Aaron Boone and the Yankees agreed to a three-year extension despite a wildly disappointing season, and I’ll explain why that’s a good thing. By no means will I defend the job Boone has done in his first four seasons with the team because he’s been average at best, but the Yankees’ way forward to a World Series title is to focus on the players, not the manager.
This morning’s press conference from GM Brian Cashman suggested they’re doing exactly that.
Brian Cashman: There is a great deal of respect for what Aaron Boone brings to the table. pic.twitter.com/P7uv61NLB9
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) October 19, 2021
“The 2021 Yankees were like Jekyll/Hyde. Unstoppable at times and unwatchable at others,” Cashman said. And that’s precisely the takeaway Yankees fans should have on this team. They were inconsistent, and for a team spending north of $200 million, consistency should be a given.
Some will argue that lacking consistency is due to Aaron Boone’s lackadaisical coaching style, and they may have a point, however this roster doesn’t necessarily scream “consistent” either.
A starting rotation of Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes, Jameson Taillon, Corey Kluber, Jordan Montgomery, and occasionally Domingo German is being presented as an elite staff for Boone to work with? That’s an ace, when he’s pithing to his standards, a surprisingly impactful Nestor Cortes, and then a bundle of back-end starters.
Projects such as Taillon and Kluber, who haven’t pitched much the past two seasons, are suddenly expected to be plugged into the Bronx and led by Aaron Boone? Maybe Aaron Boone didn’t do an excellent job, but we can also acknowledge this roster hasn’t been up to Yankees standards either. This isn’t Coach Carter. You need talent to win titles in professional sports.
How about the lineup Aaron Boone was forced to pencil in all year? Clint Frazier was dismal all year and then eventually bowed out with a freak injury. Aaron Hicks didn’t play (per usual) due to another season-ending boo-boo. Gleyber Torres was putrid defensively at shortstop to the point he had to be moved back to second base, and the highest paid position player on the roster DJ LeMahieu played all season with a sports hernia. Which is to say ineffectively.
For the first year since 2019, Giancarlo Stanton was physically able to play his position for the second half of the year, and Aaron Judge was able to put together a healthy season for the first time since 2017.
I say all that to make the point that the Yankees have far too many question marks with their roster to shift all the blame onto Aaron Boone. Half this fan base insists on finding a scapegoat, claiming that this front office can plug in a Buck Showalter and suddenly all these problems go away. The New York Yankees aren’t a coach away from greatness and keeping their manager means they can begin to deal with the real problem: that dumpster fire of a roster.
According to Brian Cashman, their focus is “finding a shortstop,” and it’s refreshing to finally hear some transparency, even though he defended Gary Sanchez a moment later. Cashman didn’t exactly say Sanchez would be back, but he didn’t spill the beans either. The fact that he’s unsure about Gary Sanchez after another clunker of a season should have Yankees fans scared to death. For their sake, the Yankees better get back to focusing on the players to make their grand return to October baseball. After today, they should be hopeful.