With just days left in this miserable season, the Yankees kremlinology is about to crank to 11. And the latest dispatch from NJ.com columnist Bob Klapisch brings pretty good news for Aaron Boone.
Klapisch reported in mid-August it was a “foregone conclusion” the Bombers would sack their manager. Now? Owner Hal Steinbrenner is apparently doing everything he can to not give Boone the heave-ho. But if the 2003 ALCS hero returns for a seventh year at the helm, he may need to do so with a gruff consigliere at his side.
Short of a championship, Boone has piled up enough wins since 2018 to keep his job. That’s why, the source said, “Hal would prefer to not fire Aaron.”
But Steinbrenner also knows Boone’s friendly nature has made him the players’ friend. Boone believes the Yankees perform best in a stable, comfortable environment. But are they too comfortable?
No qualitative analysis can answer that question. Steinbrenner will have to trust his instincts. If he doesn’t have the heart to send Boone packing — or doesn’t want to alienate Judge — Plan B could be a bench coach who’d play bad cop to Boone’s good cop.
Poor Carlos Mendoza.
The idea sounds great at first. And that is probably why the Yankees have leaked it into the world. Who doesn’t get warm and fuzzy reminiscing about the days when Joe Torre had Don Zimmer at his side? And it is fun to cook up candidates for the gig — Don Mattingly! Buck Showalter? Let’s see how old Larry Bowa is!
But then you sit with it for a moment. Again, next season would be Boone’s seventh as manager. The die has long been cast on how he operates. Expecting a tough guy bench coach to change the dynamics of his authority seems like a long shot. And, odds are, it would make things even worse. Plus: If the Yankees managed to thread the needle and get someone who significantly impacted the clubhouse culture, the specter of a potential palace coup would loom large if the Bombers struggle again.
This is what it comes down to for Steinbrenner with Boone, and with general manager Brian Cashman: He seems to know how he wants to do business. Are the two of them capable of executing his vision? If they are, rock and roll and sell it to the fanbase. If they are not, stop the half-measures and do what has to be done. No matter how hard it is or how against his nature it is.