With the Yankees on the brink of being mathematically eliminated from postseason contention, Aaron Boone discussed the team’s shortcomings and his job security on Friday.
The Yankees are at risk of suffering their first losing season since 1992. They entered Friday’s series opener against the Diamondbacks with a 77-76, fourth-place record.
When asked how much responsibility Boone and his coaching staff take for what’s gone wrong this season, the manager said he takes it “very personally.”
“We have to own it, and I have to own it,” Boone continued. “We are the leaders of this team, and you gotta take the good with the bad. This year has not unfolded the way we want it to. So you take a lot of ownership into that. We pour a lot into this 365 days a year to be a championship-caliber team, and when you fall short of that and potentially are not going to the playoffs, that’s tough.”
While Boone took ownership, injuries, underachieving star players and poor roster construction are largely to blame for the Yankees’ woes this year. Some of those issues fall under Brian Cashman’s purview, which is why a small group of fans held a protest in the Bleacher Creatures on Friday. They spent the night calling for the general manager’s firing, though it’s hard to see owner Hal Steinbrenner meeting their demands this offseason.
Boone’s job security, however, is more of a question mark after six seasons as skipper. He has another year and a club option on his contract and players love him, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he will return in 2024.
“We’ll see,” Boone said. “That’s ultimately not my decision. So we’ll see. We’ll see. That’s not a question for me. We’ll see.”
While Boone’s in-game decision-making has come into question over the years, it’s hard to fault him for the 2023 squad’s aforementioned problems. Those troubles have been amplified by the ultra-competitive American League East.
“The whole year has been a wakeup call,” pitcher Michael King said earlier this week. “And as much as we’ve stuck to our routines, there are things that we need to do differently to be better next year.
“We’re not at the top of the AL East. I mean, there are awesome teams in this division. We’ve known that for the last few years. And I think that we kind of expected to still be at the top, and now you’ve got Baltimore [and] Tampa way apart from us. [The Blue Jays are] now separating themselves, so it’s not a fun position to be in. We don’t like being here, and I’m hoping that all of us don’t like being here and we’ll make that transition.”
The division is likely to remain a challenge next year, as the rest of the AL East is, generally speaking, younger, more talented, and in a better position to spend than the Yankees are.
The Yanks have been able to overcome the division — and injuries — in recent years, but they’re almost certain to miss the playoffs for the first time under Boone’s watch after entering the season with championship aspirations.
“I never take for granted that we’re just going to be in or we’re not,” said Boone, who only made the postseason once as a player. “I understand how hard it is and the reverence I have for professional sports and major league sports and the grind of the major league season. I’ve got to take some ownership of that and try and do my part in helping us get to be where we want to be, which is not going home at the start of October.”
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