Boone replaces Joe Girardi, whose contract was not renewed after a surprising season that saw the Yankees make the playoffs and knock off the World Series favorite Cleveland Indians. Ultimately falling to the eventual World Series champion Houston Astros. The Yankees interviewed multiple candidates for this job, including former Mariners manager Eric Wedge and newly retired Carlos Beltran, but believe that Aaron Boone is the man for the job. This will be Aaron Boone’s first time managing any ball club, minor league or otherwise after he retired from the Major Leagues in 2009. Of course, his career moment came off of Boston Red Sox knuckleballer, Tim Wakefield, in the 2003 ALCS when he hit a walk-off home run in the 11th inning of Game 7 to send the New York Yankees to the 2003 World Series.
Especially for a ball club that expects playoff berths every year; Boone’s only professional playoff experience is the 2003 postseason. The owner of the Yankees, Hal Steinbrenner, surely does not seem concerned. In a statement, Steinbrenner spoke highly of his new skipper. “I firmly believe that Aaron possesses the attributes needed to follow in the tradition of great Yankees managers. From all accounts, he is a polished communicator who possesses the ability to cultivate and grow relationships…Aaron’s name is already etched into Yankees history, and my family and I are excited to welcome him back to this franchise.” High praise coming from a man whose father went through 20 different managers during his tenure owning the team.
GM Brian Cashman was equally praiseworthy saying, “When we had the opportunity to speak with Aaron and share concepts and ideas, he was able to showcase a variety of traits that we believe will strongly benefit this franchise as we move forward, including an astute mind for the game and a progressive approach to evolving strategies. We also believe Aaron’s interpersonal skills and baseball pedigree will allow him to blend well with the systems we have in place…” Interpersonal skills are something mentioned in both statements released by Cashman and Steinbrenner, something that Joe Girardi is said to have lacked during his time with the club.
We know the public and media will be nice to him…as they recount his home run. Then it will be down to the business of wins and losses and returning the Yankees to a perennial postseason juggernaut. We have seen the roster and while there are some gleaming pieces in Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez there are also the old timers, the veterans, in Chase Headley, C.C. Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, and Jacoby Ellsbury just to name a few. That is where the trepidation begins to enter the mind. The Yankees are looking to a first-time manager to be the bridge between the old regime and the new, young workhorses of the future. A former player who hung his spikes up less than a decade ago will now be tasked to identify with the young guy and understand the old guy and finesse those relationships for the greater good of the team.
I truly hope Aaron Boone has a successful tenure as the manager of the New York Yankees however long or short that may be. The Yankees want a young mind at the helm that is open to the new way of baseball, who will manage with analytics and less gut. I think they could have found a better option to lead this team forward, but the die has been cast. As the newly hired manager said, “I can’t wait to get to work — and that work starts now.”