After the announcement that Joe Girardi won’t be back to manage the team in 2018, the Yankees are now looking for just their third skipper in the last 22 seasons. The new manager will step into an enviable situation, taking over a team with one of the sport’s biggest payrolls and an array of young star talent, though there will be immediate pressure on the new dugout boss to win. Eight years without a World Series counts as a major drought by the Yankees’ standards, and since the current roster finished just a game shy of the AL pennant, there is reason to believe this group is ready to win now.
As with previous managerial searches, we’ll keep a running post on any news and rumors connected to possible candidates for the Yankees’ job.
- The Yankees are not limiting themselves to the five candidates that are known to have interviewed, ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden reports (Twitter links). That seems to introduce a bit of a wild card to the search at this stage. How many additional candidates might get interviews isn’t known, but there seems to be at least one name already on the list for a sit-down. Beltran, who is discussed further below, will be brought in for a closer look, according to Steve Phillips of MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (via Twitter).
- Dodgers third base coach Chris Woodward is slated to interview, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand tweets. The former big league infielder has been a base coach and an infield instructor with the Dodgers and Mariners for the past four seasons. It is not known at present whether others will also get a shot at an interview, but owner Hal Steinbrenner did make clear the club will meet with “less than ten” candidates, as MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch recently tweeted. (The team’s plans for additional interview rounds are also not apparent.)
- Broadcaster Aaron Boone and Giants coach Hensley Meulens have each had their interviews, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported would take place. Boone’s candidacy was first reported by ESPN.com’s Buster Olney (via Twitter). The long-time big leaguer, who spent a small but memorable portion of his career with the Yankees, does not have any big league coaching experience. Meulens is also a former Yankee player; Sherman first called him someone “who could come into play” for the job.
- The Yankees have interviewed former Mariners and Indians skipper Eric Wedge for the post, tweets ESPN New York’s Andrew Marchand. The 2007 American League Manager of the Year, Wedge hasn’t been in a big league dugout since the 2013 season — his final in Seattle. Since that time, he’s spent two seasons as an analyst with ESPN and another two working with the Blue Jays’ player development department. He’s currently a field coordinator in the Toronto organization.
- Bench coach Rob Thomson sat down with the organization about the managerial opening on November 8th, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter), though it doesn’t seem as if he faced the press afterward. Thomson has been on Girardi’s staff since 2008 and previously worked in the Yankees’ player development department.
Preliminary Candidates (Interview Status Unknown)
- If Boone was an unexpected candidate, then the most recent possibility to be floated comes straight from left field — almost literally. Even as he announced the end of his playing career today, Carlos Beltran was generating buzz in relation to the Yankees managerial opening. In interviews with MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand and ESPN.com’s Marly Rivera, Beltran said he wants to manage (at least eventually) and suggested he’d have interest in the gig. Cashman did not commit to anything when asked to comment, saying that he’s “aware of [Beltran’s] interest in managing in the future” but declining to elaborate otherwise on the matter. Carlos Beltran tells Joel Sherman of the New York Post that he had a “brief conversation” with GM Brian Cashman and that he has a desire to apply his knowledge and passion for the game to a managerial role in the Majors. Beltran also indicated that he hasn’t been asked to come in for an interview, though, and Sherman suggests that the Yankees may only interview one or two additional candidates for the position, casting some doubt as to whether Beltran is truly a possibility.
- Former major league infielder/outfielder Jerry Hairston Jr. is a potential candidate, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic hears (Twitter link). Hairston was a member of the Yankees’ most recent World Series-winning team in 2009, but he doesn’t bring any coaching experience to the table. Interestingly, though, former ESPN.com writer Mark Saxon noted back in 2013 that managing could be in Hairston’s future. As Saxon detailed, Hairston is fluent in Spanish – a valuable asset for a manager – and, at the time, was a mentor to some of his younger teammates on the Dodgers. That season went down as the last of Hairston’s playing career. The 41-year-old has been working as a Dodgers broadcaster since retiring in December 2013.
- Per Sherman and MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch, some of the internal candidates likely to receive consideration include bench coach Rob Thomson, first base coach Tony Pena, minor league hitting and baserunning coach Reggie Willits, and minor league managers Al Pedrique (Triple-A), Jay Bell (advanced A-ball) and Josh Paul (short season A-ball).
Unlikely Candidates/Not In The Mix/No Longer Under Consideration
- The Yankees asked the Athletics for permission to speak with manager Bob Melvin, but were not given authorization, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter).
- Former Yankee outfielder and current Dodgers special adviser Raul Ibanez was mentioned by both Sherman and Hoch. But he decided not to pursue the position after being contacted, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post tweets.
- Recently fired Tigers manager Brad Ausmus also declined a chance to interview, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter).
- Josh Paul isn’t considered a candidate, according to George A. King III of the New York Post.
- Kevin Long was initially cited by Sherman as “a long shot,” but has since signed on to become the Nationals’ hitting coach.
- Yankees VP of baseball operations Tim Naehring tells ESPN.com’s Andrew Marchand that he isn’t interested in being considered for the job. Naehring has worked almost entirely in front office capacities for the Reds and Yankees since he retired from playing, and Marchand suggests that Naehring is a future GM candidate for other teams.
- The Yankees have not contacted the Marlins about manager Don Mattingly, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported. Miami has announced more recently that Mattingly will remain with the organization as manager.
- The idea of Alex Rodriguez becoming the Yankees’ manager is “the longest of long shots,” according to Hoch. Given the controversy and hard feelings that seemed to accompany A-Rod’s final years in New York, Rodriguez would indeed seem like a very unlikely fit, especially given how he has seemingly moved onto a new career in broadcasting.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman discussed the search with reporters, including MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch. Cashman said that the organization prefers a “fresh voice” to connect with its young players, indicating that Girardi wasn’t the man to improve “the connectivity and the communication level of the players in that clubhouse.” The veteran executive says he did not enter the search process with a list of candidates already prepared, suggesting it’s a wide-open search.
- Interestingly, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports (Twitter links), the plan is for candidates to meet with the media — in part, perhaps, as part of the evaluation process. And though Cashman says he may in the past have sought out employees with whom he had previously worked, he notes that won’t be a “driving force” in this case. Sherman previously discussed that potential factor.