Yankees: Meet Their Most Important Man Not On The Roster


The Yankees, have all but set their 25-man roster. There’s a member of their organization in Pennsylvania waiting to receive the castoffs. Which makes him the most important man in their system.

Yankees Triple-A manager, Al Pedrique played his last game in the major leagues on June 21, 1989, for the Detroit Tigers. He went 0-3 in a loss to the Oakland A’s at the tender age of 28. Hailing from Valencia, Venezuela, he has worked his way up through the ranks of the Yankees minor league system to assume a position that makes him the most important non-roster person in the entire organization. Consider this:

In 2017, it is likely that at some point in the season, Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier, Billy McKinney, Chance Adams, Jordan Montgomery, James Kaprielian, Miguel Andujar, and Mason Williams will all occupy lockers and play under his tutelage for the defending International League Champion, Scranton-Wilkes Barre Rail Raiders.

Al Pedrique, to the good fortune of the Yankees, knows and accepts what his role is with the Yankees organization

And depending on whether or not they make the big league team, Ronald Torreyes and Jorge Mateo could also be joining the party in Pennsylvania.

Managing in the minor leagues in many ways is harder than having the same job in the big leagues. But at the same time, it can also be more rewarding. You can liken the job, for instance, to the elementary school teacher whose job it is to drum in math basics like fractions and decimals, so the high school teacher can later get to the “good stuff” and teach the same students algebra.

Al Pedrique, to the good fortune of the Yankees, knows and accepts what his role is with the Yankees organization, explaining to Scranton’s local newspaper, the Times-Tribune:

"Every day you will learn something. You’re here for the kids and to make them better. And my goal when the day is over with is to make sure when they go home, they go home feeling good about themselves."

But the upcoming season will not be anywhere near average for Pedrique and his coaching staff. The players he is inheriting, conceivably, could be in the starting lineups of any one of several major league teams this season. And arguably, they would be playing for the Yankees if this year’s roster wasn’t still cluttered with players like Chase Headley, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, and even CC Sabathia, who have expensive contracts that demand inclusion on the team.

Yankees Look To Pedrique To Hold Down The Fort

All of which switches Pedrique’s primary role as a teacher to a full-time ego massager and mentalist, at least for this season.

He’ll be manning the phones when Brian calls and says, “Hey Al, Headley’s down for at least a week. I want Mateo. Is he ready?” And then it’ll be Pedrique’s job to tell Mateo he’s going up, while simultaneously telling Torreyes, just as an example, that he’s not.

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Which, in turn, leads to the possibility that Pedrique might welcome the likes of an Alex Rodriguez stopping by once in a while for one-on-one chats with some of these players further cementing his role with the Yankees as a mentor and guidance counselor.

To date, no one but Jorge Mateo, who balked  and was suspended  by the Yankees when he was passed over for a promotion, has rocked the boat. And at the moment, they all seem willing to wait their turn with the knowledge that the Yankees have confidence in their ability and their time will come.

But it will be up to Al Pedrique to maintain that all too fragile attitude. Because he’s dealing with players who have had success since their days in Little League and they expect nothing different at this stage of their careers.

All of which means that Pedrique will be earning every penny of his salary for this season and even into next year.