Quite frankly, there’s been enough pressure on New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone over the last two seasons. Not even a .601 winning percentage will save him from the tabloids or Yankees Twitter. Championships only. That’s the expectation, as unfair as it is.
The target on Boone’s back got even larger after he signed a new four-year contract heading into a 2022 season that could make or break the foreseeable future for the Bombers. Aaron Judge headlines a group of talented players set to hit free agency once the campaign concludes.
Unfortunately, the crosstown Mets made it even worse for the Yankees’ skipper. They signed Max Scherzer, Starling Marte, Mark Canha and Eduardo Escobar — all of whom should’ve been Yankees’ targets to some varying degree — and then delivered the final blow last week when they brought in Buck Showalter to manage the squad for the next three seasons.
Showalter was yet another rumored Yankees target. Having worked for the YES Network, fans and analysts were speculating all of last year about whether he’d make the transition from the booth back to the dugout, and the timing was fitting since Boone’s contract was expiring.
Rumors even suggested owner Hal Steinbrenner endorsed making the switch, but general manager Brian Cashman and the front office convinced him otherwise, which led to Boone’s re-signing.
And now we’ll endure an entire year of comparing these two teams, from the front office all the way down to the final guy on the bench. But Boone stands to have it the worst out of anybody.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone is the biggest loser after the Mets signed Buck Showalter.
The biggest knock on the Yankees manager, at least among fans, is that he lacks gut instinct in key situations. When to remove a starter. Which reliever to bring in. Who to pinch hit. Who to start against a certain pitcher. Whether it’s Boone lacking that trait or the front office, in the current analytical age, neutering him of it, most agree that it’s non-existent.
On the other hand, Showalter has 20 years of managing experience, dating back to his debut season with the Yankees in 1992. He’s managed three others teams (Diamondbacks, Rangers and Orioles) and has a .506 winning percentage, largely because he inherited bad rosters and brought them back to relevance. He didn’t rise the ranks during a time where advanced stats and scripted games existed. He had no choice but to act on instinct and baseball acumen during high-pressure situations.
Couple that with the fact he’s been in the Yankees’ backyard the last few years working for the YES Network and seemingly diagnosing their problems in the postgame to near perfection, and it’s really going to look bad if he’s shining in Queens and if Boone stumbles for a third straight season.
We’re by no means saying this will be a slam dunk hire for the Mets and a worst-case scenario for the Yankees, but it might be smart to prepare for that potential reality and cope with the backlash because it isn’t going to be pleasant for anybody. And when Yankees fans start to notice Showalter’s postgames are filled with baseball speak, proper analysis and candor while Boone’s are the same old, “Well, uh, ya know, we did a great job out there despite losing 9-2 to the Tigers. Really loved the energy,” the groans will start to penetrate the sound barrier if the Mets are outperforming the Bombers.
Moral of the story: Showalter has always done more with less and Boone has managed two rosters on autopilot and has done less with more these last couple of seasons. He didn’t do an egregious job, but all it takes is a couple of shrewd decisions here and there and that’s the difference between hosting the AL Wild Card Game or getting romped on the road at Fenway Park by your most hated rival.