The rumor mill is swirling with speculation over who will take the helm as the next Yankee manager.
The game of baseball, and how it is managed has been undergoing a transformation from “gut decisions” to “analytical, sabremetrical decisions.” In other words, baseball has become data and numbers driven. Almost every decision a manager makes is driven by statistics and the law of averages.
For example, Joe Girardi’s decision to take C.C. Sabathia out of his Division Series start against the Indians having thrown only 77 pitches, and showing no signs of fatigue was driven by data analysis. Statistics showed that after 70+ pitches, Sabathia losses steam, so he was removed from the game.
It will take a specific type of manager to lead the Yankees moving forward. The Yankees will be looking for a manager that can analyze data, and manage a game based on that data.
A few names that meet these criteria come to my mind when thinking of who might be a good fit.
Bob Geren: Geren is a former catcher. The list of former catchers that have had success as a manager is extensive. Geren has managerial experience with the Oakland A’s, which is the team that started the sabremetrical approach to running a baseball team. He would have that expertise to offer. He also coached for the Mets, giving him experience with the New York fan base and media.
Tony Pena: Pena was the runner up ten years ago when Girardi got the job. He has managerial experience at the Major League level as well. He has been on the coaching staff of the Yankees since 2005. He too was a catcher.
David Cone: Probably not, but hear me out. Cone is an Advanced Sabrematrician. As an analyst for the YES Network, Cone has proven that he understands using statistics and data to drive managerial decisions. This is exactly the type of person the Yankees need to manage with data, statistics and Sabremetrics. He is a fan favorite in the Bronx. Cone also has the demeanor to handle a demanding New York media.
Raul Ibanez: One of the criticisms of Joe Girardi was that he could be too intense with the players. Raul Ibanez is mild mannered and player friendly. He has also proven his ability to analyze data as an analyst on ESPN.
In 1995, the Yankees parted ways with Buck Showalter, arguably one of baseball’s greatest managers after the team made the playoffs for the first time since 1981.
When the team introduced Joe Torre as the next manager, fans scratched their heads with confusion. The headlines read, “Clueless Joe.” Despite his lack of managerial success with the Cardinals and Mets, Joe Torre was a good fit to manage a young Yankee team with a few stars. We know how that story ended.
Whomever takes over as Yankees manager will need to possess the ability to manage a team with data analysis, and at the same time be able to nurture a young, inexperienced group of players that appear to have the potential to succeed at the Major League Level.