The New York Yankees will look significantly different on the field next season, but management wasted no time in welcoming back field general Aaron Boone for Year 2 of his recent three-year contract extension in 2023.
Just a few days after the Yankees’ season ended in a puddle of defensive miscues and strikeouts looking, Hal Steinbrenner called Boone a “very good manager” and told a local Florida AP reporter that he’d be back at the helm for next season’s transition year, with or without Aaron Judge.
Now, it seems Boone may have to take on the 2023 season without his consigliere, too, if the White Sox chips fall in a certain direction.
When Boone was first hired, many recommended he seek out his own personal Don Zimmer, a veteran baseball mind who could serve as his bench coach and make up for any greenhorn shortcomings he displayed in the early going (and, uh, five years down the line, too). Boone instead tabbed former big league catcher Josh Bard to serve in the role, though he was replaced after the 2019 season by Carlos Mendoza.
Mendoza, still just 42 years old, is also much younger than the typical grizzled veterans who usually fill this role. It appears Boone and Co. may get a third crack at hiring a more experienced mentor, as the incumbent was one of the reported final two candidates considered as the White Sox manager of the future, emerging in a search that became more scattershot by the day.
New York Yankees give Carlos Mendoza permission to interview for White Sox manager job
So that’s a no on Joe Espada, another former Yankees coach (who might believe he’s next in line for the throne in Houston). It’s a no on Ozzie Guillen, who’d be moving from the broadcast booth back to the dugout as a younger, higher-energy Tony La Russa. And it’s apparently a no on ex-Rangers manager and fan favorite Ron Washington, a name that wasn’t public as far as we knew before this moment.
That’s why this race was so difficult to handicap, and why Mendoza’s sudden emergence made him a looming favorite rather than an afterthought. If every other commonly-trafficked name has been ruled out, who’s left?
Was Chicago waiting until after the World Series to make a move? Or is the Yankees’ bench coach their guy?
Turns out, the job appears to have gone to … Mendoza’s only real competition, Royals coach Pedro Grifol. An announcement will reportedly come later this week.
Some may have expected a Yankees coach to get poached this offseason, especially with ex-Mets skipper and current third base coach Luis Rojas interviewing with the Marlins after his one-year sabbatical in the Yanks’ dugout.
Mendoza was a surprise potential departure, though, and while the Yankees appear to have survived this particular search, it’s clear their bench coach is highly thought of in league circles.