Yankees need to consider David Cone as their next pitching coach

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 19: David Cone speaks on stage during David Cone's 20th Anniversary of the Perfect Game on June 19, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The David Cone Foundation Gala)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 19: David Cone speaks on stage during David Cone's 20th Anniversary of the Perfect Game on June 19, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The David Cone Foundation Gala) /

During Larry Rothschild’s nine-year run as Yankees pitching coach, his teams led the AL in wins, strikeouts and first-pitch strikes. However, the Yanks will go in a new direction — and in my opinion, the only course leads to David Cone.

When Aaron Boone was hired before the 2018 season to manage the New York Yankees, I was a bit surprised Larry Rothschild was kept as the team’s pitching coach. And no, not because Rothschild didn’t do a good job under Joe Girardi for seven seasons.

Instead, since Boone was ushering in a new Yankee approach being driven by analytics, it only made sense that an entirely new coaching staff accompany Boone, right?

Wrong, because Boone had no prior managerial experience, Rothschild was kept in tow because of his vast baseball knowledge and understanding of the daunting job that is being a coach for the Yanks.

Rothschild managed the Tampa Bay Rays to a 205-294 record from 1998-2001 — not to mention he spent 20 years as a coach with four other organizations before coming to New York.

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Even though a patchwork starting rotation in 2019 managed the sixth-lowest ERA in the league, now that Boone accomplished back-to-back 100-win seasons (103 in ’19), the Yanks can offciailly finalize their coaching transformation.

With an eye towards hiring a replacement that capitalizes on the ever-growing importance of analytics, the Yankees would be wise to hire someone that can also view the game through a player’s eyes, similar to their manager — and most of the current staff.

Although Rothschild spent 11 seasons in the minor leagues and saw seven big-league appearances, he excelled as a coach. However, someone like David Cone did his best work on the mound, has transitioned to being one of the finest analysts in MLB, and should be able to translate that success to the world of coaching.

Anyone with a set of ears — that has listened to Cone talk about the art of pitching over 10 years as part of the YES Network (he is a four-time New York Emmy-winner) understand’s that Cone is the perfect blend of old-school mentality meets Sabermatrician.

While it helps that Cone was a staple in the Yankees rotation from 1996-1999, won a total of five World Series, was a five-time All-Star and the 1994 AL Cy Young Award winner — if Cone is able to speak to this new generation of players the way he does to the audience (with a hint of that bulldog mentality he exuded during his 17-year career), there’s little doubt he’d be the perfect compliment to Aaron Boone.

To say I’ve been banging the drum for Cone to be Rothschild’s successor as pitching coach might be a bit of an understatement, as the first article I wrote detailing why, dates back to June 2016.

In that piece, I spoke about Cone’s brilliant observation of pitchers today — and how they sometimes get so stuck on pitching within a sequence — working up the ladder, that they fail to adjust on the fly according to the specific batter and inherent situation.

Cone was also one of the first broadcasters I can recall that pointed out the importance of Gary Sanchez’s refinement when it came to framing pitches, as well as Luis Severino, and how he would have been better served working out of the big league bullpen, rather than being sent to Triple-A.

The two-time 20-game winner, Cone, was adamant that in the long term, Severino’s changeup would develop faster if he tried various grips under the guidance of Rothschild.

While other candidates may emerge like RailRiders pitching coach Tommy Phelps, former Reds manager Bryan Price, Pedro Martinez or maybe even Andy Pettitte, there’s no one I’d rather see working with Yankee pitchers than David Cone.

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Besides, Cone already let it be known he’d be open to a coaching position when he reportedly threw his hat in the ring for Yankees manager back in 2018.