Yankees hire former Gold Glove winning catcher for bench coach role

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Following the news that Carlos Mendoza would depart for Queens to become the next manager of the New York Mets, the Yankees have been in search of a bench coach. They had interviewed former Giants’ pitching coach Andrew Bailey, but he’d shortly after accepted the pitching coach position for the Boston Red Sox. Another candidate that seemed to turn the Yankees away was former manager David Ross, who was let go by the Cubs following the shocking hire of Craig Counsell.

Brad Ausmus, who was linked to the Yankees by multiple reporters in previous weeks, has now been hired for the bench coach role, according to Joel Sherman.

Yankees Turn to Experienced Baseball Figure For Bench Coach Role

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Tampa Bay Rays
Apr 13, 2022; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Oakland Athletics manager Mark Kotsay (7) talks with bench coach Brad Ausmus (16) against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees finally find their bench coach as they hire former manager and player Brad Ausmus. The 54-year-old manager has been around the game for quite some time in various roles, previously playing for the Yankees’ Minor League affiliates from 1988-1992 before spending time at the Major and Minor League levels for various teams. His experience as a catcher in the league transitioned well into various roles across the sport, including managing the Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels.

Ausmus, who had 16.5 career WAR and three Gold Gloves, had a strong playing career, and based on their reported communication issues, bringing in a former player should align with what they’re looking for. While he has a below .500 record as a manager, the teams he worked with were not extremely talented, and the likely scenario here is that they wanted somebody that the players could gel with.

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New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone, left, and general manager Brian Cashman talk during the team workout on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, in the Bronx. Yankees Workout

James Rowson, who was hired earlier this month as the hitting coach, also had experience in professional baseball, and it seems the team has leaned towards bringing in more player-friendly coaches. He’s also served as a Special Assistant with the Los Angeles Angels and was a Field Executive with the San Diego Padres. He does have experience as a bench coach as he spent a season in 2022 with the Oakland Athletics, but departed as he sought out a front office role.

Brad Ausmus developed a strong reputation as a defensive guru behind the plate, racking up +20 Defensive Runs Saved and +18.7 Defensive WAR as a catcher, meaning he could also have a strong relationship or rapport with pitchers. Through his 1,971 games of MLB experience and considering the Yankees’ emphasis on catching defense with coach Tanner Swanson, a lot of his baseball background aligns well with what the Yankees value on-field

The Yankees now fill out their two major coaching vacancies with Brad Ausmus and James Rowson, and they’ll have plenty of time to focus on the free agent and trade market. Recently posted superstar pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto is of great interest to the team, and Brian Cashman attended his second no-hitter this past season. According to insider Jon Heyman, Yamamoto is the Yankees’ top pitching target, and it’s expected that they’ll join a heavy bidding war for the 25-year-old.

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