensity of the players on the field or in the dugout.
Now, does that charge belong in the bailiwick of Aaron Boone, and should he be held accountable?
Partly yes, but mostly no.
These Yankees players are grown men, and most of them are making millions of dollars (Stanton makes $207,000 each game if he plays 140 games this year), and there is no reason any of them should need babysitting, not at this level and not when you are wearing a New York Yankees uniform.
Aaron Boone doesn’t get a pass, but he sure is dealing with a lot given the team Brian Cashman has given him…
Here’s What Reader’s Are Saying…
Philip Lupi Wait. What? I was a manager, not of a baseball team, but of a group of very different and diverse professional people and that’s what managers do. They need to dig into each and every team member and keep them all on the same page for the final goal.
Joel Albert Full time attention is their job..it’s not a part-time job
Joseph DeSapio That’s what big contracts cause
Dave Waxman They’re just not going to win anything with this group. Pennant or World Series. No grit. No soul. And in some cases, missing the talent for the game.
Robert Rosado Herrand Good article! First off Sanchez needs to be out of here. He might excel somewhere else. He’s been given a lot of opportunities. He had Girardi and Tony Peña teach how to be a better catcher. Torres is a second baseman, but we have DJ now. Frazier can hit he has improved his defense but now he has a starting job and he doesn’t hit now. Getting Stanton was one of the worst moves Cashman has made and I wouldn’t give Judge big money. Cashman used to get player’s players before. I think it was easier for him before plus it doesn’t help that Hal has him out there with one hand tied behind his back.
Joe Bjork Aaron Judge is at the top of Boone’s list requiring ALL kinds of attention!
Salvatore F. Salamone The Yankees have some players that are old-school gamers. Gardner, Voit, LaMahieu, and Cole are a few. Most of the rest unfortunately is not or it’s too early to tell. The bottom line is, are you concerned with playing and winning or your next contract, endorsements, and image.
Steve Cohen This is the most inaccurately named page (Yankees Positive Nation – Facebook Group) . I have never read more whining in my life. The comments I read here are exactly why the rest of Baseball Nation hates Yankee fans. Everyone smacks of entitlement. We don’t have 5 aces. A potentially superior player like Torres needs extra fielding practice to improve at a new position and is willingly taking it. What the heck do you think coaches are there for? Hint: exactly that. That’s why they are called coaches. These guys are 25-30 years old. They are young men, still learning their craft. Whah-whah. The poor Yankees are 3.5 games out of first place in early June. So what? Am surprised all the older fans here are still alive. I would have thought they jumped off a bridge in early August 1978.