Steinbrenner: 'Boone will be back next year'

October 13th, 2020

NEW YORK -- Hal Steinbrenner said on Tuesday that he was “very disappointed” with the Yankees’ inconsistent play throughout the 2020 season, believing that his team was capable of achieving much more than a five-game exit after facing the Rays in the American League Division Series.

“We invested a lot of time, energy and money into the team last offseason, and we all felt that we had a team that could win a championship,” Steinbrenner told Michael Kay on ESPN New York 98.7 FM. “We failed to do that. We didn’t even come close. At this point in time, all I can do is apologize to our fans. They deserved a better outcome than they got.”

The Yankees’ managing general partner touched upon numerous topics throughout a 20-minute interview, stating definitively that Aaron Boone will return for his fourth season as the Yankees’ manager.

Boone piloted the team to a 33-27 record during the pandemic-shortened campaign, a year after he became the first Major League manager to win 100 or more games in each of his first two seasons. Boone’s contract includes an option for 2021.

“Aaron Boone is a good baseball man. He's a good leader,” Steinbrenner said. “He has the respect of the players. Aaron Boone will be back next year. That's just a fact.”

Steinbrenner also said that he is satisfied with the performance of general manager Brian Cashman, who has served in that role since February 1998.

“I've known Brian forever, and the way he goes about doing things is in a very objective way,” Steinbrenner said. “He listens to everybody -- pro scouting and analytics, and anybody else that wants to get into his ear. I know the people that work under him respect him, and Boone respects him. It's been good. We're just going to have to keep plugging away.”

The Yankees have not won the World Series since 2009, their only title in the past 19 seasons. Steinbrenner said that he does not believe the season should be viewed as a “failure,” a phrase that the late George M. Steinbrenner used frequently following seasons that did not end with parades. 

“Our objective was to win a world championship. We failed in that endeavor,” Steinbrenner said. “Does that mean the entire season was a failure? No. I don't think winning 10 in a row was a failure, and last year, I don't think winning [103] games was a failure. I know people disagree with me on that, but I look at the season as a whole.”

Other topics discussed by Steinbrenner included:

The importance of re-signing DJ LeMahieu: “I think I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't recognize what a contribution he made to the club and how good of a player he is. So I recognize both those things. I'll leave it at that.”

Gerrit Cole’s first season as a Yankee: “As advertised. … Highly intelligent, which we knew going in, and an incredibly hard worker. He instills other people to work harder than they might even otherwise do. He's hardcore. We got exactly what we wanted.”

Using Deivi García and J.A. Happ in ALDS Game 2: “I thought the logic was sound. We're not the only team that employed that plan in this postseason. But the bottom line is, in order for a plan to be successful, the different components of the plan have to be well executed and that didn't happen here. Happ struggled and he struggled significantly, and eventually the plan failed.”

Gary Sánchez’s regression: “It is surprising. I guess we'll just have to see about that next year, going forward. But it's an incredible amount of talent. He’s going to keep working his backside off, and we're going to keep helping him in every way we can. If all goes well, I believe we'll get him back.”

The Yankees’ finances: “We sustained significant losses this year, more so than any other team in baseball. It's just been a crazy year. We're just going to have to see what we really feel we need and what that's going to cost. We'll go from there, the way we do that every year.”

Recent injury concerns: “For the most part, we were healthy throughout the short postseason. I know [Luis] Severino was out with Tommy John, but you're going to see the kind of changes we made not just with personnel, but with procedure. I think you're going to see a big difference next year.”

Fans at Yankee Stadium in 2021: “I have no idea, and neither do you guys. We’ll just have to see what happens with this virus, with vaccines. Nobody would love it more than me. It was a surreal experience to be playing regular-season games with no fans. I didn't like it any more than any of you did. Hopefully we get back to some normalcy in 2021, because I’ve about had it with 2020.”