The Yankees resigned their manager Aaron Boone on Tuesday, signing him on a three-year contract that includes a club option for the 2025 season. But in making the announcement, the team owner returned the marching orders very clear for a franchise that has reached the playoffs in four consecutive seasons under Boone, but has rebounded earlier and earlier each October: Get better.
“We have a person and a manager in Aaron Boone who has the baseball acumen and widespread respect in our clubhouse to continue to guide us forward,” said Hal Steinbrenner, general partner of the Yankees, in the team release.
“As a team and as an organization, we have to grow, evolve and improve. We need to improve. Period. I know Aaron fully embraces our expectations of success, and I look forward to using his wits, instincts and leadership in the pursuit of our next World Series championship. “
In video calls with reporters on Tuesday, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and Boone, whose previous contract expired after this season, certainly agreed.
“I can help us get to the top,” said Boone, 48. “That’s why I’m here. That’s why I came back. That’s why I originally signed up to come here. This is what I am pursuing. I’m just personally trying to keep improving and growing in this work and eventually, however, the proof will be in the pudding.
Cashman added, “Are we good enough? The answer is no. Do we need to be better at what we do? The answer is yes. Do our fans deserve the best of the best? Always. I am proud of what I have accomplished and regret my failures.
Cashman, 54, reiterated what he had throughout the checkered 2021 Yankees season: Boone was “part of the solution. It was not a problem or the problem.
Despite two weeks that have passed since the Yankees lost the American League game to the Boston Red Sox – a delay Boone attributed to him when weighing his future with his family, the changes to his coaching staff and negotiations with the Yankees – Cashman said “there was never any doubt” on his side that he would not re-sign Boone.
“A manager is only as good as the players he has,” said Cashman, who did not sign after the 2022 season. “Aaron is damn good at his position. And as I have spoken to the players at our club, we need to demand excellence from them in all categories and find ways to extract that. But I also have to find so many good teammates to surround them. “
Cashman compared the Yankees’ 92 wins in 2021 to Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, appearing at times’ unstoppable ‘and at times’ unforgivable’. He said the teams had “retreated into categories that we certainly didn’t see coming or that we didn’t expect.” One issue he cited: The team’s offense, a strength of previous seasons, was inconsistent and finished 19th out of 30 teams in the major leagues in points scored per game (4.39) and had the sixth rate highest strikeout (24.5 percent).
“We’re not as athletic as we would like, and certainly not as contact-oriented,” Cashman said. He added that he and the front office need to put together a better buffet of options – players, in other words – for Boone and coaches.
Cashman said the Yankees will be in the market for a shortstop because Gleyber Torres, who has missed this season, was better suited for the second goal. But he hasn’t closed the door to changing receivers – Gary Sanchez has hit 23 home runs but regressed in other ways – or to revise more positions.
Building on many of the same key players over the past four years, the Yankees have posted a 328-218 regular season record under Boone. He joined Mike Matheny (formerly of the St. Louis Cardinals) as the only person in major league history to reach the playoffs in each of their first four seasons as a manager.
Despite talented, albeit imperfect, teams and sizable payrolls, the Yankees’ title drought has reached 12 seasons. The past two years have been more of a struggle. After winning the American League East in 2019, they couldn’t catch the Tampa Bay Rays on a smaller scale in 2020 or this year, instead reaching the playoffs as a wild-card team – and not going. not far after that.
“The other years that we got knocked out, we had a legitimate chance to go for the American League title and represent the league in the World Series, and see where that took us,” Cashman said. “This year in particular I thought we had a chance to do some damage and maybe keep going, but it seemed like the way our season was going could sometimes be a first round knockout, and that’s what really happened. “
Boone returns to a coaching team that will be radically different from any other under his tenure. Last week, the Yankees informed three coaches who have been with Boone since he began his tenure that they will not be returning – the two batting coaches and his close friend and third baseman Phil Nevin.
“I don’t mean just to say that we have to improve – it’s obvious,” said Boone. “It’s important to recognize that I feel like we have the people in place to do it. There must be adjustments. There must be adjustments. From my perspective, and in our coaching staff, we all need to improve a little bit and make sure we hold each other accountable. “