The Yankees announced on Tuesday what had been expected since the end of their season: Aaron Boone will return as manager to try and complete what he started when he was named to the position back in 2018.
GM Brian Cashman addressed the extension of the man who has helped lead the pinstripes to four straight postseason berths over his tenure, saying that Boone is someone the organization feels possesses the right characteristics to continue leading their clubhouse. In fact, he'd be the man they'd be looking at on the free agent market if they'd let him go in the first place.
"To be quite honest, if he was entering the free agent market, I believe he’d be the number one managerial candidate in baseball," Cashman told reporters via Zoom. "There’s a number of different vacancies and we would be going into the market looking for someone like him. I think he’s been a good hire and he’s going to be a continued good hire in that position.
"I would reiterate that I thought Aaron Boone was part of the solution. Wasn’t a problem or the problem. Listen, I think Aaron brings a lot of great qualities. He’s a great baseball mind, comes from an amazing family that has a history in this industry for quite some time. But his ability to connect, to communicate, to be open-minded. He’s had a lot of success here despite obviously our postseason ultimate results because our big goal happens to be a championship."
But it was still a little ominous that the Yankees and Boone were in a sort of limbo as the world awaited their ultimate decision. Yes, his contract was up and the Yanks once again fell short of that ultimate goal Cashman mentioned.
However, the Yanks were said to be leaning toward the extension and now the three-year pact (with an option for a fourth year) has come.
"This is definitely the place I want to be," Boone said. "My family and I are here. The reality is I know the rumors and everything that we’re out there, but they were only that. I never stopped being under contract with the Yankees and myself and my agent and my family have treated it as such.”
Boone's coaching staff, though, is going to look very different with hitting coach Marcus Thames, third base coach Phil Nevin, and assistant hitting coach P.J. Pilittere all relieved of their duties.
The right formula is out there for Boone's staff, and the Yankees will eventually find it. But Cashman added one last bit that he feels is the crux of why the team believes he's the right man for the job once again.
“He has grown and will continue to grow and that’s why we’re attracted to him because it’s not like it’s a finished product," he explained. "That’s what you don’t want. You don’t want to be in a position of ‘This is what you get and that’s all you’re getting.’ This is the floor essentially. In his case, I think ultimately he’s grown into being one of the better managers in the game.”
Cashman also acknowledges that a lot of what happened, particularly this season, falls on himself.
"In terms of this particular program, the 2021 year, there was certainly a lot of frustration I’m going to take responsibility for because it’s my operation. We went backwards in categories that we certainly didn’t see coming or expect.
“I’m in charge of personnel. I’m in charge of bringing the best talent I possibly can and there was maybe at times, again this was a tough team for some reason to figure out. This was a year that I might say was my toughest."
Two areas he specifically pointed out were the bullpen and the offense, with the latter being the biggest one that surprised the baseball community. The lineup, which is normally a powerful force that pitchers never want to face, had ups and downs throughout the season and ultimately trade acquisitions couldn't make things work.
But that's what Cashman and the rest of the organization faces as they head into the offseason. How does this team find balance in the lineup? How do they upgrade areas of need, like shortstop, which Cashman touched on briefly?
“I think a manager is only as good as the players he’s got," Cashman said.
With that understanding, the Yankees are confident Boone will take whoever shows up to Tampa for spring training and "go to war," as Cashman put it.
Boone owns a 328-218 record as manager of the Yankees. And that record will continue to go on for the next three seasons.