There’s a little bit of news coming out of the Bronx this afternoon. The Yankees have announced that they have reached agreements with Joe Girardi’s coaching staff, and that all members of the ’13 staff will be returning for 2014.
That’s not a huge surprise; Brian Cashman said in his end-of-season press conference that the Yankees wanted to have the whole staff back if Girardi returned. We’ve been hearing drips here and there that the Yankees had been working on agreements with each of the coaches since Girardi agreed to his contract extension.
Earth-shattering news it may not be, but it’s something they had to check off. Better to get it out of the way now than have it drag on. Here’s the official press release from the Yankees:
NEW YORK YANKEES ANNOUNCE COACHING STAFF; ALL MEMBERS OF 2013 COACHING STAFF TO RETURN IN 2014
The New York Yankees today announced Joe Girardi’s coaching staff for the 2014 season. Mike Harkey (bullpen), Mick Kelleher (first base), Kevin Long (hitting), Tony Pena (bench), Larry Rothschild (pitching) and Rob Thomson (third base) will all return in the roles they served in 2013.
Harkey, 47, will enter his seventh season as the Yankees bullpen coach in 2014. Since joining the Major League coaching staff in 2008, the Yankees have gone 491-17 when leading the game at the end of the eighth inning, the most such wins in the Major Leagues over the stretch. In 2013, Yankees relievers combined for 49 saves, which was fifth-most in the Majors.
Kelleher, 66, will begin his sixth season as Yankees first base coach and 16th year as a member of the Yankees organization. Since joining the Major League staff in 2009, Kelleher has also served as the club’s infield instructor, with the team leading the Majors with a .987 fielding percentage over the five-season span. In 2013, the Yankees made just 69 errors, which was the third-lowest total in the Majors and tied the franchise record for fewest in a season (also 2010). Their .988 fielding percentage set a new franchise record, fractionally better than their .988 mark in 2010.
Long, 46, will embark on his eighth season as Yankees hitting coach in 2014 after assuming the post in 2007. In his seven seasons with the club, the Yankees have led the Major Leagues in runs scored three times (2007, ’09-10) and finished second twice (2011 and ’12). Over the seven-season span, the Yankees lead the Majors in home runs (1,437) and rank second in runs scored (5,852).
Pena, 56, will begin his sixth season as Yankees bench coach and ninth season on the Yankees Major League coaching staff, having served as the club’s first base coach from 2006-08. Additionally, he has been the team’s catching instructor in each of his eight seasons with the Major League club. Over the span, Yankees catchers have caught 279 potential base stealers, matching San Francisco for most in the Majors. Prior to the 2013 regular season, he managed the 2013 World Baseball Classic-champion Dominican Republic team and became the first WBC manager to lead his team to an undefeated record (8-0).
Rothschild, 60, will enter his fourth season as Yankees pitching coach, marking his 40th season in professional baseball as a player, coach or manager. Since joining the Yankees in 2011, the club’s pitching staff has recorded a 2.74 strikeout-to-walk ratio (3,773 strikeouts, 1,375 walks), the third-best mark in the Majors over the three-year span, trailing only the Philadelphia Phillies (2.94) and Detroit Tigers (2.77). Prior to joining the Yankees, Rothschild served as the pitching coach for the Chicago Cubs for nine seasons (2002-10).
Thomson, 50, will start his 25th season as a member of the Yankees organization, seventh on the club’s Major League coaching staff and sixth as third base coach. The Ontario, Canada native oversees the Yankees’ outfielders, who combined for a .993 fielding percentage (1,119TC, 8E) in 2013, the second-best mark in the Majors behind the Baltimore Orioles (.995). Thomson served as Yankees bench coach during the 2008 season.
If the following clips are any indication, you’re going to want to set your DVR right now or make sure that you’re parked in front of the TV this weekend.
MLB Productions’ new film “BEING: Mariano Rivera” is debuting this Sunday at 2:30 pm ET on FOX. Rivera granted MLB Productions cameras significant access throughout the past year, allowing behind the scenes access through every memorable moment in and around his final season.
