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Tuesday Discussion: Boone?

January 9, 2024

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This is a simple one, that when we posed it to our writers, we knew we'd get some differences of opinion:


Is Aaron Boone a good baseball manager?


Here are the responses from our writers:

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Lincoln Mitchell - No.

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Tim Kabel - He is not a good manager. He is a placeholder. He is a steward. He is not a leader. He does not think on his feet. He is not able to respond to crises or situations that require immediate attention. he is often just standing there, staring vacantly into space. I don’t think he’s the worst manager ever but, he is not good. I don’t believe the Yankees will ever win a World Series with him in charge. 

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Mike Whiteman - The thing about looking at managers is that there are not a lot of metrics to break down a manager's performance. So, much of what we're expressing is opinion, and there are no shortages of opinions about Aaron Boone!


Here's what we know:


Aaron Boone's managerial winning percentage is .585, which ranks tenth all-time amongst managers with at least 500 wins.


The Yankees have outperformed their Pythagorean Win-Loss record four out of the five full seasons Boone has managed the team. Their cumulative record is seven wins more than the Yanks Pythag during his tenure. So by this measure the Yanks have outperformed the talent provided to him. 


Which makes sense. The universal consensus amongst fans and media is that the Yankees front office/ownership have not gone "all-in" on building the team since Boone was hired in 2017 and have made a long list of questionable personnel decisions. Yet, the Yanks have averaged 95 wins per season during Boone's tenure with these flawed teams. His 2019 performance, the year of "next man up" in which the team was decimated by injuries, was Manager of the Year caliber, and he finished a close second place in the voting.  


The thing that obviously holds Boone back from being considered a very good or great manager is that he has yet to lead the team to the World Series. His window of opportunity is likely closing soon, so 2024 is a crucial season in his managerial career. 


So in short, my answer would be that Boone is good, but has a ways to go to be considered great.

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Paul Semendinger - (I wrote this the other day in a comment about Aaron Boone):


I think it's fair to say that Boone isn't a good manager.


I have never heard a player or opponent say, "Boone is great at managing." I've never heard anyone say, "Part of beating the Yankees is staying a step ahead of Boone." What they seem to say, to a person, is "He's a good guy. He comes from a baseball family. I like him."


We have also seen his decisions in real time for six years. They haven't been good.


And we have seen the Yankees being poor fundamentally - on the bases, situationally, and in the field. That all comes from the team's preparation which comes from the structure starting in Spring Training the manager creates.


Boone also hasn't been a good strategist. He seems innings behind time and again. And he hasn't grown in this area.

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Cary Greene - My answer to this question is that the answer depends upon whatever criteria one wishes to believe makes up the word good. Good to some is finishing a race, while to others, it may be finishing in the top 100 and yet, to a select few, good might be defined to them as winning most of the races they run in. 


I ran all the way through college and into my early 40's and to me, I viewed good differently over the years, as I went along in my running career. Aaron Boone ranks 8th all time among Yankees managers in winning percentage, with a .585 mark. He's also 8th all-time in wins, with 509. Some may view Boone as fitting the definition of being a good manager simply based his rank in these two categories and who am I to argue with them about it?


Personally, I view good through a lens centered on winning, not consistently coming up short.


That said, it's pretty clear that the Yankees organization manages the team, not Boone. Pushing buttons in-game isn't really Boone's job, in fact, I doubt he even gets to see the buttons. Nor does he put together lineups or make tough pitching decisions. In fact, he doesn't really even coach. Boone's job is to talk to the media and feeds them what they want to hear, to pacify them and show that he supports each player on his ill-conceived, narrow skill set rosters year in and year out. 


Is Boone good at doing what the Yankees hired him to do? Sure! In fact, I'd even say he's excellent. But is he a good manager? Not if success is defined by winning championships. But he wins enough to keep Hal Steinbrenner happy, and since Steinbrenner runs the team and he likes and supports Boone, then yes, Boone is good. Good enough. Just like Stienbrenner wants the Yankees to be. 


You see, Hal Stenbrenner doesn't measure the word good like a champion might measure it. He's a different breed altogether. 

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Ed Botti - On a macro level, to me a least, it’s not too difficult of an answer. Excluding the 60 games season in 2020, Boone is 476–334, a 58.7% winning percentage as a manager. Over 162 games that is a 95-67 record.

 

That in and of itself is very good.

 

However, when I look deeper on a micro level viewpoint, I see many things that I personally do not like. Whether that is a manifestation of the changing times and therefore the changing of the game is up to debate.

 

I do not like that he, (for lack of a better word) “babies” his players (IMO). I do not like that he does not employ a set line up night after night, and I do not like the way he manages his pitching staff.

 

I think it is a mistake to put the best hitter/power hitter in MLB as your 2 hitter.

 

But, most of all when I look at the Aaron Boone managed teams I see teams bereft of fundamentals, both offensively and defensively which may explain his 14-17 post season managerial record. There is a very thin line in professional sports between winning and losing. In most cases, it comes down to the team that makes the least amount of mistakes usually comes up the winner. Boone’s teams seem to make too many mistakes, for my liking.

 

Then my question become why?

 

If you were around to see Aaron as a player, it doesn’t make sense. If you were around to see his father as a player and a manager, it doesn’t make sense. I have been told (I am not old enough) that his grandfather Ray, played a fundamentally sound brand of baseball as well.

