It is hard to get all that worked up about Aaron Boone.
I thought the Yankees should have fired him (and general manager Brian Cashman) after last year’s ALCS embarrassment. The team was clearly going nowhere under their leadership. And this miserable season has proven that assessment right. So if Boone gets sacked in a few weeks, I will not object.
But if Boone is retained — and Monday’s buzzy SNY report suggests he likely will — I will not get bent out of shape either. Because I get it. Owner Hal Steinbrenner has no interest in doing anything as long as the money is flowing, Cashman calls all the shots and Boone remains in his favor. It is what it is. Onward and downward they go.
But there is another obstacle to a Boone firing to take into account: There is no reason to believe the Yankees can do better.
We are not talking about Boone’s managerial prowess (or lack thereof). Because it is almost impossible to quantify that. Where does his autonomy begin? Where does the front office meddling end? Heck, we likely will not know how good or bad Boone is at his job until he has another one. And even then, we may never reach a comprehensive conclusion.
No, this is about optics. The Yankees barely cleared the bar when they hired Boone — a likable-enough TV guy from a heralded baseball family that had one of the biggest hits in team history — to replace Joe Girardi, a member of the last dynasty who then managed the team to a championship. It will be much more difficult to do so if Boone gets the heave-ho.
You cannot replace Boone with some Dillon Lawsonish guy armed with spreadsheets. Nor some laissez-faire, everybody-love-everybody voice. No, the Yankees will need some fire. And some star power. Two qualities that are hard to find these days.
Girardi is not coming back. Even if Buck Showalter becomes available this winter, Cashman already passed on him. Jim Leyland will be 79 in December. Bruce Bochy and Bob Melvin are employed West Coast guys. Bobby Valentine? Maybe if this was a dream world.
Sure, they could go with Don Mattingly. That would win the press conference. And likely win back a big portion of disillusioned fans. But, chances are, the Yankees would someday need to fire Mattingly. And that would be a complete dumpster fire.
David Cone’s name usually gets floated in these conversations. But why would he give up a successful — and certainly easier — life as a broadcaster? Pitching coach Matt Blake could be a sleeper. Hitting coach Sean Casey could have been one if not for the fact the Yankees still don’t hit. The Mets now have Carlos Beltran on retainer. Willie Randolph deserves a second chance, although that ship has almost assuredly sailed. Mike Scioscia will be only 65 on Opening Day next year. And Dusty Baker’s contract is up again.
You get the point. Say what you want about Boone, but he beats most of the realistic alternatives. Which has to be considered when making a decision on his future. The Bombers cannot give him an extension — he figures to be a lame duck again in 2024 — but they may not be able to cut him loose, either.