During Aaron Boone's introductory press conference Wednesday, he recognized that he would have a learning curve as the Yankees manager. As such, Boone intimated that he would be able to lean on his coaching staff in an effort to get him up to speed as quickly as possible.
While Boone and Yankees general manager Brian Cashman believe that experience in the bench coach role would be beneficial, neither was willing to say it was a necessity.
"I just hired a manager without actual managing experience. I do take great comfort in having Larry Rothschild down there. He is one of the best pitching coaches in the game and a former manager," Cashman said. "He served under some of the best managerial people in the game, Lou Piniella obviously in Chicago, Jim Leyland in Miami and Joe Girardi. I think Larry has a lot to offer."
Boone concurred with Rothschild's importance and noted that the bench coach having experience was "not a prerequisite." Boone continued his thoughts.
"I want (someone) smart sitting next to me. I want confidence sitting next to me. I want a guy who can walk out into that room and as I talk about relationships I expect to have with my players, I expect that even to be more so with my coaching staff. I want smart guys capable of connecting and impacting players. Whether that is guys with all kinds of experience or little experience, I am not concerned about that.''
So, who will the Yankees turn to in order to fill what is arguably as important a decision as the one to name Boone the skipper? Here are some options the Yanks might consider with varying levels of experience and expertise:
One of the more surprising circumstances that arose from the managerial interview process was that none of the minor league coaches received a sit down with Cashman and the others assisting in the decision making. When the undertaking began, Bell was among the names that made some sense considering the Yankees seemed to be veering away from long-standing managers.
Bell has experience as a bench coach for two different MLB clubs (Arizona and Cincinnati) as well as leading the Yankees Single-A affiliate in Tampa to an exceptional regular season record in 2017. However, Bell may simply be bumped up the minor league coaching ladder with former Triple-A skipper Al Pedrique's departure.
Gonzalez is currently the third base coach for the Marlins, but it is doubtful they would hold him back from taking a role with the Yanks to be Boone's right-hand man. Gonzalez, an MLB manager with the Marlins and Braves for parts of 10 seasons, was often among the names bandied about to replace Girardi at the outset of the process.
He produced up-and-down results as the Marlins' skipper, while his time with the Braves began with three very solid finishes, including a division title in 2013. From there, things went down hill. Gonzalez is well respected and can certainly provide a sounding board to Boone.
Pena becomes an interesting option with the departure of Rob Thomson, who may have been a leading candidate for the bench coach role after being passed over for the managerial spot. Pena was the Yankees bench coach for six years under Girardi, and being a former catcher gives him an advantage with current backstop Gary Sanchez, who Boone mentioned was very important to the success of the club.
Pena's understanding of the operation and the players would also seem to be beneficial. However, there is a chance that being a part of the former regime and his removal from the bench role before (there is no certainty as to why) will play against his chances.
Here is a name that would be as off the block as Boone's to manage the squad. Teixeira, a former Yankee first baseman across eight seasons, was a colleague of Boone's since retiring after the 2016 season.
Teixeira is baseball savvy, articulate, and he's always been considered a quality clubhouse member. We also know he can bring looseness, and help cultivate relationships with the players. Teixeira has no coaching experience, but add his years in the game with Boone's, one would hope that they could come to the right decisions together.
The former Mariners and Indians manager was one of Boone's competitors for the Yankees job. Wedge has 10 years of managerial experience in the big leagues and Boone was one of his former players in Cleveland.
Wedge had the most experience as a manager of all the candidates. In fact, he was the only interviewee with time served as an MLB skipper. He won the 2007 manager of the year award with Cleveland, and enjoyed moderate success with the Indians the rest of his stay, but his time with the Mariners was considered a failure.
As we witnessed with the hiring of Boone, the decision for bench coach may not be anyone we saw coming when the process commenced.