Yankees GM Brian Cashman decided it was time to part ways with Joe Girardi after the skipper guided the club for 10 seasons, which included a World Series title in 2009.
Cashman will likely want a manager he knows well, is able to be molded to fit his vision of the squad going forward, and has a relationship with the club, either now or in the past.
Here are some of the candidates with varying chances of garnering an interview, in alphabetical order...
Bell managed the Tampa Yankees to an 85-50 record in 2017 and was named the Florida State League's Manager of the Year. He was the bench coach in Cincinnati for two seasons and interviewed for the Diamondbacks' managerial opening in 2014 (he was their bench coach from 2005-06). Bell is now heading up the Scottsdale Scorpions, which is filled with Yankees prospects, in the Arizona Fall League. Teams send players to the AFL to see how they react to better competition. Could it be a test for Bell as well?
In the "former Yankees' player department," Cone might be the one who embraces analytics the most, but is also able to differentiate between the numbers and what he sees on the field. As a YES Network commentator, Cone has revealed a vast knowledge of the game and he is certainly a different personality to Girardi. The lack of actual managerial experience will be an issue. However, it will be interesting to see if Cone is considered for the pitching coach role if it is made available as well.
Ibanez played with the Yankees in 2012 and interviewed for the Rays' managerial position in 2014. He has recently worked for ESPN and ESPN Deportes and is deemed to have a fine baseball mind. Ibanez could connect with the Yankees' Latino players, but is probably a long shot, although he did express interest in the hitting coach role recently. If that is up for grabs, he could be a nice fit.
Long, the former Yankees -- and current Mets -- hitting coach might get an interview as he missed out on the Mets' managerial position recently filled by Mickey Callaway. Long, who will interview for the Nationals' managerial opening, certainly has an understanding of how things work in the Bronx, but a lack of managerial experience would seem to leave him at the lower end of the selection list.
Mitchell has managed the Yankees' Double-A affiliate in Trenton for two straight seasons, racking up a 179-103 record (92-48 in 2017). He took Trenton to the Eastern League's East Division title and was beaten in the league championship series for the second straight season. He has over 600 victories as a minor league manager.
O'Neill, one of Cone's counterparts at YES, interviewed for the Reds' job before they settled on Bryan Price. O'Neill displays a player's mindset on telecasts and his fire is undeniable. However, he does not fully embrace the analytical aspects of the game as much as would be required by the Yankees new manager. As with Ibanez, there is chance the club could turn to O'Neill in a hitting coach role if they decide to reconfigure the entire coaching staff.
Pedrique concluded his fifth season as a manager in the Yankees' farm system (13th overall in the minors), having managed the last two seasons for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He guided the 2016 RailRiders (91-52 record, first place finish) to the International League and Triple-A championship and they were the IL 2017 league runner-up. Pedrique has 83 games under his belt as a major league manager, but he won just 22 of them for the Diamondbacks in 2004 after replacing Bob Brenly midseason.
Pena has been a coach in some capacity with the Yankees since 2006. He was the first base coach and worked with the catchers in 2017. Pena was Girardi's bench coach from 2009 through 2014. He was at the helm of the Royals from 2002 through 2005, winning the Manager of the Year Award in 2003. Pena has also managed teams in the Dominican Summer League as well as the Dominican Republic National Baseball Team, which went undefeated while winning the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
Randolph, a longtime Yankee second baseman and team captain, was the third base coach for the Yankees from 1994-2003 under Buck Showalter and Joe Torre, and then Torre's bench coach in 2004. Randolph managed the crosstown Mets from 2005 to 2008, guiding the 2006 club to the National League East title and to the NLCS, where they lost in seven games to the eventual World Series Champion Cardinals. Randolph has not coached in the majors since 2011, which could hinder his chances of an interview.
The Yankees' bench coach for Girardi has been in the organization for 28 years in some capacity or another. To be able to stick around that long shows there is a long-standing respect for him. Thomson has never managed professionally, but being around the dugout for so long provides him with plenty of knowledge of the role. Thomson is apparently well-liked by the players, which has to be a consideration with a group that could be together for a long time.
In the end, I suspect Cashman will want to go with a manager be believes will embrace analytics, but is not a robotic presence in the clubhouse. The new manager will have to relate to the players on two levels -- as a field manager and a leader who understands his players. Whoever lands the job will be handed the task of winning the World Series with a group of players that just went through their first postseason in the big leagues. As such, the new skipper will have incredible expectations lumped on him from the moment the contract is signed.