Kevin Long, a proven big league hitting coach, wants to be a manager. The Yankees, his former employer, are suddenly in the need of a new skipper and the Mets, on whose payroll he currently sits, selected someone else for their opening.
Long, who has been the Mets hitting coach since 2015 -- directly following his eight-year stint with the Yankees in the same role -- recently interviewed for the managerial vacancy left when Terry Collins was told he would not return to Citi Field in 2018. The Mets decided on Mickey Callaway and have since given Long permission to speak with the Washington Nationals about their managerial opening, though his contract ends on Oct. 31.
Long's name has popped up in many speculative reports as an option for the Yankees' surprising opening. Is the Long on the Yankees' short list?
Long, 50, has worked in baseball as a coach since 1997, the same year he retired as a player. Mostly serving as a hitting coach, Long has one year of managerial experience (1999) when he guided the Spokane Indians (Class A) to the Northwest League title and was named co-manager of the Year.
Long has been credited with the positive transformation of both the Yankees and Mets offense at various points of his tenures with each club. As with any coaching role, Long has also barred blame during their respective offensive struggles. Having coached in New York at the major league level for 11 years, Long would certainly be used to the on again off again cheers and moans of the fans and media in the game's largest market.
Success with the Yankees (and Mets) and familiarity with general manager Brian Cashman can surely be viewed as positive indications for Long's potential candidacy. However, there seem to be more signs against him becoming the Yanks next manager than for him.
First, the Yankees decided to part ways with him one year into Girardi's final contract. While it is possible Long was simply a scapegoat at the time, it does beg the question of whether Cashman is comfortable with Long in general, let alone as the manager. If the Yankees' decision to walk away from Girardi says anything, it's that Cashman wants someone shares the same vision for the club going forward and will not push hard against the organization's methodology.
Next, we have to wonder whether the Yankees would hand over the reigns to a man that was not selected by their crosstown rivals. The Yankees are still heavily invested in the outside perception of their organization and hiring a man the Mets passed on may not go over well with certain fans and some in the media would surely have a field day with it.
Finally, we don't even know if Long would consider the opportunity if the Yankees asked to interview him. There is always a chance that Long felt betrayed by the Yanks when he was not retained and doesn't trust Cashman or the club with his future.
While it makes sense to consider Long, the fact that there are others currently under the Yankees' employment who know the young players well and undoubtedly have Cashman's confidence, seemingly puts him at a disadvantage. In the end, Long's opportunity for a second stint with the club -- in any capacity -- is unlikely.