The Yankees surprised the Western Hemisphere when they fired Joe Girardi at season’s end and continued surprising when Aaron Boone was named on Friday as the new manager. Boone, who has no managerial or coaching experience but plenty of broadcasting experience, has been in the booth with ESPN since 2010. He played 12 seasons in the majors and retired eight years ago and is famously known for his walk-off home run against the Red Sox that brought the Yankees to the World Series in 2003.
What can we expect from Aaron Boone as a manager? His father, Bob, managed Kansas City from 1995–97 and Cincinnati from 2001–03. Certainly with his pedigree, Boone has been in the company of baseball men since birth, and after his interview with the Yankees, he commented that he’d been preparing for this opportunity his whole life. Boone, 44, emphasized his grasp of analytics, his 12 years in the majors, his family’s baseball history, his communication skills, and his work as an ESPN analyst.
Boone was quoted as saying, “I feel like I am the guy who can help these guys go into another level as players.” Yankees fans know this is a tall task, considering that the guys who he will be guiding, such as Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Jordan Montgomery, and many other talented young players coming in spring training, are already on another level from other players in the league. Yankee fans hope he can take these players to a World Series.
Yankees fans eagerly await the rest of the coaching staff, perhaps to see if Boone is paired with a bench coach with some managerial or coaching experience. For now, Boone is front and center and we look forward to seeing what he will bring to the position in the coming months and into spring training for 2018.
Regardless of individual knowledge and skills, EVERY rookie manager has to experience a learning curve! Not my rule. It is presumed that Boone’s learning curve will be exasperated by decisions leveraged on him from above as Cashman exerts more sabermetric influence on him than Girardi or other more experienced “old school” managers would tolerate .
It’s self evident that Cashman’s interview process did not feature many candidates with prior managerial experience despite a states preference from the Steinbrenners that some prior experience be present. So Cashman is going “all in” on Boone, handing him nominal control over a young team with immediate playoff expectations and very real dynastic ambitions moving forward. In other words, Boone will have very little wiggle room.
It will be educational to see how his coaching staff is chosen. I mean Cashman has already signed his pitching coach, Larry Rothschild, even before he picked a manager. Rothschild is not a bad choice for the job, and, noteworthy, he has previous experience as a manager. But new managers normally pick their coaches, don’t they? So how Boone’s coaching staff is formed will speak volumes about who’s really running things and just how short a leash Boone will be wearing.