I try to come up with a New Year’s resolution every year that will help my life. Whether it’s cutting out unhealthy foods or working on being on time for dinner reservations, I try to pick something reasonable and achievable. This year, I have three resolutions. Reasonable? Not so much. Achievable? Unlikely. But if I’m somehow able to follow through on them, they will help my life and my overall health.
The three resolutions all revolve around Aaron Boone. I can’t control the decisions of the Yankees manager though I can control how I react to them. They’re not going to be easy to keep up, but in order to prevent me melting down on Twitter and tossing and turning in the early hours of the morning, I think I have to at least try to keep them.
Resolution 1: Don’t Get Upset Over the Lineup
After two full seasons of Boone as manager, we have enough data to know he (or whoever actually fills out the lineup card) has no idea how to build the best possible lineup. It’s why in the postseason, Brett Gardner was batting third, Gleyber Torres was batting fifth and the automatic out that was Edwin Encarnacion continued to bat fourth. The nonsensical lineup decisions from the regular season carried over into October and they will be there again in 2020.
I need to take a deep breath when I see Gardner batting in the middle of the order or when Mike Tauchman is batting third to separate Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. Thankfully, Didi Gregorius is no longer an option to bat third or ahead of Gary Sanchez. Boone has managed the Yankees for 324 regular-season games and 14 postseason games and I shouldn’t expect him to suddenly create lineups that make sense.
Resolution 2: Don’t Get Upset About Scheduled Off Days
The 2019 Yankees played their last game on October 19. Opening Day 2020 is on March 26. There will be five months and a week between the end of the 2019 season and the beginning of the 2020 season. The Yankees have March 27 off then they play six games and have April 3 off. There is a 100 percent chance non-catcher position players will have days off within the first week of the season.
The Yankees proved last season when they set the single-season record for the most players placed on the injured list that there’s no way to prevent or avoid injuries. Even after setting the all-time record, the Yankees continued to manage their roster and lineup as if they had somehow solved injury prevention, all while not playing a single game in 2019 with their expected everyday lineup. The Yankees’ scheduled days off and extra and unnecessary rest for their position players is out of control, and unfortunately, it’s not about to change. If anything, it’s only going to get worse.
I’m prepared for the scheduled rest to increase and be even more comical than it was last year, and when it is, I need to remember it’s not worth getting upset over.
Resolution 3: Don’t Get Upset About Bullpen Usage
It took Chad Green putting together the worst single-month performance of any reliever I can ever remember for him to finally be taken out of high-leverage situations and sent down to get straighened out last season. It took Jonathan Holder pissing away every late-game tie or lead for the few months of 2019 before the Yankees decided enough was enough. When the Yankees were battling every day in September for home-field advantage in the ALCS, it was September call-ups getting the ball in close games.
The Yankees’ regrettable decision not to bring back Dellin Betances means one less elite arm in the bullpen and one more spot that’s going to go to someone like Holder or Ben Heller or Luis Cessa or some other AAAA pitcher who Boone will gladly go to try to steal some outs or give one of his “A” relievers the day off only to end up using them later in the game anyway. It’s going to happen. It’s not just about the result, it’s about the decision. I can live with the right pitcher giving it up, it’s the wrong pitcher giving it up that is the problem. It’s not a matter of if but when for Boone ruining a game with his in-game managing. He might have gotten better from 2018 to 2019, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement and too much to think he will always make the right the decision.
I understand these resolutions are rather meaningless since I can easily see myself breaking at least one or possibly all three within the first week of the season. I’m really going to try to achieve them, but I know Boone will make it hard to.
My book The Next Yankees Era: My Transition from the Core Four to the Baby Bombers is now available as an ebook!