With hundreds of hours of footage shot for a 90-minute documentary, several fantastic moments were left on the cutting room floor. Here are four clips that DID NOT make the final cut, courtesy MLB Productions:
While visiting San Diego for the final time in early September, Rivera spends time with Trevor Hoffman, the only other man to save 600 games. The cameras and Rivera’s microphone also pick up his reaction along with his teammates to the gift the Padres give him (Robbie Cano makes a funny joke):
During All-Star Week in New York, Rivera takes some time to visit the U.S.S. Intrepid with his family, and talks about looking forward to spending more time with his kids after retirement:
Also during All-Star Week, more than a dozen of Rivera’s AL teammates gather for a photo with him in a private moment together on the field at Citi Field:
During Rivera’s last trip to Texas in July, current Rangers closer Joe Nathan gets a chance to interview Rivera:
NEW YORK — Joe Girardi has decided to stay with the Yankees, agreeing to terms on a new four-year contract extension Wednesday that will keep him managing the club through the 2017 season.
Financial terms of the deal were not immediately announced. The Yankees had said publicly that they intended to give the 48-year-old Girardi a raise over his expiring three-year, $9 million pact.
The Yankees have scheduled a 4 p.m. ET conference call for Girardi to discuss the new contract.
Girardi has guided the Yankees to a 564-408 record since taking over as manager for the 2008 season, the best record in the Majors over that span.
The Yankees finished 85-77 this year, missing the postseason for the second time in Girardi’s six years as manager.
Despite the disappointing finish, tied with the Orioles for the third-best record in the American League East, Girardi received strong votes of confidence from managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner and general manager Brian Cashman for the way he handled the club through an unprecedented rash of injuries.
Steinbrenner said in a radio interview on Tuesday that he and Girardi agreed a quick resolution to the contract situation was important since the Yankees are about to begin their offseason planning and wanted to include the manager’s input.
The Cubs and Nationals were reported to have interest in Girardi for their managerial vacancies, but the Yankees did not grant permission for Girardi – who was under contract until Nov. 1 – to speak with other clubs.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman held court with the media for 51 minutes yesterday afternoon in his annual end-of-season press conference at Yankee Stadium.
You’ve probably already seen most of the headlines coming out of his session: the Yankees are interested in retaining manager Joe Girardi and could formally offer him a deal as soon as today, they want to keep Robinson Cano but not at any cost, and Hal Steinbrenner’s $189 million objective is a goal but not a mandate.
There are obviously a lot of chips that need to fall into place before we can get an idea of what the 2014 Yankees will look like. The Yankees have their pro scouting meetings scheduled for Monday, which is when they organize the chess board and decide which players to pursue. After Girardi’s situation is settled, they’ll wait to find out what Alex Rodriguez’s contract will look like for ’14 – if A-Rod’s 211-game suspension is upheld, that would knock about $25 million off the books for the ’14 budget, money that would likely go right into an offer for Cano.
They also need a solid answer from Steinbrenner about $189 million. Steinbrenner has articulated a few times that it would be a nice target to hit, considering it would set the Yankees up to use more of their future dollars to help the club rather than assisting other teams. But Steinbrenner has also said that the $189 million figure does not supersede the mission of fielding a World Series championship club. The ’13 Yankees obviously weren’t one, and after missing the playoffs entirely, scrapping the $189 million plan could still be in play.
Since I strongly doubt anyone wants to scour a 7,000 word Q&A, here are some of the most important talking points that were covered during yesterday’s press conference:
Opening thoughts: Your opinion of the 2013 season?
“It was a tough one. We didn’t get to where we wanted to be. Obviously it was a struggle all year; a lot of disappointment, whether it’s injuries, reoccurring injuries, underperformance, unexpected poor performance. We didn’t get where we needed to be and there were a lot of reasons for it. We obviously fought to the end. I appreciated the effort that our guys provided on a daily basis. Everybody that was healthy or even the guys that weren’t healthy that tried to get healthy and even those who failed in their efforts to return or their returns were brief. There was always effort. For that, I never saw that being an issue. We weren’t good enough, period. We are where we belong, which is on the outside looking in.”
Your opinion of Joe Girardi’s job performance?
