New York Yankees News/Rumors: Is manager Aaron Boone a puppet? Here’s the answer

William Parlee
Oct 3, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees executive Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone (17) talk before the game against the Oakland Athletics in the 2018 American League wild card playoff baseball game at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

For New York Yankees fans, this has been a disappointing season, losing the division and the postseason to the Tampa Bay Rays. Many fans have chosen to blame Yankee manager Aaron Boone for the loss. But at the same time, many fans have also wondered whether the decisions are his or if they come from General Manager Brian Cashman and the front office. Some say that Boone is just a puppet and doesn’t really manage the team.

Aaron Boone and Brian Cashman together spent a bit more than two hours speaking to the media and answering reporters’ questions.  During those Zoom calls, they spoke to many subjects, from their thoughts about why they had a failed season to questions about individual players like Gary Sanchez and his future going forward. A question was posed that asked if New York Yankees, manager Aaron Boone was making decisions on the day to day team or he was a puppet for the front office. Both Boone and Cashman responded to the question.

“It’s been asked several times about the manager being a puppet,” Cashman said. “None of that’s true.” “It’s a healthy discord,” Cashman said. “He’s going to have his reasonings, he’s going to share them, and then it’s my responsibility to accept those and appreciate the fact that he did the dissection and he took the time, and the patience and the care to really evaluate all aspects of it. Then we commit. If this is what he wants to do, even though it might be something that I thought we should go a different way, so be it. He’s got my support.”

Aaron Boone was a little less emphatic in his answer:

“I think people understand that I listen to coaches, I listen to front office personnel, especially when we’re doing something that I’m making a big decision or a big change or something that may be out of the box,” Boone said Wednesday. “I certainly consult with a lot of people, but I think our guys understand that ultimately it’s my decision.”

If you believe Aaron Boone when he says “ultimately it’s my decision,” then that should put the thought that he is a puppet out of discussion.  Much of the time in the news conference surrounded the decision to start game two of the ALCS with an opener instead of going with number two starter Masahiro Tanaka. The Athletic was told near the end of the season that the New York Yankees were toying with the idea of using opener in the postseason.

The plan to start game two with 21 year old Deivi Garcia was a bust when he was taken out after only one inning, and further botched by bringing in J.A. Happ and burning two starters in one game. Happ was frustrated after the game as he gave up four runs.  Cashman said that Happ was all in on the plan. But Happ contradicted that saying that he would rather start the game.  Happ has had 15 postseason appearances, all as a starter, the bottom line is that if the plan had worked it would have been praised as brilliant, but it failed and is thought to be the turning point in the series, with the Yankees losing their momentum.