Considering how many officials were involved in the selection of the Yankees’ new manager, it’s a wonder Aaron Boone needed only one interview to nail the job. Prior to tapping the playoff hero for the position, franchise owner Hal Steinbrenner relied on inputs from such notables as vice-president of operations Tim Naehring, vice-president of communications, Jason Zillo, and assistant general managers Jean Afterman and Mike Fishman. Yet, as GM Brian Cashman (on whose shoulders fell the task of making the final recommendation) noted, “there was a difference of opinion among the participants as to who their Number Two or Three choice was, but there was little to no difference of opinion as to who their Number One choice was. It wasn’t even close.”
If nothing else, the consensus underscores the esteem in which Boone is held. The Yankees’ short list of candidates for the hot seat was, needless to say, populated with outsized personalities sporting impressive resumes. The fact that he won out against the likes of coaches Rob Thomson, Hensley Meulens, and Chris Woodward, former manager Eric Wedge, and the well-traveled Carlos Beltran speaks volumes of his unique set of qualifications. Never mind that he had absolutely no experience working in the sidelines. For Cashman & Company, what mattered was his progressive outlook and capacity to communicate with a talented but young roster and impact games via a heady mix of advanced metrics and old-fashioned scouting.
Parenthetically, Boone knows the enormity of the task at hand. Because he will be wearing pinstripes, he is presumed to get his charges to compete for championships. Nothing less is acceptable. On the other hand, the front office isn’t so out of touch with reality as to compel him to produce from the get-go. It’s why he was inked to a three-year contract, with an option for a fourth season. “That doesn’t mean there won’t be some growing pains, and we’re okay with that,” Cashman said.
In any case, Boone is ready. “I understand what I signed up for,” he noted in his inaugural press conference yesterday. “I hope those expectations are ramped up each and every year,” he added, as good an indication as any that he believes the Yankees, who progressed ahead of schedule and came to within a set-to of reaching the 2017 World Series, are destined to do better. And so he figures “to get lost in the process,” confident that the wins will come accordingly.
Anthony L. Cuaycong has been writing Courtside since BusinessWorld introduced a Sports section in 1994. He is the Senior Vice-President and General Manager of Basic Energy Corp.