Underachieving Yankees need managerial spark

The Yankees need a true manager to steer them to a 28th championship, not a manager who does what Yankees general manager Brian Cashman tells him to do.

The Los Angels Dodgers erased their status as baseball’s underachievers by finally ending their 32-year, 11,695-day championship drought on Tuesday night by staving off the Tampa Bay Rays in six games. They took a 3-1 victory over the AL champs in the World Series.

The Yankees supplant the Dodgers as baseball’s underachievers now. With a $243 million payroll, they earned their status after going through an 11-year championship drought. It’s hard to think they will win a World Series championship anytime soon. The pitching remains a question mark, the hitting struggles in October and the team lacks leadership from its manager.

This franchise needs a spark. Yankees manager Aaron Boone failed to be that guy for three years now after replacing Joe Girardi. It’s hard to believe he can do it now if he hasn’t done it in three seasons. Here’s the cold, hard truth: He is not a managerial material. Never was, never will. He serves as a puppet to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, who dictates what the manager should do in playing players.

It’s on Hal Steinbrenner to do something about it. This postseason should be the last straw for the Yankees to experiment with a manager following the general manager’s orders. If Steinbrenner is truly serious about winning a championship, he hires either Tony La Russa or Bruce Bochy to manage the team and have his general manager butt out. It means the Yankees should stop using analytics as to the be-all, end-all to everything.


Cashman tried to be too smart for his own good by starting an opener in Game 2 of the AL Division Series against the Rays after a 9-3 victory in Game 1. He felt it was a high-risk, high-reward with the Yankees having nothing to lose after winning the first game. It turned out to be awful. Deivi Garcia struggled, and the Rays lit J.A. Happ, who pitched like he did not want to be used in the middle of the game. To quote Eart Weaver, momentum is only as good as the next day’s starter, and in this case, the Yankees spoiled all their momentum by starting an opener.

Imagine Billy Martin, Lou Piniella, Joe Torre Bobby Cox, Jim Leyland, Tom Kelly, Sparky Anderson, Weaver, La Russa, or Bochy using an opener ever. Yeah, I thought so. It would never happen. These guys know the game enough to know it never works. They go by feel or gut, which is the way to manage games.

Baseball serves as a thinking man’s game. That means using eyes or ears to manage by the gut. Managers should think on their own to make decisions that impact a game. They don’t need spreadsheets or data to make decisions. If they need it, what’s the point of managing a game then?

Cashman feels the Yankees don’t need a manager to manage a game. Like most general managers today, he believes managers have become obsolete. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Managers can show value. Piniella, Cox, Torre, La Russa, Leyland, Kelly, Weaver, Martin, Anderson, and Bochy turned out to be successful since they knew what players to put in for them to succeed. They knew what made them tick. They understood how to use all the players on the 25-man roster.

The Yankees should get back to their roots of hiring a manager to manage on his own intuition. This is a team that needs a leader that knows how to win in October. Bochy or La Russa provides that.

Reports are circulating La Russa might be managing the Chicago White Sox, and Bruce Bochy expressed interest in managing again. Shouldn’t the Yankees be on either of them? If George Steinbrenner was alive and well, there’s no doubt he would go hire either of them by now. He knows a good manager when he sees one, and he understood the importance of a manager.

George’s son should understand that, but he doesn’t care much about baseball to get too involved. He lets Cashman do his thing and go from there. If he was serious about winning, he would make a managerial change and have Cashman just build the team.

It’s a joke Boone is qualified to manage the Yankees, but La Russa and Bochy are not. What’s wrong with this picture?

I saw nothing in three years that made me think Boone is a managerial material. Sure he won many regular-season games, but it’s about winning a World Series championship. He failed to deliver. But he is safe because Cashman likes him and he lets Cashman do his job for him. That’s not a way to operate a ball club, and that’s not a way to lead a team.

The Yankees take on Boone’s personality, which is being easy-going. There’s never a sense of urgency on the players, and that’s another reason why managers matter. Managers set the tone of what should be accomplished, and a guy like La Russa makes so much sense since he is all about winning championships. That’s the manager the Yankees should hire.

An 11-year title drought means the Yankees should try something different because this isn’t working.

Hiring a manager that knows a thing or two about winning can change that. Hiring La Russa would be like the Knicks hiring Pay Riley as a head coach in the 90s to change the dynamic of the franchise.

The Yankees could use a spark in what has been a country-club atmosphere.


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