Did the Yankees' offense improve under Sean Casey? In the end, it didn't, tangibly. Gleyber Torres had a scorching hot summer. DJ LeMahieu returned to something approximating his career norms. Anthony Volpe surged in August, then faltered in September.
Casey may have had a hand in a few improvements. The Yankees led MLB, entering Sept. 20, in pitchers per plate appearance and plate appearances per walk since Casey's arrival. That's tangibly good, but it didn't translate to additional runs scored. In the second half, the 2023 Yankees loved putting men on, then failing to score them. The clubhouse vibes of the post-Casey offense might've been better, but the team was still quite pungent.
Was this Casey's fault, or a personnel issue? Much like Aaron Boone, it's tough to call the inexperienced Casey the problem, and the affable ex-All-Star appeared to make a connection with LeMahieu and a number of Yankees veterans. But is it really the modern Yankees' job to harbor a bunch of deficiencies, then let the deficient parties who aren't the most egregious offenders hang around for a while, simply because they're not the root of all evil?
It's clear Boone likes having Casey around, and will be tied to his less-analytically robotic hitting coach in much the same way Cashman is tied to his manager. That's why it was no great shock when Casey announced Sunday that he'd been asked to return...
...and why it was slightly more shocking, a few hours later, when Casey clarified that was not the case and Boone called earlier statements "jumping the gun".
Yankees hitting coach Sean Casey (and Aaron Boone) may or may not return for 2024
Is Boone less safe to make personnel calls than we thought? Or did Casey just blurt out something he was supposed to hold onto a little longer?
The way it was sold midseason was that Casey was always on a trial run, and might not even want to be a big-league coach much longer. The ball is probably in his court, no matter the flip flops. Sunday's chaos will go down as just another example of the Yankees' propensity for communication breakdowns. Great fodder for the auditors!
If Casey does return -- and it sounds like the onus is now on him -- that would be another significant win for Boone's camp and a blow to Michael Fishman and Co., who don't exactly need another middle finger right now after Aaron Judge took them to task. This year's Casey-led offense might've created some of the building blocks for a successful season. Next year, they'll just have to start driving some of those base runners in, a novel concept.