NEW YORK (AP) — Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner questioned current and former players along with staff on whether to keep Aaron Boone before deciding the New York manager will return next year.
New York faded from contention by mid-August and finished 82-80, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
“It was awful. We accomplished nothing. We didn’t win a division, didn’t make it to the playoffs, didn’t win a series in the playoffs, much less a championship,” Steinbrenner said Tuesday during an online news conference. “The fans didn’t get anywhere close to what they deserved.”
Steinbrenner delivered a stern message when he addressed staff last month at the start of three days of meetings in Tampa, Florida.
“I told them this season is completely unacceptable, that we got a winning record — that’s not an accomplishment, that’s a requirement, as far as I’m concerned,” Steinbrenner said.
Boone, 50, replaced Joe Girardi before the 2018 season. Boone has a 509-361 record but hasn’t reached the World Series, which New York last won in 2009.
Before deciding to retain Boone, Steinbrenner consulted with former players Andy Pettitte and Nick Swisher along with star Aaron Judge and a pair of former general managers who were hired as advisers last offseason, Omar Minaya and Brian Sabean.
“I think he’s a good manager. He’s extremely intelligent. He’s hardworking. The players respect him as a manager, they want to play for him and win for him,” Steinbrenner said. “He’s able to take all the information we throw his way.”
Boone is entering the final season of his contract. Steinbrenner said he typically does not consider early extensions.
He defended Boone’s management.
“One of the misconceptions that’s out there, because I hear it from a lot of people, is that Boone makes every decision in the dugout during the game based on analytics,” Steinbrenner said. “That’s just not true. Analytics gives Boone and the coaches a lot of information, so do the pro scouts. It’s up to Boone during the game when he puts the the lineup together and then everything after, what he wants to do with all that information. Honestly, if you ask the analysts, they’ll probably say that too many times Boone makes a decision during the game that’s based on his experience, what he’s seeing, his intuition.”
Steinbrenner said he had 40 pages of notes following the end-of-season meetings, which he said at times were heated. At the recommendation of assistant GM Michael Fishman, New York hired Zelus Analytics for a yearlong review of its practices. The firm is headed by Doug Fearing, who has a Ph.D. from MIT and founded the Los Angeles Dodgers’ research and development department.
“We’re going to look at their systems and their processes that they use to analyze data and make decisions,” Steinbrenner said. “We’re then going to take all that, what we’ve learned and compare it to what we do.”
Among baseball’s biggest spenders, the Yankees had a payroll projected at $281 million. Asked whether he would consider adding a nine-figure free agent contract, Steinbrenner said: “Everything is on the table when it comes to free agents. So anybody comes to me with a deal, a piece that we feel we need to do what we need to do in 2024, I’m going to strongly consider it, yes.”
New York finished with a .227 batting average, 29th among the 30 teams, and was 25th in runs with 673. The Yankees have announced just one personnel move during the offseason: Sean Casey, who took over as hitting coach at the All-Star break when Dillon Lawson was fired, left last month.
“There’s going to be some big changes,” Steinbrenner said. “There’s going to be changes some people might not consider significant, but Judge and I may because we’re doing this every day.”
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