The Yankees are in need of a manger and it is expected they will follow a recent trend; hiring a young, analytically sound baseball mind that can also connect with players on a personal level.
Some in the baseball industry scratched their heads when the Houston Astros hired A.J. Hinch, who was 40 years old, and the Los Angeles Dodgers tabbed Dave Roberts, then 42, to be the clubs' respective managers. Wednesday night, Hinch delivered Houston's first World Series title with Roberts sitting in the opposing dugout.
There is a relatively new "managerial-hire" road map and now validation that teams can win it all without leaning on an "experienced" skipper. Enter the candidacy of Josh Paul for the Yankees' vacancy.
Paul, 42, played 321 games in the big leagues (566 in the minors), retiring in 2008. Paul managed the Yankees' rookie short-season affiliate in Staten Island (2009-10) with the club winning the league title in 2009. Paul then shifted to work as a scout for the organization and has most recently worked as the Yankees catching coordinator since 2015.
There you go, that's Paul's resumé.
If it doesn't instill much excitement, the Yankees won't care. If Paul is hired, the Yanks will do so because he fits the mold the club is looking to exploit, one that differentiates from former skipper Joe Girardi. He has obviously made a big impression on the members in the front office and he began to receive some praise from players during spring training sessions.
Paul created "The Wolfpack" with the purpose to bond the young catchers in the system and teach them that hard work and pride in their craft would benefit their careers. Paul is credited with aiding the defensive development of Gary Sanchez, which obviously could be a benefit to the Yankees' All-Star catcher's future improvement.
The link with Sanchez and the rest of the catchers in the system aside, Paul has had minimal impact on the current roster - he managed Kyle Higashioka and Adam Warren in 2009 and Sanchez, Tommy Kahnle and Bryan Mitchell in 2010. The difficulty for Paul, or anyone without coaching experience at the major league level with the hiring team, is that they will have to quickly develop a rapport with the players.
It is fair to suggest that Paul's age and recent departure from playing the game gives him an edge where it concerns connecting with the players, both youth and veterans alike. However, does Paul have enough cache to meld quickly with the team?
The Astros had the benefit of hiring Hinch as the team rebuilt from the ground up. Paul would not have the advantage of minimal pressure and a long-term plan. The Yankees will be expected to perform immediately, and fair or not, the next step is a World Series appearance. They advanced past the anticipated finish in 2017 and with the core in place, the means to add resources plus newly realized experience, the timetable has accelerated.
This doesn't mean Paul does not have a chance to excel. Paul's potential quest would more resemble Roberts' who took over a team that had won three straight division titles.
While there now is precedence, assuming similar results to Hinch's and Roberts' paths is the risk the Yankees will debate. The Yankees will have to determine if Paul can all at once, and for the first time ever, handle managing MLB players both on the field and as individuals off of it, direct coaches that may have more experience in the game than he and win.
Moreover, not just win soon, but win now.