Mark Teixeira played eight seasons under Joe Girardi with the Yankees, and he worked this past year with Girardi’s incoming replacement as manager, Aaron Boone, at ESPN.
The former Yankee first baseman says he immediately thought Boone would be a good fit for the criteria GM Brian Cashman was seeking after Girardi was let go in October.
“Great hire. Not surprised that Cash went with a Boonie-type, just because of how well-respected he is in the baseball industry, not only from his knowledge, but also just the way he communicates and gets along with people and understands the dynamics of the clubhouse so well,” Teixeira said Saturday in a phone interview. “I played against Boonie for years during my career and I got to work with him this entire year at ESPN.
“When the job opening came up with the Yankees, internally at ESPN we all were like, ‘Hey, they need to interview Boonie.’ He’s exactly the type of guy they should be looking for and that’s exactly what happened.”
Boone, 44, never has coached or managed at any professional level, but he indicated last month that he’s been “preparing for this job” his entire life. Boone and his brother, Bret, were third-generation big leaguers after his grandfather and father also played in the majors.
“While he hasn’t been a manager, his experience is vast in every other aspect of the game and understanding what a manager’s job is,” Teixeira said. “I believe the reason he was hired is the Yankees have a great young core of players, super-talented. But there’s gonna be ups and downs and times when these players are going to get tight. It’s the manager’s job to let these guys know that he’s got their back, that the team has their back, and to go out there and play loose and have fun.
Aaron Boone (r.), seen here with fellow Yankee playoff hero Bucky Dent in 2010, gets much praise from former Yankee first baseman Mark Teixeira.
(Al Bello/Getty Images)
“The last thing you want is for young players to play tight and be afraid to fail. I think Boonie’s communication skills will help with those young guys.”
Asked if he believed that was Girardi’s biggest downfall, Teixiera added: “As an analyst I’ve had to be very candid about this. I tell people that everyone likes Joe. Joe was well-respected, universally respected throughout this organization, but the issue is the uptightness that he can sometimes show in his actions and in the clubhouse and not being able to communicate with players. That’s not what you want for good, young, talented players. The worst thing a young player can do is play tight and not know where he stands with his manager, with his front office, his teammates. I think that was one of the things that Joe wasn’t the best at, and ultimately that’s why Cash went with an Aaron Boone-type guy.”
Teixeira also praised Cashman’s “for taking his time” and for his diverse choices as the six candidates interviewed for the vacancy: former manager Eric Wedge, longtime Yanks coach Rob Thomson, up-and-comers Hensley Meulens and Chris Woodward, and like Boone, inexperienced Carlos Beltran.
To that end, Teixeira believes Beltran – his former teammate with the Yankees – will get the opportunity to manage in the majors in the future.
“Absolutely,” Teixeira said. “I think Carlos is probably best off taking a breather. I know this past year for me was so great, just staying far enough away from the game where I didn’t miss being on the field. I think ‘Los deserves that time with his family this year and then when he wants to get into it, he’s gonna have people lined up to interview him. He’ll be a great manager someday.”