Brian Cashman does not seem to be in any particular hurry to find a manager to replace Joe Girardi. He’s interviewed a wide cross-section of candidates with more to come. But what is it he’s really looking for?
All things considered, the biggest free agent signing the New York Yankees will make this offseason will come when Brian Cashman appoints a new manager to replace Joe Girardi, whom he unceremoniously dumped as soon as the tarp went on the field for the winter following the Yankees last game at Yankee Stadium.
Cashman, as he should, is holding his cards and not divulging his reaction(s) following each of the candidates who have made the trip to appear before His Excellence for an interview.
No thanks, Brian
Interestingly, those who have turned down an interview request from Brian Cashman is as telling as the those who have accepted an interview. According to Joe Giglio, writing for NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, ex-Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, Bob Melvin, who has managed in Oakland since 2011, Alex Rodriguez, who I still think has all the “connectivity” the Yankees need, Raul Ibanez and Jerry Hairston Jr. have said no to (perhaps) the most prestigious managerial job in baseball.
Add to that the list of candidates Brian Cashman has interviewed, and you have to begin to wonder what (exactly) is this guy looking for. Aaron Boone, Rob Thomson, Hensley Meulens and Eric Wedge covers a huge mass of baseball acumen, style, and what is apparently the go-to word of the day, analytics familiarity.
Both Brian Cashman, who still doesn’t have a job for the 2018 season, and his boss, Hal Steinbrenner, have expressed a desire for “change” following the ten-year tenure of Girardi. Okay, we get that. But the question is how big of a change do they want?
They could, for instance, move to someone like Boone, who has zero managerial or even coaching experience at this level, but still brings a lot to the table when it comes to how he “connects” with players and understands how difficult the game is to play.
Boone, in all likelihood, would be an immediate hit with the Yankees fanbase given the fortunate circumstance of one pitch delivered to him by Tim Wakefield in 2003 (below).
But how does Boone stack up against the experienced but “old hat” Melvin, or even the out of the woodwork comes Meulens?
Never underestimate Brian Cashman
Brian Cashman seems to be all over the place on this. But maybe that’s the point. And it’s kind of like picking an apple to buy at the grocery store. You need an apple. But what kind do you like and which one will impress you the most with their “taste” when you bite into it for the first time. It could be a Delicious, Macintosh, Granny Smith or maybe a Rome apple catches your attention on that first bite (interview).
Ergo, we get the strategy of not being in a big rush to push the selection along. In theory, Brian Cashman could be interviewing candidates in June. The list of wannabees is that long. But at some point, probably around the time of the Winter Meetings in December, we’ll get to the bottom of this.
We shouldn’t believe that Cashman is not favoring a Macintosh over a Delicious apple at this point, and it’s even conceivable he has a target in mind. And the rest is ceremonial to fill space in columns like this one and to satisfy his boss and the media he has done his “due diligence” in making the most important decision of his tenure with the Yankees.
All that glitters is not gold
But he needs to be careful. Aaron Boone, for example, won the back page of the New York Post today, following his interview with Cashman signaling a push for Boone from within a significant element of the New York City media.
And presumably, that’s something Brian Cashman doesn’t want or need. We’re (Yankees fans) are hungry and we want to know who is going to lead our team to No. 28 — now!
Even though, it appears the next Yankees manager will not be given the luxury of hiring his coaching staff, as signaled by the retention of Larry Rothschild as pitching coach. Reduce it all to its lowest terms and you have this. Brian Cashman holds the keys to the last remaining managerial job in the big leagues.
He can play it out all the way to Spring Training and even beyond to satisfy (I’m sorry to say) an ever-expanding ego (read press coverage), or he can synthesize the task making a choice he’s probably already made anyway.
Because if that’s not true, then based on his actions and who we’ve seen in the interview room, then maybe Brian Cashman really doesn’t know what he wants, and more importantly needs, as the next manager of the New York Yankees.
I’ll say this, though. I’d love to be a fly on the wall to hear the questions asked of the interviewees by Brian Cashman and the rest of the inquisition staff present. Better yet, I’d love to be privy to the responses and then, we’ll decide.