1:04pm: Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News hears that Steinbrenner plans to hold an organizational meeting immediately after the season ends, and a perform a “total evaluation” of the player development system, which could result in “complete overhaul.” It’s possible that Oppenheimer, Denbo and other Newman associates are not retained, according to Feinsand.
Unlike King, Feinsand hears that Newman’s replacement will come from outside the organization, as Yankees decision-makers feel that a new direction and new ideas are necessary.
8:35am: Yankees vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman, who has been in charge of the club’s minor league system for the past 15 years, is set to retire, reports George A. King III of the New York Post. However, there appears to be a bit more to the story, as King hears that with Newman’s contract up at the end of the season, he likely would not have been retained had he not gone the retirement route.
As King notes, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner has expressed in the past year that he would look at all aspects of his team, including the player development and amateur scouting departments. The Yankees’ minor league system has drawn some flak for a number of years, and King also hears that director of player development Pat Roessler could be on his way out as well.
Of course, part of the reason for the Yankees’ lack of homegrown position players has been the team’s repeated forfeitures of high draft picks in order to sign free agents. While the Yankees had three first-round picks in 2013 (Ian Clarkin, Aaron Judge and Eric Jagielo), the club has surrendered picks to sign Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, Rafael Soriano and Mark Teixeira in the past six years. The team also failed to sign Gerrit Cole, now with the Pirates, out of high school when selecting him 28th overall back in 2008. This is likely among the reasons that despite the lack of impact from the minor league system (on the hitting side, at least), King hears that vice president and director of amateur scouting Damon Oppenheimer’s job is believed to be safe.
The replacements for Newman and Roessler appear to be in place already as well. Former Royals manager and Dodgers bench coach Trey Hillman is being touted as Newman’s successor. Hillman has served as a minor league manager in the Yankees’ organization in the past as well and recently returned as a special assistant. Former Yankees hitting coach Gary Denbo, who worked with Hillman when Hillman managed in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, is likely to replace Roessler.
All of this news comes just days after reports indicated that the Yankees would likely retain general manager Brian Cashman, whose contract also expires at season’s end.