The Yankees’ 2021 season ended in disappointment, as the highly-touted offense underachieved and only barely made it into the Wild Card Game. That was the grand finale, as the Red Sox flattened the team at Fenway, ensuring a 12th consecutive season without World Series play in the Bronx.
Manager Aaron Boone has now been the man behind the last four October exits, at least three of which came earlier than expected. Fresh off the most exciting season in recent memory and a game shy of the 2017 World Series under former manager Joe Girardi, Boone’s 100-win club in 2018 fizzled against Boston in the postseason, winning only once in an Division Series loss. The Yankees rebounded to make it to Game 6 of the 2019 ALCS against the Astros before Jose Altuve’s walk-off homer stuck a dagger in the season, and Boone’s team has failed to reach that round since then, backsliding to another ALDS loss to the Rays in a shortened 2020 and the aforementioned Wild Card defeat in 2021.
Nonetheless, the Yankees announced that Boone will return to them as manager on a three-year contract with an option for 2025:
The New York Yankees today announced that they have re-signed Manager Aaron Boone to a three-year contract through the 2024 season with a club option for 2025.— Yankees PR Dept. (@YankeesPR) October 19, 2021
In the modern game with plenty of communication with the front office, the team skipper can only impact his team so much, and it’s entirely reasonable to say that Boone is not the sole reason for the Yankees’ underwhelming results since the end of 2019. It’s entirely reasonable to say that the talented players should simply play better, as they’re the ones who are actually on the field.
Owner Hal Steinbrenner acknowledged that the results have been lackluster, as well:
Hal Steinbrenner: “We need to get better. Period. I know Aaron fully embraces our expectations of success, and I look forward to drawing on his intelligence, instincts and leadership in pursuit of our next World Series championship.”— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) October 19, 2021
But has Boone truly done enough to merit a return? I don’t think so, but, well, I don’t get a vote. None of us fans really do. It’s all dependent on the whims of Steinbrenner and general manager Brian Cashman, and since they’ve always liked him, Boone is the man who will manage the 2022 Yankees and beyond. The Yankees are fond of claiming that they hold themselves to a higher standard and that they always have a championship pedigree, but sticking with Boone is one of several instances from the past few years in which they’ve seemingly settled rather than going all-in on a likely better solution out there.
Boone might not have coaches like Phil Nevin, Marcus Thames, and P.J. Pilittere this time around, but the skipper will be back. Players like Aaron Judge will be happy, but with all due respect to the clubhouse, you’d be hard-pressed to find a large group of fans content with Boone.
Maybe the Yankees right. I really hope so because I miss seeing them in the World Series and capable of beating teams in the postseason outside of the AL Central! Unfortunately, I’m not optimistic that Boone is the man for the job. Multiple teams have been clearly better than the Yankees since the start of 2020, too many vital young players (Gleyber Torres, Gary Sánchez, and more) have stumbled under his leadership, and managing the clubhouse was supposed to be Boone’s strength — albeit without having had any previous experience before being hired for 2018. As a strategist, he’s no Casey Stengel, either.
Alas, here we are. Let’s see what happens.