When teams struggle, many begin to wonder who’s on the hot seat. That has been the case all throughout the last two seasons for our New York Yankees. Some people call for the firing of Joe Girardi, others think Brian Cashman has run his course and many want Kevin Long and his smash or strikeout mentality out of the clubhouse. Larry Rothschild seems to be the only one that people don’t whine about on a daily basis. Until now.
It’s not that I dislike Rothschild. He has done remarkably well with some awful staffs the last two seasons. He has been squeezing the lemon and getting gallons of lemonade. But after watching Madison Bumgarner nearly throw a perfect game Tuesday night, you have to begin to wonder: why are we letting Rags coach for another team?
I grew up in the 80s era of Yankees baseball. Sure, everyone liked the high-profiled talent George Steinbrenner brought in like Dave Winfield and Rickey Henderson, but when it came to loving Yankees players, it was Don Mattingly and Dave Righetti. By the late 80s, Rags had quite the resume built. Rags was the 1981 Rookie of the Year as a starter and then tossed a no-hitter in 1983, his final year before his conversion to reliever. He then went on to set the single-season saves record and earned back-to-back Rolaids Relief Awards as the best reliever in baseball in ’86 and ’87. Then, after locking down 36 saves, the Yanks let Righetti walk and he has never come back.
What has Righetti done since then? He has become arguably the best active pitching coach in baseball and has definitely made a strong argument as one of the most notable of all-time. He joined the Giants in in 2000 and is currently the longest tenured pitching coach in baseball. In his 15 years as pitching coach, the Giants have four NL West titles and two World Series. That’s two more World Series than the Giants had pre-Righetti and both of those titles were brought home due in large part to terrific pitching staffs. Add to it, the amount of no-hitters and pitching gems thrown together by Giants’ pitchers the last few years, and the coincidences quickly become a philosophy of how to pitch. Tim Lincecum has two Cy-Youngs and a couple of no-hitters under Rags tutelage.
When they thought Lincecum was done in 2012, Rags found a way to use him in the bullpen, in which he pitched some huge innings in relief during that 2012 World Series. Lincecum has had his struggles of late, but Rags still gets some use out of him as he is now in the bullpen. Jonathan Sanchez hurled a no-no back in 2009 and Matt Cain threw the first perfect game in Giants history in 2012. Their staff has hurled a no-hitter in three consecutive seasons and almost had their second perfect game Tuesday in that same period of time. To say Rags is good at his job is an understatement.
It’s tough. Rothschild has done a great job with not a lot to work with over the last few years. Wouldn’t it be great to have Rags back out in that bullpen though? The Yankees finally have some arms of the future waiting in the minor leagues like Luis Severino and Ian Clarkin. Is Rothschild the guy we want molding them, or would we rather have Rags? At the very least I can dream, and be one day closer to the day we get to watch Donnie Baseball and Rags back in pinstripes again!