 

Aaron Boone played the majority of his career for Jack McKeon and his father Bob, in addition to Joe Torre for a brief stint in 2003 and Eric Wedge for 2 years. All of his mentors seemed to promote the fundamental skills needed to compete, and managed that way.

 

The $64,000 question then becomes why does he manage so drastically different then he played and how all the men that made lasting impressions on him managed?

 

Without being in the dugout, at pre-game meetings or at spring training it is hard to convincingly explain why a man that grew up in the game, and saw the game played a specific way, would then manage his team(s) in a considerably different manner.

 

And for that reason, and as crazy as this sounds after 6 seasons, I will lean towards putting it this way; I still do not know what type of manager his actually is.

 

I know this will spark some negative comments from some of our readers, but the one thing I can use to support my position, is that I have been told straight out by an ex-Yankee that frequents Yankee Stadium, that the games are pre-planned and mapped out before the first pitch is even thrown, and that Aaron is “instructed” in no uncertain terms to stick to the plan.

 

I have zero reasons to believe that I was lied to by this ex Yankee.

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Ethan Semendinger - During his time as a manager for the New York Yankees, I believe the highlight (or highlights) of Boone's tenure have been the many ejections and the tendency to overdo it in an attempt to become a viral sensation. Does this stem from his time as a television correspondent? That I do not have a theory about, however if the overwhelming feeling about Boone is that his ejections are the only thing interesting about him, he must obviously not be doing a good job.


And, even with having 33 ejections in just 6 seasons at the helm, even then his rate of 5.5 per year falls below that of all-time ejection holder Bobby Cox (with, a fitting, 162 ejections over 29 seasons). If Boone was to manage that long (god help us all), he would fall short with a career ejection count of either 159 or 160 (I'll let you determine if he gets that final half ejection to his credit or not).


If that's not indicative by showcasing he cannot get everything out of his own abilities, how can I believe he can get the most out of the Yankees team?


23 comments

23 comentários


Jeff Korell
Jeff Korell
09 de jan.

Aaron Boone has one major strength that must also be considered when evaluating him as a manager. He is a great communicator. He communicates well with his players. He has created a family atmosphere, and a great clubhouse, in which existing players go out of their way to welcome new players coming to the team, whether via trade, a free agent signing, or a rookie being called up to the major league club from the minor leagues for the first time. Players love playing for him. That is important. Players also love the fact that Boone gets himself ejected so many times defending his players when a call is made against them, especially a "balls and strikes" call, knowi…

Curtir
Jeff Korell
Jeff Korell
09 de jan.
Respondendo a

That's why I say "to a fault", because he is so careful not to speak negatively to the media about any of his players, so yes, it does force him to say "transparent BS" just to keep negative words from being picked up by the media in the hope that by doing so, it will maintain a positive attitude in the clubhouse and maintain good chemistry as a team.

Curtir

yankeesblog
09 de jan.

I don't buy for a minute the story that every game is pre-planned and mapped out before hand. It's ludicrous to think so no matter what some "insider" says. There are too many unforeseen events that happen during games for that to be even possible.


As Mike Tyson once said "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face". Well baseball teams get "punched in the face" a lot during the course of a season. Then its up to the manager, not the GM or the analytics department, to make in-game adjustments. Boone has not done well with this. That fact along with the sloppy base running, mental errors int he field and the lack of accountability for…

Curtir
Alan B.
Alan B.
10 de jan.
Respondendo a

👎👎

Curtir

Cary Greene
Cary Greene
09 de jan.

Given that the Yankees are wilting under a massively long championship drought, I think what Yankees fans want to see is for a manager to instill passion and fire in his players and if it means calling them out, benching them, screaming at them in the dugout --fans want to see someone doing what it takes to set the tone. Boone is a mickey mouse in this department. He's a player's manager. What we do know already is that this approach, this style of leadership, hasn't produced a championship.


But as I said above, Steinbrenner is cool with that. He's tolerant of Boone and Cashman both. They're his "peeps." Personally I think Steinbrenner has flushed a whole lot of coin…

Curtir

jjw49
09 de jan.

Good Manager... Yes. He has a winning record over his 6 years and if that is the measuring stick then he has succeeded, and he is excellent at blowing bubbles on the top step of the dugout, but beyond that it's all a matter of personal preference as noted by the posted comments. He should have a winning record given all the money and resources the Yankees provide. I think most Yankee fans want a manager that is better than GOOD!

Curtir

Frank Graziadei
Frank Graziadei
09 de jan.

Even if all decisions are made by Cashman's so-called elite analytical department and Boone just "follows orders" , he is still responsible for : players NOT hustling on the basepaths; players mental erros while in the field; and players lackadaisical play in the field, Boones motto seems to be the least that you can do is ok since we are friends and I got your back. He does not lead, he does not manage his players and he simply follows the pre-game orders of Mike Fishman and his analytical department. All with the blessing of Cashman. Good manager-are you kidding.

Curtir
Alan B.
Alan B.
10 de jan.
Respondendo a

Is Boone even allowed to hold them accountable by pulling them or sitting them? Remember, in 2023, there is no more real bench. Most of these guys real backups are playing in AAA. You think the GM is going to allow the manager to bench Stanton? I mean, c'mon man, Buck Showalter was forced into putting Daniel Vogelbauch in the lineup. Do it's not just here that the manager is forced to do what others want and it doesn't matter what he thinks,

Curtir
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