It took him 26 years, but he finally did it. Brian Cashman, longtime general manager of the Yankees, made a midseason firing.
The sacrificial lamb? Hitting coach Dillon Lawson, dismissed after a year and a half on the job.
Yankees make the Dillon Lawson move official. Statement from Brian Cashman via Yanks: pic.twitter.com/xMAyEfSm5y
— Conor Foley (@RailRidersTT) July 9, 2023
Time has not stopped. Nor has the world ended, save for the thunderstorms that hammered the tri-state area Sunday night. Lawson really must have lost the room for the Yankees to fire him less than an hour into the All-Star Break.
And not only did Cashman fire his hitting coach, but he announced the successor would come from — gasp — outside the organization.
This is completely atypical for the veteran GM. Firing Lawson marks the second time this season that Cashman has broken out of his comfort zone. The first being when the Yankees designated outfielder Aaron Hicks for assignment and eating the three years left on his contract.
But what if it Hicks’ rejuvenation in Baltimore was just one of the many strikes against Lawson? The switch-hitter is batting .263 with six home runs in 32 games with the Birds after batting just .188 in 28 with the Yanks.
Another black eye for Lawson is rookie shortstop Anthony Volpe’s turnaround. He’s batting a clean .300 since June 13 and not because of Lawson. It’s all thanks to a chicken parm dinner that’s become the story of the year. Quite a sad state when old minor league teammates suggest an adjustment instead of the literal hitting coach.
To say nothing of the fact that Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu or Josh Donaldson should not have declined this quickly and to the point of being unfixable. Cashman probably expected that over time, sure, but at this rate? LeMahieu’s struggles in particular signaled that the coaching could indeed be the problem.
Which makes it all the more significant that Cashman bit the bullet and gave Lawson his walking papers. The situation clearly got untenable, same with releasing Hicks. Being in fourth place at the All-Star Break must have been a wakeup call.
Now, it’s just a matter of what Cashman makes of stepping so far out of his comfort zone. There is no clear candidate for a hitting coach outside of the organization. Maybe former Yankee DH and former Mets hitting coach Chili Davis? Some young analytical hotshot nobody knows? Will Paul O’Neill or Alex Rodriguez quit their cushy TV gigs and don the pinstripes again?
More importantly, will losing Lawson create a sigh of relief in the clubhouse and the Yankees go back to being the Yankees again? Will they finally perform well without Aaron Judge in the lineup? Is there a 1978 or 2005-like run to the playoffs in the cards? If so, Cashman will look like a genius.
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