Friday, December 24, 2021

New Coaches Behind the Locked Door...

Aaron Boone / Credit: ESPN

 Yankees officially announce 2022 coaching staff…

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the MLB house, not a creature was stirring, not even a louse (also known as Rob Manfred and Tony Clark).

Per a tweet yesterday by MLB Insider Jeff Passan, “No, there has been no progress on the labor front. Don’t anticipate there will be for a while. Talks will restart in early January. Not much else there.” Not exactly the words we wanted to hear but obviously expected with no meaningful progress this month between the owners and the players union. We can only hope the two sides feel some pressure to hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement to ensure Spring Training starts as planned.

The Yankees finally announced their coaching staff for the 2022 season. While I was excited to see the return of Eric Chavez, I was disappointed Carlos Mendoza was retained as the bench coach. I should preface it by saying I do not know Mendy, but he seems too much like Boone to me. He should have been moved to first base and a stronger voice added to occupy the seat next to Boone.

Chavez’s name has been mentioned for possible managerial jobs in recent years, so I was a little surprised that he accepted a role as assistant hitting coach. Then again, you must start somewhere, and Aaron Boone did convey Chavez will be used like a Swiss Army knife so the title may not befit the duties and responsibilities he will be assigned. With more coaching experience, Chavez is the first Yankees coach that I could see as an eventual replacement for Aaron Boone. No disrespect to Luis Rojas who probably deserves another shot at managing at some point down the road. Either way, I am glad Chavez is back in the organization after spending the last five years in Anaheim, California. Since he was a Billy Eppler hire for the Angels, I am probably a little surprised he did not join the Mets in some capacity if he was coming back to New York. Although he is better known as an Oakland Athletic, I am glad the former Yankees third baseman found his way back to the Bronx.

Eric Chavez

The 2022 Yankees Coaching Staff:


Aaron Boone

Bench Coach

Carlos Mendoza

Pitching Coach

Matt Blake

Bullpen Coach

Mike Harkey

Assistant Pitching Coach

Desi Druschel

Hitting Coach

Dillon Lawson

Assistant Hitting Coaches

Eric Chavez

Casey Dykes

Third Base/Outfield Coach

Luis Rojas

First Base/Infield Coach

Travis Chapman

Quality Control/Catching Coach

Tanner Swanson

Brett Weber is also part of the staff as Coaching Assistant/Instant Replay Coordinator.

It did not take long for the ousted Yankees coaches to find new jobs. Phil Nevin, former third base coach, is set to hand off fake footballs to Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani as the new third base coach for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (although the hire has not yet been formally announced). Marcus Thames, former hitting coach, is now Hitting Coach for Donnie Baseball’s staff in Miami, and P.J. Pilittere, former assistant hitting coach, found the same gig on Bud Black’s staff in the Mile High City. Reggie Willits, former first base coach, left on his own to become a volunteer assistant coach for the University of Oklahoma baseball team. Radley Haddad, former coaching assistant, and bullpen catcher is set to become the Game Planning and Strategies Coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

To all the new additions on Aaron Boone’s staff, welcome and we cannot wait for you to get to work. We are tired of chasing World Championship #28 and would like to be prepared to go after #29 when the dust settles in October. Bring a championship back to New York and more specifically, to the Bronx!

GM Brian Cashman, through his usual dumpster diving, continues to collect catchers.

After bringing back Rob Brantly on a minor league deal, he has added David Freitas, a 32-year-old journeyman catcher with limited Major League experience. Freitas ended last season as a member of the Durham Bulls, the top farm team for the dreaded Tampa Bay Rays. Originally selected in the 2020 MLB Draft by the Washington Nationals, he has appeared in the Majors with the Atlanta Braves, Seattle Mariners and Milwaukee Brewers. He also played for the Kiwoom Heroes of the KBO League (Korea).

David Freitas

Rodolfo Duran was also signed to a minor league contract. Duran, a defensive specialist, is only twenty-three and played for the Phillies Triple A club last season. He was originally signed by the Phillies in 2014 as an international free agent. Duran is the more intriguing catcher to me but none of the catchers added have the potential to unseat Gary Sanchez.

Rodolfo Duran / Credit: Mark Wylie

The Yankees also signed for Blue Jays and White Sox reliever Jimmy Cordero to a minor league deal. Cordero, a 30-year-old right-hander, had Tommy John surgery last March, so we may not see him in 2022 but he has the potential to be a part of the Yankees bullpen in 2023. Time will tell if he can turn out to be another Clay Holmes or Wandy Peralta. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I like the signing. The Yankees will be looking to rebuild their bullpen in 2023 when Aroldis Chapman and Zack Britton are gone.

Jimmy Cordero / Credit: Jonathan Daniel, Getty Images

Congratulations to Buck Showalter in his new role as manager for the New York Mets. Buck knows a thing or two about working for a rich, egotistic owner who wants to win. I thought new Mets GM Billy Eppler would have gone for a younger, more analytic manager, but there is certainly nothing wrong with the hire of Showalter. I enjoyed having him back in the Yankees organization, sort of, in his role with the YES Network. For as much as some of us would have liked to have Showalter replace Aaron Boone, it was never going to happen. Even if Boone is ultimately ousted, I highly doubted the Yankees would ever bring Buck back for Round Two. So, I am happy for him and his new opportunity. Pretty nice to show up for work and be handed Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, Francisco Lindor, Pete Alonso, and Starling Marte.

Angela & Buck Showalter

We would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday season! Please stay safe, healthy, and happy.

Santa Claus

As always, Go Yankees!