“I think Joe has been consistent since we’ve had him here. The teams have changed, for instance, talent level, health, what he’s had to run out on a daily basis from year to year. The personnel has been different, but his effort and his efforts in pregame, in preparation for each series, how he runs Major League Spring Training as well as getting the 25 that are active competing on a daily basis, I think he’s been consistently tremendous at it. I know that because of the challenges this year presented to this organization, the amount of players that we had to use and find and replace on the run, there were more people to manage, people to welcome and let go. He has obviously gotten a lot of notoriety for keeping everything in check. I personally believe he has been exceptional ever since we’ve had him. I don’t feel this year was an outlier to other years. From your perspective, maybe that’s different, but I can tell you he’s been extremely consistent from day one with us. He’s been the same and has done a great job every year. Obviously the talent that he had to work with this year was significantly less than other years, but he still remained the same from my perspective. I thought this year was the same as other years. The job as a manager is to make sure these guys fight and compete on a daily basis, stay motivated, stay hungry. … This year was unique in a lot of different ways and he was able to still maintain that leadership, keep these guys hungry and motivated and not give up. They never did. I never saw that. Thumbs up. I thought he did a great job. Him and his staff.”
Why do you believe the 2014 Yankees can be better than this year’s edition?
“I think the intent is there. The ownership interest is there. But to talk about it right now, confidence or not, it’s what you do. There’s a reality of the situation that when you’re in a position of leadership, you have to attack areas of problems that develop over time. We will attack those. I’m not afraid of the reality. None of the people here are afraid of the reality. We recognize there are some challenges that we have to deal with – and we’re up for that challenge. But I can’t tell you at the same time and tell you, ‘Don’t worry, it’s going to be fine.’ It’s going to take some time. Some of it can be fixed sooner than later, others might take some time. But I can’t predict how free agency is going to work out, I can’t predict how we match up with other clubs yet. It’s just too early in the process. My confidence would be in betting on ownership here, because their intent is always to compete for a championship. What took place this year, for instance, it could have been easy for them to give up and say ‘There’s no chance.’ They had no interest in doing that. They obviously had every interest in trying to not only keep us relevant but qualify for the playoffs and make a run at the championship. From the injuries that occurred in spring training, whether it was Vernon Wells’ addition to [Alfonso] Soriano’s addition and every small little addition in between, it was a reflection of their interest and desire to, ‘I don’t care what it takes, we’ve got to fix this thing as we keep losing guys along the way.’ It led to a record Yankee franchise players that propelled us to 85 wins. We fell short, but their intent was to find some way to get us in regardless of what had happened. That’s what we tried to do, but obviously we fell short. The only thing I can confidently tell you is, when the last name is Steinbrenner, the effort is going to be there in terms of making a full push for having the best team on the field you can possibly have.”
Evaluation of the player development system
“In terms of changes, we’re always looking at that kind of stuff, and if there’s any changes to be made, we’ll make them. We have struggled out of the draft here the last number of years, some of it signability, whether a Gerrit Cole, some of it was injuries, like last year’s number one pick Ty Hensley having double hip surgery, so he hasn’t even been available to us. Some of our picks haven’t panned out. I think this last year we did really well, but in fairness, you always feel that when you make the selections, so we’re evaluating that as well. I think we’re obviously starting top to bottom. We typically do it every three years. We started maybe two months ago evaluating the decision making process and the expected value from where you pick in the draft, and comparisons to other organizations, and so, you try to determine what is accurate and true and what is not as accurate and more perception. So first and foremost we’re going through that process, but yeah, we haven’t had as fruitful results from the draft here recently as we had hoped and anticipated. In terms of development, we’ve had guys three years ago ranked in the top seven in farm systems in the game and I think in the last two years, our players have either got injured that have taken them out, Manny Banuelos for instance, or we’ve had guys go backwards, like a Dellin Betances for instance, was considered a high-end starter and has now been converted to the bullpen because of the failure there in finishing it off. He’ll be competing for a spot out of the bullpen next year as he’s out of options, so those are examples of injuries, performance going backwards, or unexpected return.
How vital is keeping Cano?
“We’d love to have Robbie back. There’s not much more for me to say about that, but our intention is to have him back, if we can. He’ll receive without question, or has received, whatever, a significant offer to stay, so he’ll have something legitimately to ponder. We’ll have to again, play that one out as well, see where it takes us. He’s been a great Yankee. I think if he stays he’ll have a legitimate chance to experience what you just saw, for instance, for Mariano. Maybe he has the chance to be the first Dominican-born player in Monument Park. A home-grown Yankee. But at the same time. It’s a business. He has comported himself in a tremendous way both on and off the field for the New York Yankees and we’ve been extremely happy to have him and we hope to extend that relationship, but we have a process to still go through on that, and he will certainly be in a position to entertain offers from other clubs in the process.”
