While no one outside of beat writers and fans is saying it out in the open, Yankee manager Aaron Boone may not have the same title next season. It’s always tough to replace a manager that enjoyed significant success, as Joe Girardi enjoyed in that billet, and Joe Torre before him. It’s not that Boone is a bad guy, or that he hasn’t done fairly well in certain aspects of his job, it’s that with the season winding down, it’s becoming clearer that his lack of coaching and managerial experience is on display.
While Boone isn’t to blame for everything, as was pointed out at NJ Advance Media who graded Boone’s performance, he is the head on the chopping block. If the Yankees fail this postseason, it would not be managing partner Hal Steinbrenner taking the bullet, nor will it be general manager Brian Cashman ordering his own firing. It will be Boone going down for the count.
Although Steinbrenner has a different style than his father did, he did can Joe Girardi who took a heavily rookie team to game seven of the ALCS, in part, for saying catcher Gary Sanchez needed to lose weight and get in shape. That is a move very reminiscent of George M. Steinbrenner III. There were other reasons in the press release, but anyone that follows baseball could sit and watch the relationship between the pair sour in real time until the season was over.
Aaron Boone has been absolutely brutal this season. Ignore the record and focus more on the collapse - then you’ll see it #Yankees— Brian Rappaport (@BRappy55) September 13, 2018
Boone may do a good job with the press, and he manages the way he is ordered to, which is by what the algorithm tells him to do, as reported at NJ Advance Media and numerous in-game broadcasts by the YES Network announcing team. It’s no secret that Cashman wanted a less experienced manager that would follow the analytics to a tee, and he got one.
That is why you see moves such as pulling Luis Severino in the sixth inning with a pitch count in the low 80s and two outs in a one-run game. The analytics dictated David Robertson had better odds to get the out than Severino did facing a batter for the third time. It did work, but it also burns the bullpen unnecessarily. Managing pitchers is where Boone gets dinged the hardest. He is graded at C- for his use of starters and the bullpen. Many announcers question why he doesn’t push back at least a little, to let his starters actually throw 100 pitches or more or go deeper into games.
There has been discussion that he has let players take the field with minor injuries that became big problems because they didn’t get proper rest, such as Aroldis Chapman. He got a grade of D for how he’s handled Gary Sanchez by NJ Advance Media.
“Boone’s response to this very poor season has been relentless insistence that Sanchez is going to be a great hitter again and that his defense is improving. No surprise there. Management didn’t like Sanchez being called out last season publicly by Joe Girardi, so there’s no way Boone is going to be anything but positive. Management wants it this way, so its rookie manager is going to obey orders.”
He’s taken a beating over how he’s used players. There is no arguing the Yankees had injury problems this year, but using players in roles they had no experience in, such as infielder Neil Walker in right field for the first time in his career for several games, was odd. Yanks Go Yard said that his lack of knowledge is no secret and is largely why the Yankees are struggling.
“Right now, the Yankees are in a spiral from an implosion that is somewhat due to a lack of knowledge that comes from their rookie manager. He has absolutely zero experience coaching at any professional level and it has shown all season.”
Aaron Boone: "Baseball will punch you in the mouth every now and then ... We're clearly facing a little bit of adversity right now and we'll embrace it." pic.twitter.com/Y031ptgxLn— YES Network (@YESNetwork) September 13, 2018
Boone was a decent player and will always be one of the “3 B’s” that haunt Boston (Babe, Bucky, Boone), and for that he has a place in Yankee lore, but that alone won’t save him if the Yankees fail to win in the postseason. Sentimentality and a successful previous season didn’t get Torre the deal he wanted, it didn’t save Girardi, and it won’t save him.
He has been placed in a very tough environment where anything short of winning the World Series is a failure. He isn’t getting to make all of his own calls regarding strategy or personnel. He has no real experience and takes heat from fans and the media even when the team is winning. He’s doing the best he can, but it isn’t enough. Boone may be a good manager one day, but it probably won’t be with the Yankees.