Why Aaron Boone stays on despite repeated Yankees failures to win a title

Aaron Boone and Brian Cashman during a training season.

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Aaron Boone ranks among the greatest survivors among MLB managers. He lost his position in the Yankees’ team as a player in 2004 after injuring himself. But as a manager, he stays on despite the Yankees’ failure to proceed to the World Series in his five years. Despite a highly demanding atmosphere where many players feel suffocated and unusual brutal fan reactions are common, Boone is set to return in 2023 as the manager.

Aaron Boone’s first managerial year in 2018 ended with a 3-1 ALDS defeat. In 2019, the Yankees went down to Houston in the ALCS. They fell in the ALDS in 2020. Boone got a contract extension in 2021 despite the Yankees losing the Wild Card game.

After his team lost to the Astros in the ALCS, the fans are up in the arms against the manager seeking his dismissal. However, owner Hal Steinbrenner told The Associated Press last month that he wouldn’t be making a change at the manager’s job and Aaron Boone was “a very good manager.” This put an end to rumors that Boone’s job was in danger.

Friday, the Yankees‘ general manager, Brian Cashman, went one step further and said that Boone, who is in his fifth season as manager, “did a great job.”

In the second half of the season and the playoffs, Aaron Boone was criticized for making some questionable decisions. For example, he pulled Gerrit Cole in ALCS Game 3 only after six innings and replaced him with Lou Trivino when no one was out. He also used Clarke Schmidt a lot in key situations out of the bullpen, and he didn’t tell Clay Holmes he wasn’t available for Game 3 of the ALDS in Cleveland.

Even though Aaron Boone made mistakes like these, Cashman defended him. He also had the backing of the team owner.

Cashman said at Yankee Stadium on Friday:

“His process is good. He does a great job. And he’s not afraid to deal with the obvious in the biggest market, which is talking through things as best he can when they don’t work out. But I support him 110 percent.”

Now, Cashman is without a contract. However, he seems to be safe in his job and the pair is likely to stay together for at least another year.

Even though the Yankees have been a team for five years, they haven’t been to the World Series since 2009. This isn’t surprising when you think about how they’ve made the playoffs every year.

“When you succeed, you don’t second-guess yourself as much, but when you fail, you do it a lot,” Cashman said. “Anyone can be picked apart at any time.”

Dusty Baker of Houston and Rob Thomson of Philadelphia have both done things that have made people look twice at times on their way to the World Series.

Cashman made it clear that neither Boone nor his coaching staff does anything that bothers him.

“I do not question his process,’’ Cashman said of Boone. “I do not question his commitment with his staff and being in the best position they possibly can to make in-game decisions. They’re not easy. They’re really difficult as the ebbs and flows of these innings play out and what’s available for you that day. I certainly believe in Aaron Boone and know he’s paid to make difficult decisions on the run. I know a lot goes into them. Every one he makes, am I going to agree with? The answer’s obviously not going to be yes. But I know I’m certainly not capable of managing a major league team. There’s very few people that are. I think he’s really good at it.”

He also respects Boone’s ability and willingness to deal with the scrutiny that comes with the job.

“Also, being able to take criticism or stand up and explain why you make the decisions you do is part of the job,” Cashman said.

During Cashman’s press conference, which came after Aaron Boone’s, the GM said that injuries to key players were a big reason why the Yankees’ second half and postseason weren’t as good as their first half.

“I think he’s got a great demeanor and rapport with his players and when we were firing on all cylinders and healthy, we were tough to beat. It was fun to watch. Then, along the way, at the worst time possible — August and September — the wheels started falling off with injuries. Timing is everything. So that changes the equation and ultimately we didn’t get as far as we’d hoped with the entire crew we wanted. But [Boone] never wavered and his staff never wavered in, ‘How can we figure this out?’ and ‘We’ll find a way.’ ”

Aaron Boone told that he wasn’t worried about his future after the team didn’t make the playoffs. He’s happy with how he and his staff worked together.

“I’m happy with how we do things, how I do things,” Boone stated, “You’re always trying to judge it, get better at it, and get better at it over time. I think both I and we have done that. … I think we’re a very tight-knit organization that does what it does very well.”

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