1 Yankees scapegoat to be patient with: Aaron Boone
Be honest with yourself: Most of the time, when you conjure up the words, "Fire Aaron Boone!" there isn't really a reason behind them. You're just furious with the way a certain game played out, or you're consumed by this possibility you've created that this team "just can't get over the hump" with Boone in charge, a logical fallacy that can never be proven, and grows clearer in your mind with every title he doesn't win.
Boone's in-game management and bullpen decisions leave a good deal to be desired, and there's certainly a lingering worry that he'll never be able to out-maneuver a master tactician in a head-to-head matchup. But wouldn't you have said the same about Dusty Baker just a few years ago? It remains unclear if Boone improves this team's chances of capturing a ring. Ultimately, the Yankees can do better. But, of all the problems with this team's ethos, it's certainly reductive to pin the franchise's entire malaise on his "fine-not-great" stewardship.
Was Joe Girardi a great manager? Absolutely not. His moribund 2013-2014 rosters overperformed and finished over .500, but Boone's trainwreck of a 2019 roster, filled with hundreds of injury replacements, won 103 games. He was chased out of town when he lost the next generation, led by his public distrust of Gary Sánchez. The same thing happened to him in Philadelphia last season, when he was replaced by former Yankees lieutenant Rob Thomson, who immediately took his same, dead roster to the World Series. But ... he won a World Series, didn't he? He rode the binder, he employed a three-man rotation, and he won a World Series. Boone's peak may very well have been 2019, when he legitimately guided a bizarro world Yankees roster to the edge of a title. His fate may have been completely different if Mike Tauchman hadn't gone down in September, unable to replace Giancarlo Stanton in the ALCS, a legitimately crazy thought. He certainly hasn't done enough to earn the leash he was given this offseason by the Yankees' brass.
But, more often than not, Boone isn't the problem when the offense dies or the player development staff can't translate a prospect's minor-league production to the majors. He's just the face of it all. In another year, he might meet his expiration date, But it's tough to pin this 2023 slumber on him, unless you think some random firebrand veteran voice could wake Josh Donaldson up overnight. Remember when you all wanted Buck Showalter? He might be available again soon.