Yanks weigh internal, external skipper options

NY boasts strong slate of in-house candidates in Minors, coaching staff and front office

October 26th, 2017

NEW YORK -- It was general manager Brian Cashman's belief that the Yankees would be best served to have a new voice in charge of their dugout, a recommendation that managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner thoughtfully weighed before ultimately signing off on.

Given the Yankees' heavy emphasis and investment into analytics, Joe Girardi's successor is likely to be a candidate who is comfortable using data to weigh his in-game decisions and can handle the New York media, with a prior relationship with Cashman being viewed as a significant plus.

Girardi out as Yankees manager after 10 years

Internal candidates include bench coach Rob Thomson, first-base coach Tony Pena and third-base coach Joe Espada, as well as Al Pedrique, who has overseen the development of Greg Bird, , and while winning back-to-back International League Manager of the Year Awards with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Thomson, 54, has been in the Yankees' organization for 28 seasons, including 10 on the team's big league coaching staff. He has previously interviewed for the Blue Jays' managerial vacancy, which went to John Gibbons.

The 42-year-old Espada has served as a coach and scout in the Yankees' organization, and previously managed in the Puerto Rican Winter League. Pena, 60, has been on the Yanks' staff for 12 years and helmed the Royals from 2002-05, winning the American League Manager of the Year Award in '03.

Former Major Leaguers Jay Bell, Tim Naehring and Josh Paul are also highly thought of in the organizational hierarchy. The 51-year-old Bell managed this season at Class A Advanced Tampa but has served as a big league bench coach with the D-backs and Reds. He's currently managing the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League.

Naehring, 50, has earned a reputation as one of Cashman's most trusted lieutenants, currently serving as the team's vice president of baseball operations. Cashman has credited Naehring's influence for the acquisition of shortstop Didi Gregorius from Arizona prior to the 2015 season.

The 42-year-old Paul managed Class A Short-Season Staten Island this year and has been with the organization since 2008, serving as an organizational catching coordinator. His duties included helping a young Sanchez refine his defensive skills behind the plate.

Should the Yankees look outside the organization, there have been rumblings that the Marlins' new Derek Jeter-led ownership group could make a change regarding manager Don Mattingly. After the 2007 season, Mattingly was one of the three finalists to replace Joe Torre.

Despite the promise of must-read tabloid articles for years to come, the longest of long shots would be the installation of Alex Rodriguez as manager. A-Rod spent his first post-retirement season as a special advisor to Steinbrenner, though he appeared to be most active making various television and entertainment appearances.

Other candidates who fit some of the necessary qualities include Brad Ausmus, who was dismissed by the Tigers after posting a 98-loss season, and Pete Mackanin, who scouted for the Yankees in 2014 before becoming the Phillies' manager the next season.

Mets hitting coach Kevin Long was passed over in favor of Mickey Callaway for that team's managerial vacancy, but the Yankees dismissed Long from their own hitting coach position after the 2014 season. Dodgers advisor Raul Ibanez, who hit three homers during the 2012 postseason with the Yankees, has also been mentioned as someone of interest.

As for Girardi, the Nationals and Phillies are both seeking managers, so he may be able to land in a new spot quickly if he so desires. Though his family gave him their blessing to continue managing, Girardi may also opt to spend time at home or pursue television opportunities.