Before the New York Yankees closed out their home schedule on Monday with a 6-4 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks, manager Aaron Boone was not thinking about whether he'll be back in the Yankee Stadium dugout next season.
The Yankees were eliminated from playoff contention Sunday, marking the first time in Boone's six seasons as manager that they will not take part in the postseason.
With six games to play, the organization's focus can shift to 2024 and what changes need to be made in order for playoff baseball to return to the Bronx next fall. The first question for chairman and managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner and general manager Brian Cashman will be what to do with Boone, who has one year left on his contract.
(It should be noted that the Yankees have a history of letting managers reach the end of their contracts. They have not made a move mid-contract since Stump Merrill was replaced by Buck Showalter in 1991. Steinbrenner's dad, George, was serving a lifetime suspension when Merrill was fired.)
Whatever management decides, Boone isn't sweating what might come next.
“I don’t worry about it,” said Boone, via MLB.com. “It’s out of my hands. I’m completely comfortable with who I am and the things I can control. In my mind, I’m doing everything to head into the offseason prepared to put us in a better position to try and compete for a championship. That’s what the goal is, and until they take that away, that’s my focus.”
The Yankees end their season in Toronto and Kansas City this week, and with a 79-77 record, they will look to avoid finishing with a losing record for the first time since 1992.
“We have an expectation around here to be playing next week at this time, and unfortunately, that’s not the case,” said Boone, who has led the Yankees to two 100-win seasons and a pair of trips to the American League Championship Series.
In an interview with the Associated Press in August, Steinbrenner promised a "deep dive" into the organization following the disappointing season with all aspects being evaluated.
Aaron Judge, the Yankees captain who signed a nine-year, $360 million deal in the offseason, said Sunday that he expects changes to happen.
“It’s not gonna happen overnight, so we gotta hit the ground running, especially when the season ends,” Judge said. “We got a lot to work on, a lot of things to change, and a lot of stuff going on around here that needs to be fixed.”
The Yankees have failed to make the postseason in back-to-back seasons only once (2013, 2014) since 1993. With a reported payroll of more than $275 million, missing the playoffs is a serious disappointment for the franchise, and it should be an active winter in order to avoid having a baseball-free October in 2024.