Raúl Ibañez (So Cool)
One of the most compelling arguments for Aaron Boone's dismissal at the end of the 2022 season (and the, uh, 2021 season also) was the managerial candidacy of former Yankees folk hero Raúl Ibañez. Mostly known in the Bronx for socking both game-tying and game-winning home runs against the Orioles in Game 3 of the 2012 ALDS (and tying up Game 1 of the ALCS in the ninth, too, before suffering defeat), Ibañez still has instant name recognition. He also has 305 home runs and a lengthy and always-evolving career to his name.
Most agree that the charming Ibañez, currently holding court as MLB's Senior Vice President of On-Field Operations, has a future in the dugout. He's beloved in the Bronx. Such a hiring would immediately inject the Yankees with winning serum. Unfortunately, therein lies the obvious downside, too. He's become so prominent in MLB's league office that he was invited to announce picks at Sunday night's draft. Is this too lofty a goal? Would the league let him leave? Sometimes, it feels possible. Sometimes, it feels just as insane as pitching that the Yankees should hire Theo Epstein to do the job.
If the Yankees were ready to fire Lawson at the end of the first half and state publicly that they planned to hire an "outside the organization" name and have them installed by end of week, it sort of felt as if they already had someone in mind, and were in the process of working out the kinks. Either Beltrán or Ibañez, both mentioned by The Athletic in their Lawson wrap-ups, would have fit that bill.
Sigh. Maybe the Yankees just need more time to pry Ibañez back into the dugout, and will get a chance to try to woo him once again after Casey's 2023 season wraps.
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