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Perspectives – Is It Time For A Change of Managers?

by Paul Semendinger

June 28, 2021

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Let me begin with a disclaimer.

Joe Torre is a Hall-of-Fame manager. That being said, he didn’t win often enough with the Mets, Braves, or Cardinals to keep his job with those teams. Those clubs decided that it was time for a change in leadership.

Casey Stengel is a Hall-of-Fame manager. He never won with the Brooklyn Dodgers or the Boston Braves. As such, he didn’t keep his job.

Bobby Cox wasn’t consider a Hall-of-Fame manager when he was with the Braves (the first time) of the Toronto Blue Jays.

This list goes on and on.

Sometimes there can be a good manager, or a great manager, that doesn’t win. In fact, it happens all the time. And when that happens, managers lose their jobs. This is especially true when managers have teams that are predicted for greatness and fall short of their goals.

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Aaron Boone might be a good manager. He might, one day, be a great manager. He might even become a Hall-of-Fame manager.

That being said, I think it is becomes more and more clear, each and every day, that he is not the manager that is able to get the most out of these Yankees. More, I do not believe that he is the manager who will be able to get the most out of the 2022 and beyond Yankees.

That is where, I believe, the Yankees are now.

They need to begin to look to 2022 and beyond.

Aaron Boone’s contract ends at the end of this season.

If he isn’t the manager who can bring this club to the next level (not this year, but going forward), it is time to move on…

***

I didn’t think Aaron Boone was the right manager when the Yankees hired him. I didn’t understand giving a team on the cusp of a championship to a person who never managed before. Still, after his first season, and his second, and even after his third, I wrote, very clearly on these pages, that Aaron Boone deserved to come back as the manager.

But now, I think it is becoming clear that Aaron Boone isn’t the right manager not just for the 2021 Yankees. I am concerned that he won’t be the right manager for the 2022 and beyond Yankees.

And, for the record, even though I didn’t think Boone was the right manager for the job, I am sad that it hasn’t worked out.

I wish it had.

I wish the Yankees had some World Series banners from the last few years flying over the stadium today.

***

In listening to the Yankee broadcasts on YES and on the radio, I have heard the announcers saying variations of the following:

“The Yankees are not prepared.”

“There is no urgency.”

“They are very poor with the fundamentals.”

“The Yankees make too many mental mistakes.”

On and on.

And on.

In addition, each week I scour the news for the Saturday Links posts.

I have yet to find a writer or announcer, anywhere, that says good things about the Yankees preparation. They don’t play well fundamentally. And they haven’t under Aaron Boone’s leadership. Not since the start.

@dcone36 has been killing #Yankees during @YESNetwork broadcast, says they were unprepared to play today. He’s right. #Yankees are being embarrassed by #RedSox — Bob Klapisch (@BobKlap) June 27, 2021

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I believe that stressing the fundamentals is the manager’s job.

Getting the team prepared is the manager’s job.

After this series against the Red Sox, where the Yankees played with no real energy, played sloppy baseball, and were outclassed in every way by the Red Sox, it showed, demonstratively, that the manager of the Yankees is failing at these aspects of his job.

If he couldn’t get the team up and ready for this series, then there is a problem.

You can’t have a team that’s supposed to be battling for a pennant being “unprepared.”

That’s a problem. It’s a big problem.

And it’s a direct reflection of the manager.

A manager who cannot prepare his team is a manager who isn’t doing his job.

***

When a team shows up not prepared and is embarrassed by their #1 rival in a very important mid-season series, that’s a reflection on the manager.

When the team is that unprepared, it’s time for the manager to go.

***

The Yankees are now 40-37.

They have not defeated the Red Sox this year.

The last two seasons, the Yankees are just 73-64. Over 162 games, that’s an 84 win team.

The sample size is large enough to see how the Yankees play and perform under Aaron Boone. There is now a significant body of work.

And over the last few years, that body of work has been uninspiring.

***

We have seen, reported, commented, and written about the fact that the Yankees have played poor fundamental baseball for the last four seasons.

In Boone’s first two years, the Yankees overcame this and won anyway.

They haven’t since.

And they’ve regressed.

Players who should be performing aren’t. The young stars who were supposed to rise up, haven’t.

It is the manager and his coaches who must take blame for the fact that the players have not improved these last many years.

Again, if that’s not part of the responsibilities of the manager, I don’t know what it.

I cannot think of any Yankees player who has visibly improved these last four years. The guys that were supposed to be stars aren’t.

Just go down the list…

***

If the Yankees were losing, but playing hard, giving their all, being scrappy, having energy, playing good fundamental baseball, there would be something there. If that were so, one could say, “They just aren’t good enough.” That happens.

If that were the case, we could say, “The manager has them playing hard. They’re giving it what they can.”

But that’s not the case with this team. All agree that this is a talented team (even with a flawed roster.) This is a team that is not living up to its talent and has not lived up to its talent.

***

It’s time for the Yankees to make a change, to change the vibe, to bring in new energy.

The time for a change is now.

***

As I have said before, I don’t think a new manager can save the 2021 Yankees.

But I do think it’s time to start thinking about the 2022 Yankees.

It is time to see how a new manager deals with the current roster. Can a new manager bring new energy? Can the new manager get the team playing fundamentally sound baseball?

We need to see if the problem is the players or the manager (or both).

The only way to find that out is to make the change now.

I think waiting until after the season to make a change is the wrong move.

If they Yankees cannot improve their play, that speaks to the players. If a managerial change doesn’t get some players to play a better style of play, when then it is probably time to move on from some of those players. This is data the Yankees need as they build for 2022 and beyond.

I don’t believe that they’re now looking at a 2022 Championship. I think they need to begin to determine which players will be the core of the next Yankees championship – the one they should be building towards, a few years from now. It seems clear that the window has closed (or is closing fast) on this club. The Yankees have to be looking to the next tomorrows.

***

The Yankees mediocre play will continue this year. As the losses mount and this continues, there will be more and more calls to change the manager.

The time for a big decision is now.

If the Yankees like what they have seen from Aaron Boone during his tenure, they should extend his contract right now to end all the speculation. State clearly, “He’s our guy now and for the foreseeable future.”

I wouldn’t agree with that assessment, but I would give the Yankees credit for taking a bold stand and sticking to their guns. If he has demonstrated what the franchise wants and needs in a manager, then they should give him that vote of confidence now.

If the Yankees do not feel he is the manager for 2022 and beyond, they should make the move now to best prepare for the coming years and see how the team performs under a different leadership style.

***

It was a bold experiment, giving a team with championship aspirations to a novice manager.

Those championships didn’t come.

I wish they had.

#AaronBoone #BrianCashman

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