Last night, we learned that Aaron Boone will be the next manager for the Yankees, filling the shoes of ten-year veteran Joe Girardi. Because the former Yankee has never managed or coached at the professional level, his candidacy alone came as a surprise. However, GM Brian Cashman is obviously all-in on him, and seems confident in the hiring.
Here are some interesting thoughts on the Boone hiring from the media…
- Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic begins a piece by saying he will “not condemn” the hiring of Aaron Boone. Soon after, however, he clearly states that he cannot remember a hire with more risk in his 30-plus years of covering baseball. Rosenthal notes hires of Mike Matheny by the Cardinals and Robin Ventura by the White Sox as recent risks trending in this direction, due to those managers having very little coaching experience, but makes sure to add that neither of those hires were this extreme. Because Boone has a warm and friendly personality and is well-liked around the league, the Yankees seem to be shrugging off the concerns under the simple notion that he’s a great guy. As Rosenthal notes, many clubs are beginning to view managing as a “paint-by-numbers” exercise in which the manager is supplied with data by the front office. This might mean that the most important skill set for a managerial candidate is the ability to build a positive clubhouse culture, which Boone would certainly seem to possess. Still, it will be interesting to see how the rookie skipper reacts in his first exposure to a number of tough situations.
- Andrew Marchand of ESPN tweeted a quote from Yankees principal owner Hal Steinbrenner that dates back to the GM meetings. “My concern about a candidate like that would just be the lack of managerial experience, but even more important, coaching experience of any kind. That would be a concern of mine. It might be less of a concern for Cash.” It’s an interesting footnote, and could potentially imply that this decision puts some weight on Cashman’s shoulders. In a piece for ESPN, Marchand paints Boone as a tremendous risk with a jewel of an opportunity; he certainly has an incredible group of young players to work with, including Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Luis Severino. Like Rosenthal, Marchand sees Boone as having many of the requisite traits for success, but wonders how the he’ll respond to the grind of the job, particularly with such high expectations placed upon him.
- In his own tweet, Bryan Hoch notes that Boone will be the first Yankees manager with no managerial or coaching experience since Bill Dickey all the way back in 1946. Dickey was ultimately inducted into the Hall of Fame, so there’s some precedent for managerial success without prior coaching experience.
- Taking a more extreme stance, Joel Sherman of the New York Post describes Cashman’s hiring of Boone as “the gamble of his life”. However, Sherman makes sure to note the upside of that risk, citing Boone’s eight-year career at ESPN as a huge plus for the modern manager. Because of his career as an analyst, Boone possesses a wide knowledge of all 30 MLB teams, a firm grasp on how teams use analytics nowadays, and excellent media relations skills. All of these assets are valuable tools that could set him up for success, and Sherman sees the latter two as tools that Girardi lacked.