UPDATE: Rivera has followed up and said his comments were taken out of context. He told ESPN that they were “generic” and not meant to be aimed at Aaron Boone.
Aaron Boone will be back managing the New York Yankees in 2023, per owner Hal Steinbrenner. Now, is Boone at solely fault for this team constantly falling short? No. There’s a toilet paper roll’s worth of reasons why that’s the case.
But is Boone helping? No. The answer is objectively no. He’s had five years to find his footing, but he hasn’t.
You might point to the Yankees relatively cruising during the regular season under his watch. They won 100 games in 2018. Then 103 in 2019. Then came the COVID season, which was full of injuries and bad luck. Bummer. In all of those years, the team tripped over itself in the postseason, too.
The 2021 and 2022 seasons were the true problem, though. Those years, Boone was a poor regular season manager despite 92 and 99 wins. The amount of games this team blew in 2021 screwed them out of a home wild card game, at the very least. The fact they finished 38-40 to close out the 2022 season after their record-setting pace is disgraceful.
That continued in the postseason, where his ALDS mistakes extended a series the Yankees couldn’t afford to play to the brink. His ALCS mistakes resulted in the team getting swept. Swept!
The bullpen decisions in ALDS Games 2 and 3 as well as ALCS Games 1 and 3 were backbreaking. Oh, you were enraged? Just imagine what Yankees legend Mariano Rivera was thinking watching this. As the anchor of this bullpen from 1997-2013, he’s likely seen enough based on his comments about the Yankees and Boone, too.
Mariano Rivera says if he owned the Yankees, Aaron Boone would be gone
OK! Do Cashman next! Roast him! Jeter, get in on this! You guys have the power to change the course of Yankees baseball history!
But seriously, perhaps Hal should take a clue from the best to ever do it at his position? Someone who’s won five World Series? Someone who was around for 19 years in the bigs and understands the impact of a successful manager?
Somebody has to pay the price after five years, Mo is right. Are you going to blame AL MVP Aaron Judge? Gerrit Cole, who rebounded and did his job when he was supposed to? Frankie Montas, for Cashman foolishly acquiring him despite his dangerous splits outside of the Oakland Coliseum? Andrew Benintendi, for getting injured by swinging a bat? Isiah Kiner-Falefa, for being used as a full-time shortstop when he’s a utility player?
The Astros lost their manager and general manger as a result of the sign-stealing scandal. They were without Justin Verlander last year, Michael Brantley this year. They swapped Carlos Correa for Jeremy Peña. They lost George Springer a couple years ago. None of it mattered. Six straight ALCS. Four World Series appearances. Zero excuses.
Meanwhile, Boone is befuddled by the Yankees not catching a break. He stumbles over his words and can’t provide coherent thoughts in the postgame. He can’t press the right buttons when the team needs him to.
It’s not all on him. You’d be a fool to think so. But the way this has all fallen into place, he’s a tailor-made scapegoat that would give the Yankees an opportunity to make right on their mistake five years ago.