Aaron Boone wasn’t even with the Yankees in 2017, but he’s still ticked off about the sign-stealing scandal involving that season’s World Series champions, the Houston Astros.
“It’s a lot,” the Yankees manager said Thursday night on YES Network’s “Yankees Hot Stove” show. “It's disappointing, frustrating. Frankly, I spent a couple days kind of trying to get my head wrapped around the emotions that I was feeling about it because there's people you care about involved.”
Boone was an ESPN broadcaster when the Astros eliminated the Yankees in the 2017 ALCS and went on to win the World Series over the Dodgers, both in seven games. Whether either outcome would have been different without the Astros’ use of technology to steal signs will never be known.
After former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers opened the lid on the sign-stealing scheme in an interview with The Athletic, Major League Baseball investigated and came down hard on the Astros, fining the club $5 million, taking away draft picks and suspending general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch for one year each. Luhnow and Hinch were fired by Astros owner Jim Crane the same day.
The scandal also has touched the 2018 World Series champion Boston Red Sox, who still are under investigation by MLB for sign-stealing shenanigans under then-manager Alex Cora, the Astros' bench coach in 2017.
Cora and the Red Sox “parted ways” – the new euphemism when the parties decide to end their association; it sounds nicer than “quit” or “fired.” The scandal also cost the Mets new manager Carlos Beltran, who parted ways with the club because of his leading role in the scandal as an Astros player in 2017.
“In the end,” Boone said, “you hope these are significant steps — and I believe that they are — that will get us to a point where we have a much cleaner and more fair game between the lines, and that's where we want things decided anyway.”
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman also addressed the issue on the YES show, mentioning that “another franchise” was being investigated without naming it. Cashman meant the Red Sox, who eliminated the Yankees in the 2018 ALDS.
“Obviously, clearly, the story hasn't been fully resolved at this point,” he said. “But I think the healthy thing to do now is to try to focus on the future and try not to look back too much.”
What else could the Yankees have done in 2017 and ’18? And what can they do to protect themselves going forward?
“We've done our due diligence and tried to do everything we could have done, everything we can, to try to obviously protect our signs — as much as possible — and we've continued to evolve over the course of time because of concerns,” Cashman said. “Obviously, baseball's now determined — with the strong assistance of Mike Fiers coming forward being a whistleblower — to really shed light on some of the things that were occurring in Houston. Clearly.”
New gloves for Andjuar. Boone recently visited with Miguel Andujar in the Dominican Republic and told the third baseman to be ready to play some first base and outfield in spring training as he returns from a shoulder injury that limited him to 12 games in 2019. Andujar has never played anywhere but third as a professional, but the Yankees want to find a way to get his bat in the lineup after Gio Urshela emerged as the team’s third baseman last season. Cashman said it’s Urshela’s job to lose in spring training.