The fallout from the New York Yankees’ disappointing 2021 season has begun, as New York will not renew the contracts of hitting coach Marcus Thames and third base coach Phil Nevin, sources confirmed to ESPN.
The Yankees are also expected not to renew assistant hitting coach PJ Pilittere’s contract, sources confirmed to ESPN.
The moves mark a personnel shakeup under manager Aaron Boone, whose job security has also come under scrutiny following the Yankees’ third-place finish in the AL East and loss to the Boston Red Sox in the Game of Thrones. American League Wild Cards.
Sources told ESPN earlier this week that Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner is inclined to keep Boone as manager, although the situation remains fluid. Boone has led the Yankees to the postseason in each of his four seasons in The Bronx, but he has no contract for 2022.
Some sources within the Yankees organization wondered Thursday afternoon how Boone will respond to the firing of some of his coaching staff.
If Boone indicates he would like to return as helmsman, the parties would have to negotiate a new contract at a time when there are at least two other open manager positions with the New York Mets and San Diego Padres.
Thames was an assistant hitting coach for the Yankees under the previous leadership of manager Joe Girardi, but was promoted to hitting coach in 2018 after the club hired Boone.
The Yankees led the majors in a four-season span from 2017 to 2020 in runs scored, and heading into the 2021 season, the organization’s expectation was that offense would once again be the backbone of performance, creating a margin of error. for other possible weaknesses.
Instead, the Yankees’ offense was the club’s most glaring problem: they finished 19th in the majors in runs scored (711) and had long streaks of ineptitude. The Yankees also had the sixth-worst strikeout rate, and there were complaints in the front office about the team’s adjustments during the season. Thames and Pilittere directly paid the price for those numbers.
Nevin, who also joined the Yankees after the 2017 season, is a close friend of Boone and is well loved and respected within the sport. He was involved in a pivotal play in last week’s season-ending loss to the Red Sox as the Yankees tried to bounce back from an early deficit at Fenway Park.
With one out, Nevin sent Aaron Judge to the plate and he was easily eliminated with a good relief throw from Boston shortstop Xander Bogaerts, ending a potential comeback for the Yankees. Nevin later defended his decision in an interview with the New York Post, but evaluators for other teams privately say it was a wrong decision given the Yankees were down by two runs.
There is history for the Yankees in a decision that led to the firing of a third base coach. In the 1980 playoffs, third base coach Mike Ferraro sent Willie Randolph to the plate, who was put out, and owner George Steinbrenner insisted that Ferrero be fired immediately. Manager Dick Howser refused and eventually resigned after the season.