Two 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. Boone has 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 in three years, 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, like a managerial Nick Swisher.
This year, I’m tripling down on my 2020 and 2021 New Year’s Resolutions, all of which revolve around Boone. I can’t control the decisions of the Yankees manager, though I can control how I react to them. Believe me, I know it’s these resolutions are about as close to impossible as resolutions can be, and that’s why they were all broken within the first days, or even minutes, of each of the last two Yankees seasons. But now that Aaron Boone is back for 2022 … and 2023 … and 2024 … and possibly 2025, 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 four full seasons of Boone as manager, we have enough data to know he has no idea how to build the best possible lineup. We now know thanks to Cashman’s 2020 end-of-the-season press conference that Boone has full authority and final say on the lineup card delivered to the home plate umpire. We now know it was his decision to play Brett Gardner over Clint Frazier postseason and Kyle Higashioka over Gary Sanchez in the 2020 postseason, and it was his decision to twice use Mike Ford as a pinch hitter that October after deeming him not good enough to be a Yankee for all of September. We know the unnecessary rest and inexplicable bullpen decisions that continued into the miserable 2021 season were his calls.
I need to take a deep breath when I see Gardner (who will undoubtedly be a Yankee in 2022 and once again play a major role) or Aaron Hicks batting in the middle of the order as Boone forces a left-handed bat to separate the team’s right-handed hitters. Boone has been Yankees manager for 546 regular-season games and another 22 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
After setting the all-time record for most players placed on the injured list in a single season in 2019, the Yankees continued to manage their roster and lineup in 2020 and 2021 as if they had somehow solved injury prevention. 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.
The Yankees aren’t going to go out of their way to win the division or home-field advantage in the postseason. They believe just getting into the postseason is enough and 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 12 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 Giancarlo Stanton does of a playing a second straight injury-free season.
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. After a fourth straight season of nonsensical bullpen choices, that decision shouldn’t have surprised me, but given the magnitude of the game, not even I thought Boone would screw it up. He did and then he thought going an extra batter with every pitcher used in the one-game playoff loss would work out any differently than every other time he used the same strategy.
By the final game of the season, the Yankees’ bullpen had three trustworthy arms. The problem was they only had one starter capable of going six innings. In 2021, they will likely enter the season with three trustworthy relivers, and one of those three, the highest-paid reliever in the league has allowed a season-ending home run in both of the last two seasons. The only reason I’m even considering this resolution is because the bullpen might be so fragile that it won’t be Boone’s fault when the lesser arms blow leads and ruin games.
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 (or on the first day) of the season. I’m really going to try to achieve them, but I know Boone will make it impossible.
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