When the Yankees inked Aaron Boone to a three year deal, it included a team option for 2021 which most believed the team would take after his first two seasons.
In both 2018 and 2019 Boone managed to lead his team to 100 and 103 wins respectively and was in the running for manager of the year both times. The team was bounced by an historic Red Sox team, and nearly made it to the World Series in 2019. Energetic and animated Boone seemed to be the perfect replacement for drill sergeant Joe Girardi until the team came crashing down about half way into the 2020 season.
Now the love most fans had for Savages-In-The-Box Boone quickly faded as they watch him mismanage the bullpen and botch the lineup. Perhaps some doubt has crept in about that fourth year option for Boone.
In almost no time, the conversation has shifted from “manager of the year” to “manger no more” but I don’t think Yankee fans are being realistic when they speculate that Boone wont return to the Yankee clubhouse in 2021. Let me tell you why.
The 2020 season is a wash
We all know baseball just isn’t meant to be played this way. It’s not a sport that can be played with a full week off and then seven games in five days. The injuries are excessive, the bullpen is way over worked and the starting rotation is either getting too much rest or not enough. The reality is that every player can make a good case as to why 2020 just wasn’t their year and so can Aaron Boone.
I think the Yankees front office will give Boone some leeway because of the extenuating circumstances of the season. This seems even more likely to me considering no new contract needs to be negotiated. If Boone’s contract was up maybe the Yankees walk away not wanting to sign a new contract with a manager who just had what most would consider a horrendous season.
With two solid years of managing under his belt, its easy to see why the Yankees would exercise the fourth year option to bring Boone back to either prove he’s as good as he was in ’18 and ’19 or as bad as he was in ’20. The $1.15 million the Yankees will dish out to Boone for the 2021 season isn’t even close to the over $6 million the highest paid mangers make, making it even more reasonable for them to give him another shot before looking for a new skipper.
Boone is exactly the type of manger the Yankee front office wants
The Yankees didn’t get rid of Joe Girardi because of a decline in production. Sure, he hadn’t led the team to a World Series since his second year on the job in 2009 but not for a lack of trying.
Girardi had a winning record every year, sometimes with lackluster teams. It wasn’t Girardi’s coaching ability that ultimately got him replaced, but his coaching style, which the Yankees front office felt had gotten stale.
Girardi was a hard-nosed manager who did things his way, and that wasn’t what the front office wanted. It was also reported that Girardi’s intensity every single day wore on the young platers. The Yankees didn’t want someone as strong willed as Girardi, and that’s why Boone was the perfect fit.
Boone is the perfect guy to have fun with and relate to players while quietly nodding his head in agreement whenever Cashman opens his mouth. This week, Cashman addressed the team after what has been a horrible losing streak. This move by Cashman proves my point perfectly. Things aren’t left up to Boone, he’s just the guy on the bench. Boone doesn’t go with his gut, he doesn’t make the decisions – he listens and he listens well. The Yankees don’t want a Buck Showalter or Terry Francona, they want an Aaron Boone.
The bounce back
The Yankees don’t give up on a productive manager just because he has one bad year. In fact, Girardi re-signed with the Yankees after what at the time was his worst coaching year, so I just don’t think they give up on Boone just yet. I also don’t think this season is a valid representation of this team or any other team for that matter.
I’m not trying to excuse away whats been happening on the field recently. I am trying to convince myself that this team and Boone are capable of so much more under better circumstances. Boone can easily bounce back from whatever has been happening over the last 20 games. I think we will start to see a recovery soon and next season will be even better for this team. Boone will take his option year and make the best of it. If he does, I have no doubt the Yankees will re-sign him to another more valuable contract.