The Alex Rodriguez situation
“I operate on the assumption that I have him until they tell me otherwise. I’m not really in a position to talk about the Alex stuff. We’re not a party to it. … It’s not something that’s in our control, so I’m not focused on it. I have Alex plugged in unless I’m told something different. so there’s nothing else for me really to say on that.”
Derek Jeter’s 2014 outlook
“I certainly hope to get Derek back to the Derek that we’re all used to. He’s one of those guys that did everything in his power to fight through something that turned out to be pretty significant. And so now he’ll have some time to back off, get some rest, some more flexibility back, and get every aspect of that ankle in line, as far as the kinetic chain. So it’ll put him in position to have the typical training regimen he’s used to as he prepares for the season. He’ll be able to do that. The expectation is that when that happens, and does occur, he can put significant distance between what we saw and all lived through with him, the last year, where obviously it was something that was really limiting him to being the player he’s capable of being again.”
Is Jeter your shortstop? Is a position change possible?
“The options for him are shortstop and DH. I think the DH spot is utilized like it is for all our other guys too, for rest. It’s one of those things where we can’t run somebody into the ground, but hey, your bat’s too important not to have to in the lineup. So on a given day, as we were planning do this year, against left-handed pitchers, if it gives us a chance to rest him but still give him four at bats so can benefit from the bat, the DH spot, depending on how the roster is constructed, would be available. That was the plan this year, and it would benefit him, whether it was Alex, [Kevin] Youkilis if he was healthy, that there were going to to be situations, with [Mark] Teixeira and all those guys, that it would be utilized to give guys a breather but still maintain the offense. That’s our hope and expectation as we move forward into next year.”
Does this lineup need to get back to power?
“Players I like to gravitate to, clearly, are on-base percentage. I was taught by Gene Michael, as the guys who take — they’re are selective at the plate and can beat you with their bat. The long ball. I love the big long ball. Stick always believed in the old Earl Weaver way. That’s what I was taught and raised in, so the players I typically gravitate to are those type of guys. And it was certainly hard to find those type of guys on the run, as the roster choices, as we went from March on, trying to cushion blows, it’s not easy to find power guys, as much as maybe as in years past. Certainly it wasn’t easy for us to plug the holes. I wasn’t able to do that; failed in my efforts to get that done. Power is a big piece of this franchise, and something I believe in.”
Are these four outfielders – Wells, Ichiro, Brett Gardner, Soriano – your starting outfielders?
“We’ll see. It’s hard for me to get ahead of. That most important meeting for me is that pro scouting meeting. That’s something we’ve had a great deal of success with over the years, with that meeting setting up the chess board for ourselves. A lot of things can run interference about how we are able to execute that, whether it’s negotiating, being able to secure the trade, but these guys are I think some of the best scouts that are in the game. That pro scouting meeting sets the tone of what really is available to us. What players we really should be gravitating to and who we should stay away from. It’s hard for me to really say. Ultimately the truth of the matter is it’s my job to always – I mean, I’ve sat there in front of our players in the minor leagues, it’s my job to always find better than what we already have. I remember turn the clock back meeting with Melky Cabrera saying hey man I’ve got a guy named Brett Gardner and he’s coming fast. Don’t let him take your job. Those are many examples of hey it’s our responsibility to always look for better than what we have at those positions as a team. Then you hope it stays healthy and plays up to your expectations. Unfortunately this year we had a lot of all of it; which is players that we expected to perform better and they didn’t, or they went backwards with their performance, or maybe we misevaluated that effort on their performance, or the injuries. It’s my responsibility in all aspects of it.
“Bottom line is, we will continue that process. I cannot get ahead of it. I can’t tell you all those jobs are secure. I can’t tell you all those guys are satisfactory. I can’t tell you any of that stuff. I’ve got to look at what the options are available to us, what the costs are associated with acquiring those players, whether it’s free agent dollars, and we’ll just have to go through that process first. Once I secure that and have that knowledge, it’s definitely not in my best interest to share what it would be anyway until you go to marketplace and try to pull down what’s necessary.”
“I couldn’t have dreamed of this working out the way it did,” Pettitte said. “I’m just so thankful and feel so blessed and fortunate. I just feel like God worked this out exactly perfect; another day I’ll never forget.”