Yankees: On the Hot Seat In 2017 Is Larry Rothschild


The Yankees pitching coach, Larry Rothschild has been on the hot seat many times during his tenure with the team, and as recently as last summer there were those who were clamoring for him to be replaced as Luis Severino and Michael Pineda went into a tailspin.

Brian Cashman said no, and hired him back on a one-year contract for the 2017 season. That vote of confidence may not last long if the Yankees rotation taxes the bullpen and doesn’t manage to keep the team in games with a chance to win.

The Yankees, like many major league teams, have had pitching coaching in all sorts of flavors. Larry Rothschild is more typical than atypical of the kinds of men chosen for this important position. Because while the Yankees have had their share of “names” to serve in this position, a list that includes the likes of Hall of Famer Whitey Ford, Mel Stottlemeyer, and Ron Guidry, the usual choice has been to select someone like Rothschild who had a grand total of 8.1 innings pitched in the major leagues three decades ago.

And I suppose that it’s logical for that to be so. Because when you think back to this time last year when the Florida Marlins hired Barry Bonds as their hitting instructor, much to the chagrin of manager Don Mattingly, he flopped and eventually was let go after a very brief trial run.

Because it’s one thing to know how to hit or pitch, but quite another thing to be able to teach it. And until last year, Rothschild’s job was pretty much like Joe Girardi’s job in that all he had to do was watch his guys for signs of discomfort or injury, post a “lineup” of who’s starting and who’s on tap first in the bullpen, and then just sit back and let them do their job (or not).

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Rothschild has had at least one head case to deal with in Michael Pineda and another that was brewing last season with Dellin Betances, who had several hiccups along the way. His manner of dealing with Betances may have been part of the reason why Brian Cashman decided to bring him back. Following a classic blowup by Betances against the Red Sox, Rothschild had this to say to NJ.com when he asked about it.

"“That it’s necessary in that role to have a short memory and that it’s a bit of a learning experience. Look at the numbers that you put up. That’s who you are. It’s not what you are one game.”"

And that may be the kind of TLC that is needed as the Yankees move into the coming season with largely untested starters (over the long haul of 162 games), with more on the way and coming fast. What is unknown, though, is whether or not Rothschild has delivered a kick in the butt when it is warranted as well (think Michael Pineda).

The Yankees Are Not Likely To Panic If Things Go South

Of late, the Yankees have not been known as a team that panics in the middle of a season firing their entire coaching staff, and it follows that Rothschild and Girardi will carry the team forward to the 2018 season. And it does not stand to reason that because the players are getting younger, the coaching staff has to as well.

Next: Yankees Michael Pineda: How Many Starts Should He Get

Nevertheless, as much as the Yankees team is in transition with regards to the men on the field, the coaching staff, and in particular one as sensitive as the pitching coach will bee under the microscope as well as the players in the field. And over the course of the 2017 season, we will find out how well he can handle the pressure he has never had to encounter before.