Entering a season ripe for change, the New York Yankees waited until mid-March to make any sort of shakeups after the 2021 Red Sox unceremoniously knocked them out of the postseason in one single game.
Eventually, New York’s front office acquiesced, dumping Gary Sánchez, Gio Urshela and Luke Voit while upping the athleticism by acquiring Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Josh Donaldson.
Some expected the overhaul to begin the day after the 2021 season ended, though, with both manager Aaron Boone and general manager Brian Cashman theoretically twisting in the wind together after putting a clearly flawed (and mismanaged) product on the field the year prior.
Instead, New York’s brass not only ended Boone’s lame duck status but extended him beyond most fans’ wildest nightmares, guaranteeing him three seasons.
Twisting the knife on Thursday, Red Sox manager Alex Cora endorsed the extension, calling Boone a “great manager.”
Are we sure that’s why Cora was celebrating the deal? Or was he just relieved to get more chances to run circles around his closest rival?
Alex Cora celebrated Aaron Boone’s Yankees extension
Since Cora took over the helm of the Red Sox in 2018, the story’s been the same. Regular season matchups? Those always seem to even out; even in Boston’s 108-win campaign in their World Series-winning season, the Yankees finished 9-10 against the Sox. And in 2019, as Cora’s Sox dealt with an unforeseen World Series hangover, the Yanks dominated the rivalry, going a remarkable 14-5 against Boston.
But … in the postseason, it’s been a completely different story. In the Cora/Boone Era, the Red Sox are a combined 4-1 against the Bombers, including a 16-1 massacre in the pivot game of the 2018 ALDS at Yankee Stadium. You remember the one. Luis Severino got the start time wrong, but Cora’s Red Sox didn’t.
Inherent Yankee Bias makes Cora’s claim feel like a natural dig, but it’s also quite possible that Boone wasn’t creating the stink in the team’s locker room in 2020 and 2021. After all, he did coax 103 wins out of an injury-ravaged roster in 2019 before momentum slowed the next two years (both still playoff seasons, for what it’s worth).
That ’19 season still stands as the peak of what Boone can do, both against Boston and in a 162-game marathon. Perhaps Cora earnestly believes the Yankees have now chosen to add three more years of managerial genius to Boone’s docket.
Or, maybe, the hitting coaches weren’t the issue last season and Cora, smug as always, is smirking back to the dugout.