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Yankees News: Aaron Boone Signs New 3-Year Contract to Return as Manager

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 19, 2021

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone stands in the outfield during batting practice before a spring training exhibition baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies in Clearwater, Fla., Thursday, March 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

Aaron Boone will return as manager of the New York Yankees on a new three-year contract, the team announced Tuesday.

Jack Curry of the YES Network first reported the news.

Jack Curry @JackCurryYES

Here’s Hal Steinbrenner’s quote about Boone’s return in the Yankees’ press release. https://t.co/79B2qEspIo

The Yankees went 92-70 in 2021 and claimed one of the American League's two wild-card berths, but the rival Boston Red Sox eliminated them in the AL Wild Card Game.

Still, their surge in the second half of the season may have saved the manager's job.

Boone's previous contract expired after the 2021 MLB season, and the absence of an extension seemed to indicate he was on shaky ground from the first pitch on Opening Day. At the least, he had to convince ownership he was worth bringing back for 2022 and potentially beyond.

At the All-Star break, the 48-year-old had the look of a lame-duck manager. The Bronx Bombers were 46-43 and in danger of missing the playoffs.

General manager Brian Cashman indicated in June that Boone wasn't going anywhere but may not have used the most complimentary metaphor.

"We made this bed and we are going to sleep in it," he said. "We are in this together."

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Yankees chairman Hal Steinbrenner was more emphatic in July:

Yankees Videos @snyyankees

Does Hal Steinbrenner believe the Yankees have the right coaching staff in place? "Absolutely...nobody is working harder than the coaches" https://t.co/bnOcAOrhWq

He proceeded to point the finger at the Yankees players for the team's underwhelming start:

"They're the ones on the field. They're a group of very talented, professional athletes that [are] playing this game at the highest level in the world. They need to fix this problem. They need to fix the problem, because everyone, including our fanbase, and rightfully so, has had enough, quite frankly. It's enough, and they know that, and you're seeing them say that."

A manager is tasked with getting the most out of his roster, so he can't avoid blame when players aren't delivering. But the arrivals of Anthony Rizzo and Joey Gallo ahead of the MLB trade deadline were evidence of a lineup that wasn't getting it done.

Gleyber Torres slugged below .400 for the second straight season. Gio Urshela saw his OPS fall from .858 in 2020 to .720. DJ LeMahieu also returned to his pre-New York days with 10 home runs in 679 plate appearances. Gallo batted .160 in 58 games with the team. The Yankees' two best hitters, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, missed 37 combined games as well.

And if Boone was on the hot seat for how the Yanks played in the first half, then he deserved some share of credit for how they fared in the second half.

Mike Petriello @mike_petriello

Currently cackling at the idea that if the Yankees (99 win pace since starting 6-11) win the East Aaron Boone is going to get some Manager of the Year votes, which will be notable since all of NY sports talk radio had him fired for being soft on July 5

He hasn't been faultless in his four years in the New York dugout. The absence of an American League pennant is glaring given the team's talent and regular-season success. Perhaps not coincidentally, bullpen management was one of his Achilles' heels, and that's an area where adept managers can gain an edge that makes the difference in a playoff series.

But Boone's .601 winning percentage is better than that of Joe Girardi (.562) and only marginally worse than Joe Torre's (.605). Four straight postseason appearances is an achievement too given the competitiveness of the AL East.

The Yankees may come to regret bringing Boone back if they get off to another slow start in 2022, but it's difficult to disagree with the choice right now.

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