Aaron Boone is Brian Cashman’s pick to be the next Yankees manager, a source confirmed to Newsday on Friday night.
Boone, a former Yankees third baseman and current ESPN analyst who has never coached or managed anywhere, was chosen by Cashman over five other candidates to replace Joe Girardi.
Cashman made his recommendation to owner Hal Steinbrenner and a contract still has to be worked out. If it is, Boone will take over a team that was one win from the World Series in 2017 and is packed with young talent.
Boone beat out Carlos Beltran, Hensley Meulens, Rob Thomson, Eric Wedge and Chris Woodward.
Boone, 44, interviewed with the Yankees on Nov. 17. He is best known around the Bronx for his 11th-inning home run off Tim Wakefield in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS that closed an epic series against the Red Sox and sent the Yankees to the World Series.
Boone also has another place in Yankees history: He tore his ACL while playing pickup basketball that offseason, leading the Yankees to acquire Alex Rodriguez from the Rangers to replace him at third base.
The Yankees released Boone in February 2004 and he missed the entire season. At that time, Cashman said: “It’s a tough situation we’re all in. You have to move on. We’d like to continue discussing the possibility of keeping him within the Yankees’ fold in some form or fashion that would manifest itself with him maybe being a player for us next year.”
Boone, who played for six teams in a 12-year career, never returned to the Yankees as a player but now is poised to return as a rookie manager.
Boone comes from a longtime baseball family. His grandfather, Ray, and father, Bob, both had long playing careers. Bob was a major-league manager, including with the Reds when Aaron played there, and Aaron’s brother Bret played in the majors for 14 seasons.
Boone has been with ESPN since 2010. After his interview, he said: “Certainly it’s fair to question my experience in actually doing the job. But I would say in a way I’ve been preparing for this job for the last 44 years.”
Earlier in the day, at an event in Stamford, Connecticut, Cashman said he was done interviewing candidates.
“Basically, I’m closing the doors on the six we’ve interviewed and from that we’ll make a recommendation,” he said.
It has been an unusual search. The Yankees are the last team with a managerial opening after Cashman decided not to bring back Girardi after 10 seasons.
Wedge was the only former big-league manager in the group interviewed by Cashman. Thomson, the longtime third-base coach and bench coach under Girardi, is expected to become the Phillies’ bench coach. Meulens and Woodward are big-league coaches. Beltran, like Boone, has no coaching experience. Beltran retired as a player last month after his Astros beat the Yankees in a thrilling ALCS and then won the World Series.
“Everybody has their strengths, everybody obviously has weaknesses,” Cashman said. “There’s no perfect candidate, but we’re looking for someone like we had before: someone that we can work with and collaborate with and connect with in good times and in bad. We’re looking for someone that has obviously the communication skills to manage people — vitally important. Open-mindedness to information . . . Being able to package all the tools in the toolbox, all that information [and] bandwidth and then laser-focus it in a way the players can understand it on a day-in, day-out basis.”
At least the new manager will know who his pitching coach will be. Cashman let it slip that Larry Rothschild will return in that role. The Yankees have not announced that, but it had been expected.