The 2023 season has been the New York Yankees' worst in 31 years, and it could cost Aaron Boone his job. Aaron Boone has been much-maligned by fans throughout his tenure as Yankees manager, though New York reached the playoffs in each of his first five years on the job. With the Yankees falling well short of earning a 2023 MLB playoff spot, Boone's time in pinstripes might finally be up.
Boone is only partly responsible for the Yankees' disastrous campaign. The players who take the field every day, of course, have the biggest say in whether or not New York finds its way into the win column. Brian Cashman did a poor job of putting together what he believed to be a championship-caliber roster. But that doesn't mean Boone's job must be spared.
The Yankees' roster needs an overhaul. They are too old and too injury-prone. They strike out too much and don't hit for a high enough average. Gerrit Cole is the only reliable starting pitcher in the rotation. Finding the right mix of players is easier said than done. The Yankees are stuck with the likes of Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu and Carlos Rodon. New York has to hope they regain the form that once made them All-Stars. The Yankees aren't in the same position when it comes to Boone.
Let's take a closer look at why it's time for the Yankees to move on from Aaron Boone after the 2023 season.
2. The status quo isn't working for the Yankees
The Yankees have to shake things up. It's probably not even arguable. When one of the most expensive rosters in American sports history spends much of the season in last place and can't even sniff the playoffs, there needs to be major changes. Firing Boone and hiring a new manager is the easiest change to make.
Even when the Yankees were making the playoffs under Boone, the season still always ended in disappointment. Boone led New York to a pair of ALCS appearances. He also has failed to advance beyond the ALDS in three of the last four years. Boone doesn't deserve as much blame as many Yankees fans would have you believe. He also bears some culpability for New York's 14-year World Series drought.
Alex Cora outmanaged Boone in the 2018 ALCS. Boone seemingly has a poor feel for the game, often pulling starters too soon or leaving them on the mound for too long. Too many times Boone tries to steal outs with relievers who shouldn't have the ball in their hands. There are too many games in which the Yankees trot out an uncharacteristically weak lineup, leaving some of their best players on the bench at the same time. Who's to blame for such decisions if not the manager?
It's fair to suggest that no manager would've taken the 2023 Yankees to the playoffs. Just because a manager is not horrendous, that doesn't mean his position should be safe. If that were the case, half of the managers in baseball would have lifetime jobs. Regardless of how much Boone has been at fault, his tenure has been a disappointment, and it's time to go in a different direction.
1. Aaron Boone's contract has only one more guaranteed year
An argument could've been made that the Yankees should've moved on from Boone last year when the Yankees were embarrassed by the Houston Astros in the ALCS. That probably wasn't realistic, given that the manager had two years left on his contract. Now that Boone is entering the final year of his contract, the organization will have a much easier time making a change.
It wouldn't be fair to Boone to keep him as a lame-duck manager. It would be a distraction for the entire year. Boone would be forced to face questions about his future after every boneheaded decision or brief losing streak. The Yankees should either extend Boone or let him go, and giving the 50-year-old another long-term deal can't be an option.
Maybe the Yankees should fire Brian Cashman. The reality is that Hal Steinbrenner won't part with the team's long-time general manager. Cashman signed a four-year contract less than 10 months ago. He's also been with the organization since he was an intern in 1986. Cashman is an unofficial member of the Steinbrenner family. And unlike Boone, Cashman has won several championships in New York.
The Yankees fired hitting coach Dillon Lawson mid-season in an unprecedented move under this iteration of the front office. New York needs to move on from several players. The team also needs a new manager. Just about every fan knows it. It's time for ownership to recognize it as well and pull the trigger.