Unless the Yankees receive a sudden jolt of wisdom, the fate of Aaron Boone is already cast. But first, Brian, I have a few questions for you.
“When you are the manager of this team, and you wear these pinstripes, it’s a heavy burden. A guy like Boonie wears it with pride. He shows up to work every single day, ready to go. He gets us prepared the right way, keeps us motivated, gets on guys when he needs to.”
Aaron Judge could have saved his breath, though, because Brian Cashman operates in a fiefdom in which he answers to no one.
That is, save for keeping within the payroll dollar figure handed to him annually by Hal Steinbrenner, the distracted and disinterested principal owner of the Yankees.
For that reason alone, Aaron Boone‘s tenure with the Yankees will soon be history, though for all the wrong reasons.
Yankees Aaron Boone: Better than You Think
In late August, Yardbarker took it upon themselves to rank all thirty MLB in order of effectiveness. Boone finished tenth, crediting him with doing a “masterful job.”
Not too bad, especially when you consider that Terry Francona (Indians – #1), Joe Maddon (Angels – #3), A.J. Hinch (Tigers – #4, and Rocco Baldelli (Twins – #9) all finished ahead of Boone while guiding losing teams to nowhere in 2021.
None of it matters, though, because Brian Cashman, who is serving as the Yankees’ longest-tenured general manager, has character better judged by ego-building antics, like propelling from an NYC skyscraper or sleeping in a blanket with the homeless for a night.
Boone vs. Cashman: Who’s Stepping Up?
Fittingly, while Aaron Boone has made himself available to the media since Tuesday night, speaking openly and candidly about the “cruelty” of the Yankees’ loss to the Red Sox, Brian Cashman has noticeably been absent from the fray.
Looking back, however, to why the Yankees hired Boone in the first place, we need not be surprised at Boone’s discretionary meetings with the media.
Because after all, Boone’s personality fits perfectly with the Yankees’ need to have a “frontman,” who was capable and willing, whenever needed, to fall on the sword by deflecting negativity from those who are the actual decision-makers in the Yankees’ organization.
The Yankees knew what they were getting with Aaron Boone, a baseball lifer like his grandfather Ray, his father Bob, and his brother Brett, two of whom had stints in the majors as managers.
They knew that Aaron Boone had zero experience managing a team in the minor leagues, much less a major league club, and the New York Yankees at that.
Brian, How Does This Grab You?
The Yankees knew all of it, but this is what Brian Cashman doesn’t know – or at least refuses to acknowledge:
- Aaron Boone did not build the pre-ordained but thoroughly faulted team predicted to face the Dodgers in the upcoming World Series – he did.
- Aaron Boone did not trade for strikeout king (again in 2021) Joey Gallo to hit behind Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton and bat on a team with an already high team on-base percentage.
- Aaron Boone did not bring in a pedestrian pitcher like Andrew Heaney when the Dodgers were trading for Max Scherzer, the White Sox were adding Craig Kimbrell to their bullpen, and Toronto was working on a deal with the Twins to being in Jose Berrios – Cashman did.
- Plus, it wasn’t Aaron Boone who stubbornly held on to the notion Gleyber Torres is a major league shortstop. No, Cashman can count to 19, the number of errors Torres made this year, plus the deer-in-the-headlights approach Torres had before the move to second base was finally completed.
- Also, Cashman, together with Steinbrenner, saw Giancarlo Stanton as an “investment” that was far too deep to ignore, refusing to allow Boone to play Stanton in the outfield.
- And last but not least, it was not Aaron Boone who handed Gerrit Cole $324 million to forever carry the tag as the Ace Of The Yankees Staff, leaving no doubt that Cole would pitch the Wild Card game come hell or high water.
Aaron Boone always talks about accountability, his own and that of his players. He talks about “my guys” as though they are his children, and he shares the intense emotions that come with losing and being “bummed,” as he put it.
Yankees And Accountability
But where is the accountability of Brian Cashman? Forget Hal Steinbrenner; he merely signs checks and lives on his father’s laurels. But where is Cashman the man with the power?
Where is he to step up to say, “I might have made a few “misjudgments” about personnel this year, and maybe I relied too much on analytics instead of giving Aaron Boone more of a free reign.
“And I probably overestimated the team I handed to Boone on Opening Opening Day.”
Plus the coup de gras, and for Cashman to add, “I also didn’t react quickly enough when the signs of peril began to appear, and I allowed other teams to pass us by, making needed moves for their teams while we sat hoping beyond hope things would turn around.”
Now, to erase any doubt in your mind, Aaron Boone is the beginning and end-all for a Yankee manager, and we could spend hours ticking off the names of many who might be better.
But the crux of the matter is that dismissing Boone will not solve any of the problems facing the Yankees team, and in some cases, like in the clubhouse and media relations, someone new can make them worse.
I know this flies in the face of a contingent of Yankees fans who have been calling for Boone’s butt since June, and a few even during the offseason last year.
But in doing so, these same fans are putting themselves directly in line with the character and excuses of Brian Cashman – and an “anybody but me” mentality that grips in a stranglehold the Yankees franchise today.
If It Gives You A Tingle Brian, Go Ahead And Do It
So, in the end, I say fire Boone if you must, but don’t expect a whisper of positive change to be forthcoming from that one action alone.
More so than even the Yankees’ neighbors across the river, the Yankees have cancer that (this year) has reached Stage 4 consequences.
As Aaron Boone so eloquently tried to warn us in his requiem for 2021,
“I do feel like there are more teams that are on the come-up, that are way more competitive with us and that have closed the gap with us,” Boone said. “It’s not just the Rays and Red Sox and Astros anymore. It’s the Blue Jays. It’s the Central teams that are coming. It’s the Mariners and Angels. These teams are on (the same) ground with us, and we need to keep on getting a little bit better.”
More accurate words about the state of the New York Yankees have yet to be spoken, and we can only hope they are not falling on the seemingly deaf ears of Brian Cashman.