Joe Espada leaving Yankees continues big changes

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 16: Carlos Correa
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 16: Carlos Correa /

You can officially cross one name off the reported list of 20-25 names for Yankees manager, as former third base coach, Joe Espada, has officially agreed to become the new bench coach of the World Champion Houston Astros.

I guess if you can’t beat ’em you really can join ’em. That’s the mantra former Yankees third base coach and infield instructor Joe Espada must live by.

Espada, whose contract with the Yanks expired on Tuesday, replaces Joey Cora as bench coach of the Astros after just one season. Cora was recently named manager of the division rival Boston Red Sox.

Nothing against the 42-year-old Espada, personally, but I found it hard to believe he was ever really a serious candidate to take over for Joe Girardi.

I mean, the guy seemed to put together a running list of questionable send/stay decisions over the span of his two years manning a position Willie Randolph once made look easy.

After spending nine years in the minor leagues (five seasons of which were at the Triple-A level), Espada officially called it a career following the 2005 season.

Prior to joining the Yanks in 2014 as a special advisor to general manager Brian Cashman, Espada coached third base for the Marlins in addition to coaching Team Puerto Rico at the last two World Baseball Classics.

So what does this mean for the rest of the Yankees’ coaches?

It means that each should probably start looking for employment elsewhere. Especially considering the organization gave them permission to talk with other clubs.

Again, there’s no ill will towards Rob Thomson, Tony Pena, Larry Rothschild or Alan Cockrell — each has done a very good job in their own right, but the manager at the helm of a club that fell one game shy of a World Series berth isn’t coming back. So why should they?

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It’s obvious the Yankees are trending in a new direction. One that won’t include Cashman forcing coaches of years past on a new regime. Quite honestly, it wouldn’t be fair to whoever gets the job.

Unless of course, Thomson, Pena or Rothschild get the promotion — which I see as a longshot.

Another sign that things are about to get an upheaval in the land of pinstripes was Wednesday’s promotion of Kevin Reese to head of minor league operations.

Taking over for Gary Denbo, who was lured to Miami by some guy named Derek Jeter, Reese was named director of pro scouting back in 2016.

Next: Ellsbury on his way to the Mariners?

Reese, 39, joined the organization in 2008 as a scout and has risen through the ranks rather quickly. Another career minor leaguer, Reese did see parts of 2005 and 2006 with the Bombers, hitting .385 in 12 big league games.