Yankees: 3 recent NYY who should come back as coaches
These three Yankees should return as members of the coaching staff.
The Yankees have all the elements of a successful roster, but every other year during this recent stretch, they’ve seemed somewhat broken.
2017? Probably (definitely) the worst roster they’ve put forth out of this four-year cycle, but also the season that created the best vibes. Their success was unexpected, and they rode a wave of positive thinking to a one-game lead on a World Series berth — and we’ll never know what would’ve happened if they’d played those next two games in a legitimate road ballpark.
2018, the juggernaut Yankees somehow got surpassed by the extra-juggernaut-y Red Sox (another team aided by, uh, the video room). In 2019, everything felt almost like 2017 until the ALCS went awry and wrapped with the same ending.
And 2020, the year they were supposed to go all the way, was ruined before it ever really began, first by bipartisan bickering and then by an endless wave of injuries.
What the Yankees need over the next few years of their contention window is to effectively fill roster holes while replicating, as well as possible, that feeling of 2017. The loose and chaotic locker room. The mentorship that comes with veteran additions without the August struggles that also come with those veteran additions.
In an effort to create a clubhouse with all its necessary components — and with all apologies to Todd Frazier, whose retirement we’re not encouraging — these three former Yankees could concoct an era of good feelings if they returned in coaching roles.
3. Erik Kratz
The Yankees should maintain the Kratz connection into 2021 and beyond.
Come on. How can Erik Kratz not be on this list? And how can he not already be locked into an assistant catching coach gig? We don’t care how you get Kratz in the building. Just get it done.
Prior to arriving in 2020 as the unexpected third catcher, Kratz spent time with the 2017 Yanks, too, traveling with the team to Cleveland as they clinched their ALCS berth. After moving on to Milwaukee (and hitting .625 in the 2018 NLDS!), Kratz returned to the Bronx — or, er, Scranton — and served as a mentor for the team’s young pitching prospects, specifically Deivi Garcia, who refers to Kratz as his “padre”.
For 2021 and beyond, it seems essential to maintain that connection, especially with Garcia approaching his very first full season in the game. The adorable connection between Kratz and Garcia helped define his successful big league debut, and though the 40-year-old catcher isn’t exactly a valuable bat to have on the roster right now, he’s an extremely positive influence on the club’s culture in general.
After DJ LeMahieu is presented with his blank check, we’d give Kratz a much smaller and blanker one.