When a playoff-less year concludes, the New York Yankees should hone in on Larry Rothschild’s performance as the offseason’s first priority.Whether a team prospers or falters over a 162-game schedule, the coaching staff will always be placed under the microscope. Whenever a team falls short of a world championship, the fan base will inevitably point the finger somewhere.
Logical or not, fair or utterly senseless, it is the way sports work. Despite a coach possessing the inability to get up and perform for the team, the man at the helm, or one of his staff members, will always take the heat.
In a season where not much can be whined about in Yankee land, now more than ever, each of the men calling the shots in the dugout should be looked at in an unbiased manner.
When push comes to shove, the Yankees would be foolish to keep Larry Rothschild with the organization past 2016. The end of this year may be the spark of a new dynasty, and the franchise can ill-afford to have an inept and harmful pitching coach plaguing a mediocre staff moving forward.
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For the past five years, the front office has been misinformed, riding previous conceptions regarding a man who lacks developmental skills and purely leaves pitchers out to try. If you want to discuss maximizing value, Rothschild ultimately ends up minimalizing potential-driven arms.
Since coming aboard prior to the commencement of the 2011 campaign, following the firing of Dave Eiland (a more than capable pitching coach), the former Tampa Bay Rays skipper has been sealed by proven, formidable, veteran arms capable of handling their own business.
From Hiroki Kuroda to CC Sabathia; Andy Pettitte to Bartolo Colon; Freddy Garcia to A.J. Burnett. Boy, did he have it made.
Hiding behind outstanding, seasoned minds and Joe Girardi’s bullpen management brilliance, he was credited for years he has essentially nothing to do with. Now, his level of importance has become crystal clear.
Ever since — starting in 2014 — he has been tasked with reforming careers, developing naïve youngsters, and eking the absolute best out of below average starting pitching, he has epically failed at the task.
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Bringing troubled arms for Larry to “take under his wing” cannot be viewed as a legitimate answer. Each and every time the Yankees hand a pitcher’s fate over to Rothschild, they come away empty-handed.
There comes a time when this has to be noted, and the instances provide as much clarity as ever.
Phil Hughes was placed in Rothschild’s arms following a stellar 2010 campaign in which he recorded 18 victories. A 5-5 output with a brutal 5.79 ERA highlighted a 17 appearance, 14 start, 2011 season. His performance never recovered. But why wasn’t it recovered?
Nathan Eovaldi was purely Rothschild’s project. Given the recent detrimental happenings, it is obvious how that one panned out. Rather than effectively developing the youngster, he added a taxing splitter to an arm that regularly heaved 99 mph fastballs. As a result, mediocrity ensued and a substantial arm procedure was necessary.
Move it along to Luis Severino. Every time he seemingly makes adjustments in the minors, his promotion entails rotational struggles. His only serviceable talent is out of the bullpen.
Where is the electrifying youngster who pitched to a 2.89 ERA in the second half of 2015? Are those mechanical adjustments too difficult to gather and enforce?
As the entire baseball landscape is aware of, the Yankees have one of the brightest — if not the brightest — futures in baseball. However, pitching remains their Achilles heel.
With a lack of quality starters residing in the minors, New York needs pitching coaches at every level who will milk every last ounce of potential out of each and every young arm.
The organization cannot afford to witness the likes of Justus Sheffield, James Kaprielian, and Dillon Tate moving back to square one once they reach their similar respective goals — the show.
So, sure, point the finger. Fans have every right, but the finger has to be pointed in the correct direction.
Larry Rothschild needs to be the righteous target.