If the Yankees had swung for the fences and wooed Craig Counsell, only to hire the Mets' bench coach, they'd never hear the end of it.
Regardless of where these two teams see themselves in 10 years, the reality is that the Yankees are now shopping for both a bench coach and a hitting coach, while Mets fans had better hope Aaron Boone's trademark indecision hasn't rubbed off too much on Carlos Mendoza.
After going full-court press for Counsell, the Mets now hope they've uncovered the next Rob Thomson, a baseball lifer incubated in the Yankees' system who Brian Cashman couldn't foresee as the leader he was always meant to be.
Mendoza spent 15 years in the Bombers' organization and the past four as the big-league team's bench coach/manager-in-waiting during Boone's many ejections. Now, he'll be driving the bus in Queens in the wake of Buck Showalter's pockmarked tenure. Yankee Retread to Younger Yankee Retread, huh?
Yankees lose bench coach Carlos Mendoza to Mets
The question isn't whether the Yankees will be missing out on a tremendous stabilizing force by losing Mendoza; obviously, he couldn't do much to stop the tornado that was the 2023 season from spiraling. The question will always be, though, whether the internally groomed Mendoza would've been a better succession plan for Boone than the Yankees' current plan: "Uh, more Boone?"
2024 will provide the proof of that itch, in much the same way 2022-23 proved that the fan base's Buck Showalter desires were probably off base, especially at this point in the veteran's career.
Luis Rojas' contract is up with the Yankees, but most expect he'll be retained in yet another crosstown crossover move. Will he be a bench coach? Will the coast be clear for Nick Swisher to absorb a role? And how likely is it that Yankee fans rejoiced over Counsell spurning the Mets, only for the Brewers manager to find a far more insidious landing spot soon (very likely)? Congratulations to Mendoza for getting a big-market chance. Hopefully, he and the Yankees coexist peacefully, and nobody from the Bronx rues the day they let Boone block his path.