Saturday, December 16News That Matters

Aaron Boone? Yankees GM Brian Cashman is risking his job on untested manager | Politi


Let’s compare the resumes of these two managerial candidates:

No. 1 has a 988-794 record over a span of 11 seasons as a Major League Baseball manager, a .554 winning percentage, with 52 postseason games under his belt and one World Series title.

No. 2 has a 0-0 record over a span of, you guessed it, zero seasons an MLB manager, and while his interview sure sounded convincing — “I would say in a way I’ve been preparing for this job for the last 44 years,” he said last month — he is a complete unknown.

You know where this is going. No. 1, Joe Girardi, was just fired as manager of the Yankees, while No. 2, Aaron Boone, is set to take over as manager of a team with the highest of expectations.

He might do just fine. He might fall flat on his face. And if the latter happens, it will fall directly on the shoulders of the man who engineered this managerial change, Yankees GM Brian Cashman.

It is clear, based on the candidates who interviewed and the decision to part ways with Girardi, that Cashman wants a bigger influence over the man calling the shots in the Yankees dugout. He’ll have that in Boone, who was plucked from the TV set and thrust into his first managerial job.

Boone is a smart, personable, 44-year-old former Yankees third baseman who hit one of the biggest home runs in franchise history. He’ll win the press conference, and chances are, he’ll win over the young players who will be under his watch when spring training starts in two months. He also has a good understanding of the analytics that have become such an important part of the job. 

But no one — Cashman included — has any idea how the 2003 postseason hero will handle the pressures of this job. He’ll have to manage the high expectations, the New York media, and most of all, the day-to-day grind that comes with that spot in the Yankee Stadium dugout.

We saw how one decision nearly led to Girardi’s unraveling in October. Girardi, no stranger to postseason pressure, failed to use a replay challenge on a foul tip that led directly to a Game 2 meltdown in Cleveland. Had the Yankees not rallied to win that ALDS, it would have gone done as one of the biggest managerial blunders in New York history.

The 50 greatest baseball players from N.J.

This team will head into the season with World Series expectations. Can Boone thrive when every decision, big and small, is magnified? Can he out-manage the likes of Terry Francona in a short series that will determine if a season is a success or a failure. We don’t know.  

“Obviously, experience is very valuable and should be a check mark for somebody,” Boone acknowledged in a conference call with reporters after his interview. “But I would also say that I’ve been preparing for this job my entire life. I’m 44 years old now. I’ve been going to the ballpark since I was 3 and 4 years old.

“Going into broadcasting, I feel like so much of my job in the booth, especially the last few years, I find myself managing games all the time and thinking about strategies and thinking about situations.”

He isn’t the first MLB manager to arrive at a team with no experience. In many instances, that has become the quickest route to a big-league dugout. Forget spending a few years in Trenton or Scranton to learn on the job — Dave Roberts (Dodgers), Alex Cora (Red Sox) and several others have arrived with no on-the-job training. 

Boone, like his predecessor, will succeed or fail based on Cashman’s ability to sure-up the team’s starting rotation. Yes, these Yankees look built for a long run of postseason success, but one nice October run does not guarantee another. Just ask the Mets. 

Now the biggest decisions for this team will be made by a manager who’s never had to fill out a lineup card. Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said he favored a candidate with some experience, but Cashman recommended one with none. 

Will it work? Circle back in 10 months, when this team is entering that October crucible again with championship-or-bust expectations. If the 35th manager in Yankees history can’t thrive under that pressure, it’ll be the GM who shoulders the blame. 

Steve Politi may be reached at spoliti@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @StevePoliti. Find NJ.com on Facebook. 

 

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: