Wednesday, December 31, 2014


With Brian Cashman doing his best Tim Allen impression and putting on the Santa suit for Yankees fans this holiday season, he has surrounded the base of our pinstriped tree with NEW gifts for 2015.  I emphasize “new” simply because it is a change for our Santa Claus to not just “re-gift” and shower us with presents that are well past their expiration date.

Those of you who have read my articles – and I thank each and every one of you for doing so – know that I am not a big Brian Cashman fan.  His past strategy of grabbing onto stale veterans with the hopes of rekindling glory from years gone by has worn out its welcome with me. Frankly, it hasn’t worked.  So, I find this off-season a tremendous breath of fresh air.  Dare I say that I even LIKE what Mr. Cashman has done?  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m still holding my breath and praying every night that he doesn’t revert to past ways and re-sign Stephen Drew.  I’ll run from my house screaming, and once settled, re-write the famous reply to little “Virginia”, telling her that I’m sorry, but Santa was violently killed by our GM.

Until then, I am impressed with the direction “Cash” is taking our club.  He’s finally trimming the dead branches from our tree and giving us a promising future.  In bringing the likes of Didi Gregorius, Nathan Eovaldi, Andrew Miller, Chase Headley, and Justin Wilson to the roster, he’s immediately injected new life into our team (every one of them is 30 or younger).  He’s already announced that Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder would compete for our open spot at second base.  That’s another boost to our future and a change to the prior business model that virtually snuffed out hope for our minor league players.

Sure, our Santa has a sense of humor, and to bate us all into thinking that he hasn’t changed, he gives us Chris Capuano and immediately announces that the pitcher will be the 4th man in the rotation.  I’ll just laugh that one off and look around our tree at all the new shiny things.  I’ll put the old worn box in the corner and know that chances are pretty good it will be gone – or at least out of the rotation – by mid-May.

For the most part, I’m pretty damn happy with what Santa Cashman has done.  Only, there still is one thing on the Yankees Christmas list that’s missing.   As BYB’s esteemed leader, Robert Casey pointed out; we still don’t have a hitting coach. Santa, it’s kind of an important gift to overlook.  Basically, we’ve been showered with all these new toys, but none of them have batteries.

Gregorius, Pirela, and Refsnyder need to come up to speed as soon as possible.  Our lineup doesn’t pack the intimidation it once did, and our youngsters need to hit the ground running.  Gregorius in particular needs to prove that he can hit left handed pitching.  One would think that a hitting instructor should be working with our new shortstop NOW in turning his weakness into a strength.

When it comes to our important gift, Santa has acted a little strange.  He hired former Yankee Marcus Thames as Assistant Hitting Coach.  As reported, not only is the hiring weird, but it goes against what Cashman himself had said. 
“Also, the Yankees have never had an assistant hitting coach position, and general manager Brian Cashman had said he'd likely consult the team's main hitting coach before hiring a No. 2.” 
Perhaps Santa had ingested a little too much of the holiday spirits? Regardless, the bottom line is that the Yankees still don’t have a primary hitting coach, and the time for one is becoming critical. Players start reporting to camp in 6 to 7 weeks. Given the number of “newbies” this team is looking to field for the 2015 season, it’s imperative that they have a well-managed hitting program to avoid the pitfalls of the past two seasons at the plate.

A new hitting coach will bring in his own philosophies on what defines a successful hitter. He’ll have his own techniques for developing players and his own style of catering to each of their needs. The sooner a new program can be implemented, the better.

I think Brian Cashman has had one of the finest off-seasons of his tenure, but our Christmas isn’t going to be complete until it’s tied up with a big Yankee-Blue ribbon and bow that is a hitting coach.


--Steve Skinner, BYB Senior Writer
Twitter: @oswegos1


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