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Yankees Invest in Aaron Boone as Focus Transitions to Roster Construction

The Yankees re-signed manager Aaron Boone, reiterating that Boone was never the problem and New York needs to focus on improving their roster this offseason.

Descending into the visitor's clubhouse at Fenway Park, fresh off a disappointing loss to the Red Sox in the American League Wild Card Game, Aaron Boone wasn't sure if he had managed his last game in a Yankees uniform.

With his contract set to expire following the conclusion of the postseason, Boone's mind wandered to life in another city, signing to work within another organization after kicking off his managerial career with four years in New York.

Two weeks later, those uncertainties were stamped out in emphatic fashion. Not only did Boone re-sign to continue his tenure as the Yankees' skipper, but general manager Brian Cashman revealed that Boone was always going to return. 

"There was never a doubt to have Aaron Boone back here, it just came down to working through it and making sure that I was going to get the sign of the cross from other powers that be," said Cashman, addressing the media for the first time this offseason on Tuesday.

Boone wasn't the only one that speculated during those two long weeks. Pundits weighed in on alternatives while a frustrated fan base—growing more and more impatient as New York's championship drought extends to a 12th year—called for Boone's removal.

But Cashman has faith that the man who has been at the helm since 2018, managing the Yankees to a 328-218 record in the regular season, is the perfect person for the job. In fact, even throughout this year's tumultuous campaign—where New York barely snuck into the postseason before promptly being sent home—Cashman has reiterated that Boone is far from the problem.

"I thought Aaron Boone was part of the solution," Cashman explained. "Aaron brings a lot of great qualities. He's a great baseball mind, comes from an amazing family that has a history in this industry for quite some time. He has an ability to connect, to communicate, to be open-minded and he's had a lot of success here."

Cashman didn't stop there.

"Ultimately, he's grown into being one of the better managers in the game," he said. "To be quite honest, if he was entering the free agent market, I believe he'd be the number one managerial candidate in baseball. There's a number of different vacancies and we would be going to market looking for someone like him."

Bringing the 48-year-old back on a three-year deal doesn't mean the rest of the organization will stick to the status quo. Three members of Boone's coaching staff have already been fired and Cashman alluded to a variety of changes in player personnel that could be on the horizon. 

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Expect a new shortstop in pinstripes next season. Gary Sánchez will continue to be evaluated as New York's starting catcher. And depending on financial factors, Cashman could be active on the free agent market, working with the front office and analytics department to bolster this star-studded roster with the right talent that can propel this club over the hump.

That's where Boone's expertise comes into play. His unwavering positivity with the media may come across as off-putting for certain fans at home, but players haven't strayed from endorsing their manager. 

That ability to foster relationships in the clubhouse and get the most out of those around him is something that Boone is working to improve on. It's one of the reasons why he believes he's capable of leading this team to the promised land.

After all, this is the place he always wanted to be. He said he wouldn't have re-signed if he didn't feel like he could lead this team to the top. 

"It starts with coaching staff, empowering coaches to coach up their specific area of expertise or their specific job to the best of their ability and that's on me to help them reach their potential there or create an environment to where they can really thrive," Boone said Tuesday. "Also, how do I get the most out of individual players? I think everyone's a little bit different and one of my jobs is tapping into that and that's one area where I feel like I need to continue to get better."

In a way, the fact that Boone isn't a finished product reaffirms the organization's faith in the former big-league infielder. With room to grow, Boone has the potential to blossom into an even better skipper. And as much as his .500 record in the postseason has been a source of resentment for New York's fan base, plenty of blame falls on the players and unforeseen circumstances as well, like injuries and down years from key contributors. 

Cashman and those above Boone deserve to have some fingers pointed in their direction, too. Some of their decisions in roster construction and financial discretion  have contributed to the on-field product that hasn't cut it these last few years. 

Therefore, with Boone's contractual situation solved, the onus is on Cashman to surround his manager with the best group of coaches and players to foster success. Only then will Boone's Yankees be able to hoist a trophy once again.

"We'll just continue to try to evaluate what's available, how those pieces may fit and how we can configure in a way that gives Aaron Boone on both sides of the ball—positionally and pitching wise—the best opportunity to have the massive success our fan base deserves," Cashman said.

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