Report: Yankees had been trying to change hitting coaches for months

MLB: New York Yankees at Oakland Athletics, aaron boone
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees‘ decision to replace hitting coach Dillon Lawson following a disheartening loss to the Chicago Cubs may appear sudden, but according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the wheels have been in motion for months.

Sean Casey’s Appointment: A Long-awaited Move

Reportedly, the Yankees had reached out to former All-Star and current MLB Network analyst Sean Casey during the winter, expressing their interest in him for the hitting coach position. However, due to personal commitments, Casey was unavailable to take up the offer at the time.

Casey shares a strong bond with manager Aaron Boone from their days at the Cincinnati Reds, and his 30-year tenure in the sport makes him an excellent candidate for a big-league club, even in the absence of prior coaching experience.

A Shift in Approach: Integrating Old-School Methods with Analytics

Breaking away from Lawson’s analytical approach, Casey brings a more traditional mindset to the Yankees’ strategy, though he will collaborate with the existing analytics team. The Bombers have retained both assistant hitting coaches to ensure a smooth transition and invigorate both veteran team members and players currently underperforming.

Despite the timing of Lawson’s dismissal, the Yankees had been contemplating a coaching change for some time but were waiting for Casey’s availability.

“The Yankees tried over the winter to interview Sean Casey for the hitting coach position he just accepted, but people close to the situation say Casey couldn’t consider it at that time because his girlfriend was undergoing chemotherapy treatments.”

Per Heyman.

The Urgent Need for Improved Offense

With one of the worst offenses in baseball at present, the Yankees rank 28th in batting average at .231 and 26th in on-base rate at .300. This poor performance compared to the rest of the league undoubtedly contributed to the decision to let Lawson go.

Though some may view Lawson as a scapegoat for the Yankees’ offensive struggles, the change likely signifies a shift in philosophy. Casey is expected to focus on each pitch’s process, boosting player confidence to achieve optimal performance levels.

Short-Term Expectations and Long-Term Prospects

With only a few days before the Yankees face off against the Colorado Rockies, Casey doesn’t have an abundance of time to make an immediate impact. However, we anticipate gradual enhancements over the coming weeks in the second half of the 2023 season.

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