While Yankees GM Brian Cashman spoke glowingly about Aaron Boone, was it merely more spin, or will the “puppet” tag finally be retired?
When Yankees GM Brian Cashman spoke with reporters announcing the three-year extension of Aaron Boone‘s contract, he used adjectives like respect, intelligence, and leadership to glowingly describe Boone.
But for those of us who have followed the history of Cashman and his relationship with Boone as manager of the Yankees, a question loomed in the background, and it’s this:
Do Cashman’s words translate into something resembling more of a partnership with Boone, one that can retire the puppet tag associated with Boone by granting his manager to use what Cashman called his “baseball acumen and instincts” to lead the Yankees?
Or, was Cashman reciting from a script prepared in the Yankees PR department, and Boone will still be “managing” the team with a blanket over his head, the size and color of which has been selected by the Yankee’s analytics gurus?
Yankees: Cultural Change Or More Of The Same?
In yesterday’s column, we inferred how Boone’s retention is signaling several cultural changes within the Yankees, reaching far beyond Cashman’s decision to tie his sails to Aaron Boone for the 2022 season.
Because Boone’s nature and personality do not appear to be a “rock the boat” type (think Joe Girardi), the impetus to grant Boone more authority in running the team has to come from Cashman.
“Running” the team implies setting the Yankees’ lineup, having input on trades, free-agent signings, draft picks, and most of all using those attributed instincts to make in-game decisions. All of which fall under the umbrella of trust that Cashman claims he has in Boone.
Is A Seat At The Table Reserved For Aaron Boone
Even more significantly in extending a seat at the table to Boone are the daunting personnel decisions that need to be made regarding the Yankees’ current roster.
Brian Cashman only sees the numbers and the salary attached to those numbers, not the person.
Heartfelt and no-holds-barred discussion, with Boone talking and everyone else listening, are needed to evaluate, for example, Gary Sanchez, Luke Voit, Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier, Joey Gallo, Domingo German, Luis Gil – each with the intent to answer two questions.
Is each player a fit on the Yankees 2022 team, and will they help me (Boone) to bring that elusive and mutual goal of a World Series title into being?
Together with his coaches, who has a better place than Boone, the person who observes the player during batting practice, trips on the Yankees’ plane, in the clubhouse, and so on?
You can see where I’m going with this, and yes, I do believe it goes beyond the question of Cashman maybe not telling the truth about why he retained Boone. I also think it is foolhardy of Cashman to continue feeding the puppet image of his manager.
Brian Cashman said of Boone that if he were a free agent, he’d be my number one pick to manage the Yankees.
Those are pretty strong words, but that’s it. They are only words.
They are words spouted from the mouth of a person who has never been void of ego and from a person who is on the last year of his contract with the Yankees.
We only remember the most recent events in our lives, and Brian Cashman’s legacy with the Yankees is on the line because of that.
Two back-to-back 100+ win seasons, umpteen playoff appearances, none of it matters if the Yankees do not (at least) make it to the World Series in 2022.
Brian Cashman Has Said “I do” – Now What?
Whether he realizes it or not, Brian Cashman has said “I do” at the altar, and he married Aaron Boone, for better or worse.
Cashman has failed to build a Yankees’ team that is capable of competing in the 21st Century. That much is universally agreed.
Aaron Boone is not a God, and the argument can be made there are better managers in the league.
Cashman has made Boone his choice, and he has explained to us why he made that choice, but none of it matters unless Cashman is willing to cede a portion of the authority he has amassed over the 20+ years of his reign with the Yankees to Boone.
Otherwise, all we can expect from the 2022 Yankees is more of the same.
Postscript: 9:45 am ET 10/21/21
I’m seeing all these anti and negative comments about Boone, Cashman, and the Yankees. What’s up with that? Disappointing…