Yankees’ coaching shakeup begins with Marcus Thames and Phil Nevin dismissals
Initially, the New York Yankees‘ dead silence following their AL Wild Card loss to the Boston Red Sox seemed to indicate the status quo would be maintained, both in the locker room and above.
But now that we’ve passed the Division Series off-day without an announcement of any kind, might the tide be turning?
Surely, Brian Cashman is still safe. We’ve also heard rumors of the team’s stated preference for more Aaron Boone.
But what about his coaching staff? And how long will Boone’s contract be, if it’s being drawn up at all? According to MLB insider Buster Olney, the prolonged pause now seems to indicate that plenty more needs to be worked out before the 2021 Yankees’ braintrust is officially locked in.
Think about it. The only silent day in this entire month-long stretch where the Yankees could own the news cycle, and they didn’t budge?
Surely, that meant this web was getting more complex. And it explains why … we should’ve seen their next move coming.
Yankees dismissed hitting coach Marcus Thames.
Olney, as he often is, was dead on.
Keep in mind, when we type that, that he also projected a return for Boone, and that’ll likely be next down the pipeline.
Still, even though the ESPN insider telegraphed the next steps, we still didn’t think things would change this swiftly. A few hours later, Lindsey Adler of The Athletic broke the news that hitting coach Marcus Thames’ contract would not be renewed for 2022, after a team-wide backslide from their offensive peak in 2019.
What happened? We may never know … but Thames’ tutelage certainly didn’t help, and though ownership placed plenty of blame on the players, faith in the entire staff must’ve been shaken as nothing turned around over a six-month span.
The one-to-one math here is obvious. The Yankees possessed what seemed like a top-five (top-three? two?) offense entering 2021, but were lapped by the Red Sox, Jays and Rays yet again, as they ended up closer to the bottom of the pack in most categories despite superior personnel.
Gleyber Torres proved unable to reverse worrisome trends. Gio Urshela, Gary Sánchez and DJ LeMahieu all ended up hovering around league-average, which is not where they have to be for this team to contend. Deadline acquisition Joey Gallo was the worst version of himself after arriving from Texas.
This Yankees lineup finishing 19th in runs per game and 23rd in batting average, with a healthy Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, can’t be defended. Sadly, Thames’ time was up; he’ll be replaced by some sort of offensive Matt Blake, a hitting guru with a numerical approach.
Will he be the only shuffle on Aaron Boone’s staff? Seems doubtful, based on the timeline of events.
EDIT: Seconds later, the Yankees also announced they were dismissing Phil Nevin.
And Marcus Thames’ assistant …