Former New York Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild lasted for two different eras in the Bronx. He was hired to Joe Girardi’s staff in 2011 and lasted through the 2019 season with manager Aaron Boone.
If you ask most Yankees fans, Rothschild overstayed his welcome because the team’s pitching staff, specifically the starting rotation, was eternally a glaring problem. He drew the ire of many fans, even though one could argue the front office didn’t exactly give him the best talent to work with.
Well, after Rothschild was let go at the end of 2019, he quickly found a new home with the San Diego Padres … where he was eventually given a TON of top arms to work with.
And after just 186 games with the Pads, Rothschild was fired on Monday with just five weeks left to go in the 2021 season in a decision that will validate the anger of Yankees fans, which has lasted nearly a decade.
The Padres have been in a bit of a free fall thanks to injuries, many of which have hobbled their pitching staff, but even before that the cracks were evident.
Blake Snell’s Cy Young form vanished. Chris Paddack has continued to regress. Ryan Weathers has been absolutely tattooed over the last month. All young guys who really shouldn’t be in such precarious situations. And Rothschild was the rightful scapegoat, likely because of his out-dated style that’s not latching on with today’s players.
The Padres fired Larry Rothschild and Yankees fans are validated.
Why are Yankees fans validated by this, you ask? Well, how many young pitchers came and went from 2011-2019 that the team failed to harness? Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova, Nathan Eovaldi, Michael Pineda and Sonny Gray sure come to mind! Though injuries affected some of them, their regressions/failure to find consistency could arguably fall on the shoulders of the pitching coach.
And the Yankees’ rotation numbers? Pretty dreadful from 2011-2019.
- 2011: 4.03 ERA (14th in MLB)
- 2012: 4.04 ERA (15th in MLB)
- 2013: 4.08 ERA (18th in MLB)
- 2014: 3.77 ERA (17th in MLB)
- 2015: 4.25 ERA (19th in MLB)
- 2016: 4.44 ERA (19th in MLB)
- 2017: 3.98 ERA (5th in MLB)
- 2018: 4.05 ERA (14th in MLB)
- 2019: 4.51 ERA (15th in MLB)
One overachieving season … and the rest middle of the pack or worse. It’s unfair to pin all the blame on Rothschild, but it’s clear whatever he was doing was not moving the needle.
The key to building a starting rotation is to keep the young talent on track and let the veterans do their thing. Rothschild never really had a problem with veteran players — guys like CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, Masahiro Tanaka, Hiroki Kuroda and James Paxton largely held their own and that was that.
But the younger guys? Almost always a problem under Rothschild, and perhaps the situation with Sonny Gray put an exclamation point on it. New York is certainly a hard place to perform, but the right-hander left, immediately changed his approach, and returned to Cy Young form. Somebody’s gotta take the fall for that. The Padres saw their situation eroding quickly and did what Yankees fans wished had happened in 2016.