The New York Yankees have one of the worst records in the American League and MLB. No one expected them to be struggling as badly as they are now. It’s truly surprising and distressing.
Of course, we are only about 10% into the new 2021 season, so there’s plenty of time for the Bombers to kick it into high gear and begin winning games convincingly. After all, we’ve seen them in the past suddenly catch fire and go on a tear. However, whether the current meltdown is a precursor of what’s to come this year is uncertain.
Manager Aaron Boone, despite his faults, is not on the chopping block at this point in time. GM Brian Cashman suggested as much at a recent news conference. But if the Yanks don’t turn things around in the coming weeks, it could be arrivederci for the amiable skipper.
The Yankees have not removed a manager from his post in the middle of a season since 1990. So don’t expect that to happen, even though it feels like he could be on the hot seat. At the very least, in a worst-case scenario, the organization could allow him to finish the season, not extend his contract, and look for a replacement during the offseason. Time will tell.
The roots of the present burnout can arguably be traced back to the Yanks lackluster performance at the end of the shortened 2020 pandemic season. For whatever reason, the team went on cruise control and began losing games.
Given how poorly they have continued to play this season and the apparent failure of the players to respond to an animated team meeting held last Friday, it’s not unreasonable to begin contemplating who could be the next Yankees’ manager.
First, let’s identify the essential qualifications for said candidate.
In short, the next Yankees’ manager should:
- Have previous experience managing in the MLB (preferably in a large market with somewhat tough media)
- Be able to communicate with and teach today’s young players but hold them accountable
- Possess a healthy balance between a taskmaster and an empathetic listener/caring mentor
- Be a baseball visionary but also a strategic thinker
- Have a Yankee connection if possible
- Know how to utilize analytics but also realize that there’s a uniquely human element to the game that must also be considered
Admittedly, no one individual will have all of these traits. However, managerial candidates should possess many of them. So let’s dive in.
Here are some managerial candidates for the Yankees who could take over for Aaron Boone.
As Yankees fans know, Don Mattingly was an outstanding baseball player who spent his entire 14-year (1982-1995) career with the team. He won the AL MVP award in 1985. He also was a six-time All-Star, three-time Silver Slugger, nine-time Gold Glover, and batting title champion.
He ended his playing days with a .307 lifetime batting average, but somehow isn’t in the Hall of Fame.
Mattingly has had a lot of success as an MLB manager. He was the skipper of the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2011-2015. During his time with them, he went 446-363 and made three postseason appearances.
Following his five-year stretch with the Dodgers, Mattingly became the field general for the Miami Marlins. After four straight losing seasons, he guided the Marlins to a 31-29 record in 2020 after the club had lost 105 games the prior year. As a result of this spectacular turnaround, he was named the National League Manager of the Year.
Mattingly accepted a two-year extension for 2020 and 2021 with a player-club mutual option for 2022. He seems to have enjoyed his stint with the Marlins. However, the team insisted that he take a hefty pay cut to continue to manage the team as part of the new agreement. In addition to the team’s limited financial resources, it is true that manager salaries have also declined over time.
How much he is unhappy with the forced pay cut is unknown. He did not complain publicly. However, the salary cut might have left him embittered. He may now be willing to jump ship and accept another managerial offer by another team.
Following his retirement as a player, he expressed a strong interest in managing the Yankees. But he was never offered the position. Instead, Joe Torre was hired, which turned out great for the boys from the Bronx. The Yanks are likely in an excellent position to woo him away from the Marlins for the 2022 season.