The ex-Yankee first baseman and current ESPN baseball analyst told Peter Botte of the New York Daily News on Saturday that the club’s hiring of Boone was a smart decision, as the former ESPN employee has the right personality and mentality to lead a young, promising team to future championships.
“Great hire. Not surprised that [general manager Brian Cashman] went with a Boonie-type, just because of how well-respected he is in the baseball industry, not only from his knowledge, but also just the way he communicates and gets along with people and understands the dynamics of the clubhouse so well,” Teixeira said. “I played against Boonie for years during my career and I got to work with him this entire year at ESPN.
“When the job opening came up with the Yankees, internally at ESPN we all were like, ‘Hey, they need to interview Boonie.’ He’s exactly the type of guy they should be looking for and that’s exactly what happened.”
On Friday, the Daily News reported that Boone will be Joe Girardi’s successor as skipper, although the Yankees have yet to make an official announcement. The team’s list of candidates was limited to six, and both Boone and San Francisco Giants’ bench coach Hensley Meulens were reportedly the two finalists to land the job. The latter four interviewees were Carlos Beltran (who received much praise from Cashman and Yankees’ owner Hal Steinbrenner), Rob Thomson (who is expected to the join the Philadelphia Phillies staff as bench coach, per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki), Eric Wedge, and Chris Woodward.
Although Boone has no managerial experience at the professional level, the 44-year-old has never separated himself from the game. As a third-generation major leaguer, Boone believes he has been “preparing for this job” his entire life, and this sentiment was a key takeaway in his conversation with the New York media following his interview at Yankee Stadium back on Nov. 17.
“I feel like I am the guy who can help these guys go into another level as players,” Boone told reporters in a teleconference. “I find myself managing games all the time and thinking about strategies and how I would handle different situations. It’s fair to question my experience in actually doing the job, but I would say in a way I’ve been preparing for this job for the last 44 years.”
There may be no way to determine what Boone’s strengths and weaknesses will be as a skipper, but Teixeira told Botte that he knows Boone is more than capable of teaching and learning.
“While he hasn’t been a manager, his experience is vast in every other aspect of the game and understanding what a manager’s job is,” Teixeira said. “I believe the reason he was hired is the Yankees have a great young core of players, super-talented. But there’s gonna be ups and downs and times when these players are going to get tight. It’s the manager’s job to let these guys know that he’s got their back, that the team has their back, and to go out there and play loose and have fun.
“The last thing you want is for players to play tight and be afraid to fail. I think Boonie’s communication skills will help with those young guys.”
Following the Yankees’ dismissal of Girardi, who managed the club to 10 consecutive winning seasons, Teixeira told reporters that his former manager handled every game as if it was a Game 7. It’s no secret now that Girardi was let go due to his lack of communication and relatability with players, both young and old.
“As an analyst, I’ve had to be very candid about this. I tell people that everyone likes Joe. Joe was well-respected, universally respected throughout this organization, but the issue is the uptightness that he can sometimes show in his actions and in the clubhouse and not being able to communicate with players,” Teixeira told Botte. “That’s not what you want for good, young, talented players. The worst thing a young player can do is play tight and not know where he stands with his manager, with his front office, his teammates. I think that was one of the things that Joe wasn’t the best at, and ultimately that’s why Cash went with an Aaron Boone-type guy.”
Once the Yankees formally introduce Boone as manager, he will become the 35th skipper in franchise history.