If you thought the New York Yankees’ decision to move on from Joe Girardi was a shock, wait until you see who they interviewed as his possible replacement. The team confirmed Friday that it had met with former Cleveland Indians and Seattle Mariners skipper Eric Wedge about its current manager vacancy.
This comes as quite a surprise. When the Yankees parted ways with Girardi, it was assumed they would look for a manager who could connect with players, embrace analytics and had an existing relationship to the organization. Wedge was never known for embracing stats, and doesn’t have a previous relationship with the Yankees, so he lacks at least two of those three qualities.
It was also assumed the team would be looking for fresh blood at the position. Given what they were seeking, it made sense that someone currently managing in the organization could be promoted.
The Wedge interview seems to indicate that’s not necessarily the case. Wedge has plenty of experience in the majors, managing for 10 seasons. He’s put together a combined 774-846 record. Wedge made the playoffs once, leading Cleveland to the American League Championship Series. The club defeated the Yankees in the American League Division Series that year.
Wedge wasn’t mentioned by many as a possible Girardi replacement when the news broke. That’s probably because he hadn’t been in the role for some time. Wedge last managed in 2013. He was a television analyst in 2014 and 2015, and then returned to baseball as an advisor for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2016.
At a press conference after Girardi was let go, general manager Brian Cashman refused to rule out any candidates for the position. Perhaps this proves that he meant it.
That’s not a bad thing. This is a pretty crucial time for the franchise. The Yankees are young and talented, and their window of contention is just starting to open. They need to exhaust all resources to find the manager they believe will be able to lead them to glory.
Does that mean we should expect to see Alex Rodriguez get an interview soon? Probably not. But will there be more surprising names to emerge in the next few weeks? That much seems certain.
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