Thomson gives Yankees his pitch to manage

New York's bench coach under Girardi feels ready to lead team

November 10th, 2017

NEW YORK -- After 28 seasons in the Yankees organization, there were no introductions necessary when Rob Thomson walked into a conference room at Yankee Stadium this week, aiming to convince the team that he is prepared to serve as the team's next manager.
Thomson has worn many hats over his nearly three decades of service to the organization, having started his rise to the big league dugout in 1990 with a third-base coaching position in Class A ball. He alternated between bench coach and third-base coach during Joe Girardi's 10-year tenure as manager.
"I'm not sure if I convinced them of it, but I am a new voice, I am a fresh voice," Thomson said on Thursday. "As much as I respect Joe, everybody is a little bit different. They have different ways of going about their business. One of my strengths is the trust that the players have in me, I believe. And I think that's one of the things that kind of stands out."
The 54-year-old Thomson said that he was surprised by the Yankees' decision to part ways with Girardi following the team's exit in a seven-game American League Championship Series against the Astros. General manager Brian Cashman identified Girardi's "connectivity and communication" with players as one reason for the change, and Thomson played up his relationship with the current roster as an asset.
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"I think one of my strengths is my communication skills; being able to reach people, build relationships, gain trust," Thomson said. "Once you do that, you can start implementing other things because then you've got the trust of the player. I think that's one of my strengths."
A former catcher and third baseman in the Tigers' system, Thomson's last managerial post came in 1995, when he took over as the skipper at Class A Oneonta. He was a candidate for the Blue Jays' managerial opening in October of 2010, interviewing by telephone for a position that eventually went to John Farrell, and said that he has adapted to the changes that have taken place in the game since then.

"I think the analytics and sport science have gone to a new level," Thomson said. "It's not like we never looked at numbers, but the numbers have evolved so much. There's so much to it, and they're such great tools to have. If you're not paying attention to it and you're not using the analysts upstairs, I think you're kind of foolish. That's the biggest thing."
Thomson said that his experience interviewing with the Yankees was much more taxing and thorough than it had been with Toronto. For more than five hours on Wednesday, Thomson said he was quizzed by a group that included Cashman, assistant general managers Jean Afterman and Michael Fishman, scout Dan Giese and vice president of baseball operations Tim Naehring.

"It was tiring. It wore me down," Thomson said. "I really haven't been through that before. After five or six hours, I went back to the hotel and I was night-night in a hurry."
Like the rest of the Yankees' coaches, Thomson's contract expired on Oct. 31. He said that he has touched base with other organizations about possible positions, but would prefer to return to the Yankees, even if it means doing so under a new manager.
"I'm a Yankee, absolutely," Thomson said. "I've been here 28 years and if I didn't get this job, I would certainly want to come back. This is where I consider my home. I love it here, I love the players and I love what's going on here. I'm very optimistic for the future of this franchise."