When the Yankees immediately announced, post-Dillon Lawson firing on Sunday night, that they planned to go outside the organization with their next hire, it seemed logical they'd had someone else in mind for quite a while.
We just didn't know how long that while really was.
Brian Cashman told the media on Sunday evening that the team was choosing between two candidates and hoped to have a new hire in place for the team's series in Colorado beginning Friday. It now seems those two candidates were "Sean Casey, and an emergency backup in case we can't close the deal."
Per MLB insider Jon Heyman, the Yankees had actually pursued an interview with Casey as early as this past winter; he declined because his girlfriend was undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
Six months later, Casey and the Yankees were able to come to a long-simmering accord, which says plenty about both their interest in his new philosophy, and about Lawson's tenuous hold on the position.
Wait, so ... when did Yankees actually decide to fire Dillon Lawson?
According to Heyman's sources, the Yankees have long held an internally split view of Lawson's abilities, with the analytics people backing him and the opposition with no interest in considering his merits.
That means that, during the Boston doubleheader, after he was paraded in front of the media to spit platitudes, he wasn't welcomed back into a clubhouse that was united behind his message. He was fed to the wolves, then introduced to some more wolves.
It also means that there might be some credence to the Anthony Volpe chicken parm conspiracy theory. Why would the famously image-conscious Yankees allow that story to get out if they knew it would reflect poorly on Lawson ... unless they wanted it to? It becomes a lot easier to believe that somebody behind the scenes was orchestrating his exit in mid-June when the team actually may have been doing so since early January.
Casey will inherit a bottom-of-the-barrel offensive team full of veterans who should know better. Pessimism abounds because players like Giancarlo Stanton and Anthony Rizzo likely aren't reliant on a hitting coach's advice, at this point in their careers -- though a little encouragement couldn't hurt.
Any optimism, though, comes from the conceit that things couldn't possibly get worse. If the front office was split on Lawson, that likely means the players were, too. Either that, or they'd completely tuned him out, en masse. A change may not fix everything -- and this may not be the right change -- but it sounds like the Yankees made their minds up before they'd even lifted the curtain on this season.