Yankees: Will Aaron Boone Be The Scapegoat Cashman Sorely Needs

Brian Cashman Slipping After All These Years (Sports Illustrated)

The Yankees are a so-so team built solely by Brian Cashman. To save face and perhaps his own skin, Aaron Boone may have to walk the plank.

Yankees’ longest-tenured GM Brian Cashman is in a quandary, with his team reeling after getting swept by the lowly Detroit Tigers, and the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox on tap this week, all escape routes seem closed.

First, a little perspective on the Yankees’ performance of late has them losing five of their last six games after spinning off six straight wins over the Rangers and White Sox.

The “Bombers” managed to score a total of five runs in the three-game set against Detroit, while their run differential has shrunk to +10, and they are playing .500 baseball against teams that have a better than .500 record (14-14).

The Yankees trail Tampa Bay by four full games now, and that is the same margin in the all-important loss column. Only six teams in the majors have a worse batting average than the Yankees’ .229, and only seven teams have scored fewer runs (199), which averages out to a very pedestrian four runs a game.

(Source: MLB)
(Source: MLB)

Yankees: Where To From Here

Now, back to Brian Cashman, whose charge is to find a way to improve the Yankees any way he can. Except for one thing, there is no way because all doors are closed.

In the past, Cashman could dig deep into his piggy bank of pitching prospects, including James Kaprielian, Ian Clarkin, Justus Sheffield, Blake Rutherford, Adam Warren, and Justin Wilson, to lure teams willing to trade with the Yankees.

However, not so much today, with Clarke Schmidt on the shelf, while Deivi Garcia and Michael King (2.2 innings, two runs, and 63 pitches) show needs of further tutoring in the minor leagues.

Who Stole My ATM Card?

Brian Cashman has always been used to using the Yankees ATM card to fill holes, many of which he created himself with ill-advised trades and free-agent signings. Still, that door has been locked by Hal Steinbrenner, who is staying firm with his stance not to exceed the luxury tax limit of $210 million in team payroll.

Even if Cashman digs into the Yankees roster, there is no one he can trade who can subtract enough salary to bring back an impact player, even if it costs him the $2 million in reserve he has before exceeding the cap to help offset the cost of the new player (think Miguel Andujar, Clint Frazier, and Tyler Wade).

Beyond that, what are the chances another team would take a run at Gary Sanchez, always injured Aaron Hicks and the balance of $70 million owed to him, or Luke Voit, who can’s seem to stand on his own two feet without suffering a leg injury?

All doors are closed, except for one, and with the heat about to get stronger, a stale Cashman knows he has to do something to quiet Yankees fans and the media.

Yankees Aaron Boone – “I’ll Be Your Huckleberry.”

Enter Aaron Boone, who has drawn little favor with fans or the media since Cashman appointed him as the Yankees manager four years ago.

Aaron Boone: Yankees Injury Explainer (NY Daily News)
Aaron Boone: Yankees Injury Explainer (NY Daily News)

Spoiled by Joe Torre, Boone has come off as nerdy and stuck in a sea of analytics that defies any element of “humanness” in his managing strategies. He often speaks to reporters in double-talk, as though he is reading from scripts, especially regarding his wishy-washy reporting about injuries.

Moreover, while there hasn’t been a Yankees’ player to criticize Boone I am aware of openly, can you name a player who has gushed about his style of managing, a la the reports we often hear about for Don Mattingly, Dusty Baker, Joe Maddon, Kevin Cash, et al.?

No, if you can’t get a makeover, then you buy yourself a flashy new tie to go with that old suit you’ve been wearing for the last ten years – and you hope people will notice but not look too closely.

Brian Cashman could be secure knowing there will be no uproar from fans or the media if he were to let Boone go. Some even see Boone as a major contributor to the Yankees’ woes, pointing, for example, to his decision to prematurely remove Jordan Montgomery from a playoff game against the Rays last year and as a poor manager of his bullpen.

