10:48am: The Yankees have formally announced that Rothschild will not return to the staff in 2020.
“I want to personally thank Larry for his near decade of commitment to this organization,” general manager Brian Cashman said in the press release announcing the move. “Larry cares deeply about his craft and the pitchers under his tutelage, and he played a significant role in our successes over the past nine seasons. There’s a reason why Larry has had the type of distinguished baseball career he’s had, and it starts with experience and dedication that is difficult to emulate.”
10:30am: The Yankees have relieved pitching coach Larry Rothschild of his duties, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports (via Twitter). He had one year remaining on his three-year contract. ESPN’s Buster Olney first reported that the Yankees had discussed moving on (Twitter link). An announcement from the Yankees is expected today, at which point it will become clear whether Rothschild has been offered a different role within the organization. If he does leave, it’s worth pointing out that Rothschild was on the coaching staff of newly minted Phillies manager Joe Girardi for the majority of Girardi’s time with the Yankees.
The 65-year-old Rothschild has been the team’s pitching coach for the past nine seasons. Yankees pitchers finished the 2019 season as a middle-of-the-pack team in terms of ERA and FIP while ranking in the top third of MLB in terms of strikeout percentage. Nearly all of that success came without top starter Luis Severino, who missed most of the season due to shoulder and lat injuries, and without strikeout machine Dellin Betances, who tore his Achilles tendon in his first appearance upon returning from a shoulder issue of his own.
Looking beyond the staff as a whole, however, a number of key Yankees arms turned in pedestrian or generally poor seasons on the mound. James Paxton provided the Yankees with 150 2/3 solid innings, but he was the only regular rotation member with an ERA south of 4.00. Masahiro Tanaka (4.47), CC Sabathia (4.99), and J.A. Happ (5.01), in particular, all authored seasons that didn’t align with organizational hopes and expectations.
That’s clearly a rudimentary assessment of the staff, of course, and any shortcomings can be attributed to more than just Rothschild alone. But the Yankees organization apparently believes it’s time for a new voice to help guide its staff moving forth; Sherman suggests (also via Twitter) that the Yankees are moving toward a more modernized approach to game preparation. While Rothschild wasn’t closed off to modern, data-driven techniques, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a younger coach more rooted in such tactics brought in to take over the staff.
Prior to being named Yankees pitching coach, Rothschild spent another nine seasons as the Cubs’ pitching coach. The veteran pitching guru has extensive experience working as a minor league pitching coordinator and bullpen coach, and he was also the inaugural manager of the Rays — a role he held from 1998 to 2001.