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NEW YORK — There was little reason for speculation even after the “cruel” ending. Aaron Boone was always coming back for 2021. Still, in three years as the Yankees manager, Boone has repeatedly talked about learning, adapting and improving as a team. So, it’s fair to wonder what did Boone learn from this 2020 season?
The little things matter, apparently. Boone, who is praised for his ability to communicate between the analytics department and the players, said that he and his staff actually have to be better at that.
“It’s buttoning up and tightening up our processes for delivering information to the players, creating strong reviews for players on a daily, weekly, monthly and every other month basis. To where we’re updating strengths and weaknesses and where they’re making strides in their game,” Boone said this week about his takeaway of this season.
“So I think in just how we deliver information from a review standpoint, that we’re really tapping into what players are doing well and where they need to improve and how do we get that information to them, how much information, what’s the right amount to each individual, because everyone’s a little bit different … to continue to help them grow as players individually.
“Look, again I think we do that well here, but it’s something that, you know, hopefully, we continue to get even better at.”
Boone is known as a manager who can easily work between the clubhouse and the front office, translating the information and even critiques from the analytics and scouting department into useful information for players. Perhaps a more structured system of reviewing players regularly can prevent extended slumps like the one that Boone eventually had to bench Gary Sanchez for. Or perhaps it could keep Gleyber Torres on his toes about costly defensive lapses.
Ideally the organization should be a collaboration between all departments, but there is a challenge in making sure everyone is speaking the same language.
“I mean that’s … the secret sauce of how you tap into every player. Who needs and wants a lot. Who do you need to keep it a lot more simple for,” Boone said. “That’s one of the challenges. I do feel like we do a good job of that here. I do feel like our players — more and more the players now that are coming up — want and thirst for a lot of the information that’s provided for them.”
“So I feel like that’s something that’s become easier and easier over time,” Boone said. “And we got to continue to grow and continue to move forward and get better at doing it but I do feel like we do a good job of getting the right information (into) guys hands to help them, not only from a team standpoint but individually in their career as well.”
With MLB and the MLBPA implementing health and safety protocols that prevented much of the social nature of the clubhouse, it limited how Boone was able to have those conversations.
“Because in a lot of ways it was harder to communicate and casually communicate with players and have normal interactions and routines that you get into as a big league team …,” Boone said. “So there were just different hurdles each and every day that you kind of had to get through. So I think it’s just making sure that the communication and information is seamless from me, coaches to players, so that whatever adverse situations you may find yourself in (we can) still thrive in this environment, and you know that’s something that I want to make sure we’re better at.”
Boone said that he never worried about his job status, just about getting back to work.
“I love doing this, I love being a part of this organization,” Boone said. “To get to work for the Steinbrenner family and Brian Cashman and his staff is a privilege and an honor and something that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. But, honestly, I’ve never worried about my status year by year moving forward. I kind of feel like that will all take care of itself.
“I can’t wait to get back to work and as I say a lot we’re trying to kick that door in … we’re trying to win a championship, we’re trying to climb to the top of the mountain. We know we’re close, we know we have a team capable of it,” Boone said. “And that’s the motivation, so my contract status and all that will take care of itself and my focus is on on us and getting us to the top of that mountain.”
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