Of course, the other option for Cashman is to lay low, letting his good soldier Boone take the brunt of what is coming. At the same time, the Yankees struggle to make the playoffs as a Wild Card team, dropping out of sight in the first or second round as has been their practice of late – and then doing one of two things – either stepping down himself or letting Boone go then.

Yankees Tied In Knots With Cashman

Brian Cashman has a cushy job waiting for him in the Yankees hierarchy if he wants it. Good soldiers do get rewarded.

Theo Epstein voluntarily resign as the Cubs GM
Theo Epstein voluntarily resigns as the Cubs GM

But does he have the courage to be Theo Epstein, who voluntarily left the Chicago Cubs as their GM, but not before delivering a long-awaited World Championship to the Cubs? Seeing the Cubs in what he viewed as a decline, he said, I can’t or don’t want to fix this – so I’m outta here.

Both Epstein and Cashman have oversized egos. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be where they are today with the success they have enjoyed.

But somehow, it seems a stretch to see Cashman walking away from the Yankees, given his penchant for drawing attention to himself with stunts like sleeping on New York streets with the homeless and scaling the heights of skyscrapers in the Big Apple.

It’s painful to watch the Yankees play a game as I did today, and you might have as well. Listless, with no direction home, the Yankees will return to Yankee Stadium for three-game sets against the “doing it again” Tampa Bay Rays and the “where did they come from” Red Sox.

Six games that can set the tempo for the rest of the first half of the season, waiting for the “Bombers” to get dressed because this is not a rehearsal. The real and powerful teams are coming to town.

I’ll bet you 1 dollar you won’t see Brian Cashman anywhere near Yankee Stadium this week. You wouldn’t be surprised by that, would you, unless it’s all a prelude to the scapegoat walking the plank.

Here’s What Readers Are Saying…

Jeff DellolioBoone only does what Cashman tells him. If Boone goes Cashman must go along with him. After all, Boone is Cashman’s puppet.

Maria Spida That won’t solve the problem!

Sean Rivera I can see them pulling the plug on Boone, but is there a replacement in mind? Internal or from outside? Plus, a midseason firing might not be a good idea, unless he’s got problems in the clubhouse…

Andrew Ackerman Time to fire both of them now

Frank Rivera I wouldn’t be surprised if he used Boone as scapegoat since in actuality he manages the team, Cashman is one who set up this team, that isn’t a team, and has insisted on all this analytic bs, and launch angle hr or nothing strategy, he is 1 who took on Stanton, Ellsbury, Hicks contracts. He has insisted on keeping Sanchez where now you can’t get a bag of balls for him. He probably will justify to fans that they couldn’t go over the payroll limit so his hands were tied, if you can’t win with payroll you got time to leave. And Mr, Cashman you have skated long enough

Graceann DiFiore Spano This team will not move to the next level until Cashman is gone. He built a one-dimensional team. PERIOD!!!

Edmund Jones Firing Boone will not change the mentality or makeup of this team. Cashman will just replace him with another robot analytical motion setter. The only way a major shift and change takes place is both Manager and General Manager need to go. Even this move, won’t help this year’s team but can change the course for next year…I also have thoughts on who should replace at both positions, but that’s another conversation.

Chuck Spillman They both need to go. It’s like they’re still waiting on this fairy tale team to be real instead of a dream team. We have 3 good hitters. And he traded Tauchman away. All this wasted money on a bunch of bench players

Archie Mccoy No but the hitting coach may. Whatever he’s telling them is not working. Get them some tapes of Tony Gwynn, Rod Carew, Ichiro, Pete Rose, and George Brett, and don’t let them out of the room until they can describe the principles of hitting a baseball. What we have is some jacked-up stances, swinging from the heels, trying to pull everything bull crap. If players would learn how to bunt they would stop the shifts. There’s a lot of doubles waiting to be had with a hard bunt down the 3rd baseline but they only think about the long ball and striking out is ok if you can hit 20 homers a year. Baseball is almost becoming unwatchable.

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Steve Contursi
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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.