Four years ago, I decided it would be better for my overall health if I didn’t get so worked up about Aaron Boone and his daily disasters, not all of which are even related to in-game moments. In six years as Yankees manager, Boone’s time has mostly been spent putting his players in the worst possible position to succeed, and on top of that, he has constantly lied to the media about everything from player availability to player injuries only to be outed as a liar within minutes or hours after his lies. He has made irresponsible bullpen decisions and inexcusable lineup choices during his tenure, and each season when I complain about his managerial ability, I’m told by fellow Yankees fans not to worry because he would never manage the way he does in the regular season in the postseason, and each season, he’s even worse in the postseason (when the Yankees even reach the postseason), like a managerial Nick Swisher.
Last year, I took a year off from these resolutions, knowing they are nearly impossible to accomplish. I decided achieving them was as likely as me pledging to run 30 miles a day. But after the most miserable Yankees season of my lifetime in 2023, I feel I must give them a try again in 2024. I’m quadrupling down on my 2020, 2021 and 2022 New Year’s Resolutions, all of which revolved around Boone. I can’t control the decisions of the Yankees manager, though I can control how I react to them. With Boone being given a seventh chance to manage the Yankees to a championship, I have to try them again. I just have to. For my health and for the health of those who live with me, I owe it to them to try to make these work.
Resolution 1: Don’t Get Upset Over the Lineup
After six full seasons of Boone as manager, we have enough data to know he has no idea how to build the best possible lineup. Thanks to Brian Cashman’s 2020 end-of-the-season press conference we know that Boone has full authority and final say on the lineup card delivered to the home plate umpire. While the front office nerds may have a say on who to bat where and who to play when, we know the unnecessary rest and inexplicable bullpen decisions that have run rampant during Boone’s tenure are all his call.
I need to take a deep breath when I see Giancarlo Stanton batting ahead of Anthony Rizzo or Gleyber Torres in 2024. Boone has been Yankees manager for 901 games (regular season and postseason combined). I shouldn’t expect him to suddenly use logic in determining who bats where.
Resolution 2: Don’t Get Upset About Scheduled Off Days
The Yankees’ scheduled days off and extra and unnecessary rest for their position players is out of control, and unfortunately, it’s not going to change. If anything, it’s only going to get worse. With Aaron Judge turning 32 in April, Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton 34 and DJ LeMahieu 35, get ready for the greatest amount of days off for regulars you have ever seen. Juan Soto is only 25, coming off a season in which he played in all 162 games and the Yankees don’t owe him a cent after this season and I can already see him getting one of the first four games of the season in Houston off, so the Yankees can “get him off his feet” because “it’s a long season.”
The Yankees aren’t going to go out of their way to win the division or home-field advantage in the postseason. They haven’t in a long time. They believe just getting into the postseason is enough (and they have a hard enough time doing that despite 40 percent of the league getting into the playoffs). They don’t care about giving away games as long as they just get in. It’s been working well for them for the last 14 seasons.
Resolution 3: Don’t Get Upset About Bullpen Usage
This will be the hardest of them all. I can deal with the lineup decisions (to a degree) and the scheduled off days (to a lesser degree). The bullpen decisions though? This resolution has less of a chance of happening than Stanton does of a playing a full season without an IL stint.
I don’t think I will ever get over Boone’s decision to use Albert Abreu in literally a “season-on-the-line situation” in Game 161 of 2021. Somehow, Abreu managed to remain rostered by the Yankees for all of 2022 and 2023, and this offseason none of the other 29 MLB teams wanted him, and he was forced to sign in Japan. A pitcher no other major-league team deemed worthy of a contract was part of Boone’s circle of trust multiple times over the last few seasons.
Abreu is just one of a litany of relievers that have nonsensically been given high-leverage work in Boone’s six years. Remember Jonathan Holder? Remember when Boone kept feeding Tommy Kahnle late-game work in 2018 when it was obvious Kahnle needed to work things out in Triple-A, which he eventually did. Remember when the same thing happened to Chad Green early in 2019 and Boone let him ruin a handful of games before Green was finally sent down to figure it out. How about when Clarke Schmidt, a starter by trade, was used in Game 3 of the 2022 ALDS over Clay Holmes (who Boone said was unavailable even though Holmes told the media after the game he was available) or when Boone went to Schmidt as the first reliever in a tie game against the Astros in Game 1 of the 2022 ALCS? These are some of the most high-profile disasters Boone has overseen, but for every one of these, there are 25 examples of him trying to steal outs with the last guy on the roster while his ‘A’ relievers are available and warm.
I understand these resolutions are rather meaningless since I can easily see myself breaking at least one or possibly all three within the first weekend (or on the first day) of the season (considering it’s a four-game series in Houston emotions will be heightened.) I’m really going to try to achieve them, but I know Boone will do his best to make it impossible.