Hal Steinbrenner talks Aaron Boone's return, pushes back on notion that every Yankees dugout decision is 'based on analytics'

Hal Steinbrenner continues to back "good manager" Aaron Boone -- and so did those around him.

During a long, wide-ranging Zoom news conference with reporters on Tuesday, the Yankees chairman and managing general partner covered a host of topics, including the team's decision to retain its manager.

"Obviously the first question that I asked [this offseason] obviously had to do with should Aaron Boone be our manager next year. I believe based on a lot of things that he's a good manager, but I didn't want to take my opinion this time around," Steinbrenner explained. "I wanted to talk to a number of people, which I did."

During those talks, Steinbrenner said he spoke with current players and former players -- including Andy Pettitte and Nick Swisher -- the latter of whom spent a lot of time in the clubhouse this past season.

Additionally, Steinbrenner solicited the opinion of front office members including Brian Sabean and Omar Minaya.

"They all came to the same conclusion, which is Aaron is a good manager and he should be our manager in 2024," Steinbrenner said.

Steinbrenner also pushed back on the idea that Boone is simply a button-pusher executing strategy at the behest of the front office and analytics department.

"One of the misconceptions that's out there, because I hear it from a lot of people, is that Boone makes every decision during a game based on analytics," he said. "That's just not true.

"Analytics gives Boone and the coaches a lot of the information -- so do the pro scouts. It's up to Boone during the game, when he puts the lineup together and everything after, what he wants to do with that information.

Aaron Boone on rough outing for Carlos Rodon as Yankees lose 10-3 | Yankees Post Game
Aaron Boone on rough outing for Carlos Rodon as Yankees lose 10-3 | Yankees Post Game / Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

"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. Whether that's accurate or not, I can assure you we don't have an analyst standing behind Boone in the dugout telling him 'you need to pinch-hit here, you need to get this pitcher out of here, you need to steal a base.'

"I know of at least one other team that does have an analyst/coach in the dugout, and I'm sure that manager is hearing about numbers the whole game. But it's not the case here, so I just think people need to understand that."

One curious thing Steinbrenner said revolved around Boone's belief that the Yankees aren't teaching their hitters enough bunting skills as they come through the system.

As Steinbrenner relayed it, Boone feels bunting will become more prevalent in the game again, and the Yanks are going to heed his advice and attempt to teach it better after scaling back their teaching of it years ago due to how baseball had evolved.

"Aaron Boone feels it's becoming a bigger part of the game again," Steinbrenner said. "He feels it's important, so we're gonna start right up again at the player development level with everything we were doing a few years ago."

For all the hand-wringing over the return of Boone, the fact is that it's more fair to place the blame for the failure that was the 2023 season largely at the feet of Steinbrenner and GM Brian Cashman.

As far as fixing what went wrong during the 2023 season, Steinbrenner would not outline any changes beyond replacing hitting coach Sean Casey (who chose to not return in order to spend more time with his family) and the meetings the team held with Zelus Analytics in order to help them examine how they're implementing their numbers.