Yankees Rumors: Luis Rojas unlikely to be first choice for bench coach hire

They're looking for one specific thing he doesn't have.
New York Yankees v New York Mets
New York Yankees v New York Mets / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

Lost in the shuffle of former Yankees heading one-by-one to Queens to try their hand in the Mets dugout (including Eric Chavez, who was a Yankee coach for the duration of three blinks), former Mets manager Luis Rojas has been a mainstay on the Bombers' staff for two years now, occupying the third base coach's box (and doing a bad job of staying inside the lines, per the Toronto Blue Jays).

Rojas' contract is up this offseason, but the assumption in recent weeks has been that he'll be returning in some capacity -- possibly even the vacated bench role that Carlos Mendoza abdicated when he became the Mets manager this week.

According to Brendan Kuty of The Athletic, not so fast on that. The Yankees would reportedly prefer to fill that role with an external hire, and the relationship between Aaron Boone and recently dismissed Cubs manager David Ross will at least be examined.

"The Yankees seem unlikely to move quickly on finding a new bench coach. The team appears likely to allow the managerial coaching carousel to play out before making any decisions. Mendoza had served as the team’s bench coach since 2020. Before Mendoza, the job was held by Josh Bard, a former MLB catcher, and the feeling from people in the organization is the Yankees would likely look outside for a new bench coach, prioritizing someone with big-league playing experience. That’s what the Yankees liked in Sean Casey, who took over as hitting coach in July after Dillon Lawson was fired."

Brendan Kuty, The Athletic

Yankees bench coach race: MLB experience valued over Luis Rojas

Rojas has plenty of familial big-league experience, with Alou bloodlines coursing through his veins. A veteran player (like Bard, Casey and Ross) he is not, though.

Perhaps the Yankees and Rojas find common ground at the third base coaching position once again, but this natural elevation, theorized by many, doesn't seem to be in the cards. If the Yankees do re-sign Rojas and promote him, at this point, it'll feel a bit like settling (and we'll know something went wrong along the way). This would appear to rule out Nick Swisher, too, who is anything but external.

As for other external candidates who could work, beyond Ross? Joe Espada is still waiting for someone to give him the keys in Houston. Carlos Beltrán hasn't been contacted in a while (or heard from, since he departed the YES booth). Regardless, the Yankees appear to value someone who can blend lived on-field experience with a calm guiding hand, and try as he might, Rojas will never have the first token.