Has Any Recent MLB Team Won Using the Yankees Coaching Philosophy?
By Paul Semendinger
Originally printed November 4, 2020.
Reprinted Again - August 16, 2023
NOTE - This is being published again based upon some of the comments yesterday in one of our articles. I noted that the Yankees went with an inexperienced manager and surrounded him with inexperienced coaches.
When I wrote this article, I wanted to see if any of the World Championship teams tried an approach similar to what the Yankees were doing. Of course, none of them did.
In retrospect, years later, it seems clear that when I wrote this, even though the point was that the Yankees were going into uncharted territory, I was giving them a lot of the benefit of the doubt. But, the bigger point remains - the Yankees felt that they knew better than to use a formula that works - and is very logical - having experienced baseball people running the team. The Yankees thought they knew better. (This follows a pattern of the Yankees seeming to know better than everyone else... like not getting left-handed power hitters in the lineup, etc...)
In short, it didn't work. As the Yankees have crumbled, there has been no one in leadership who they could turn to to help them right the ship.
Here is the article originally written in 2020.
Let’s take a look at the Yankees coaching staff:
Aaron Boone – never a MLB coach, Yankees are first MLB managerial or coaching position Carlos Mendoza – coach since 2018, Yankees are first MLB coaching position Marcus Thames – coach since 2016, Yankees are first MLB coaching position P.J. Pilittere – coach since 2018, Yankees are first MLB coaching position Matt Blake – coach since 2020, Yankees are first MLB coaching position Reggie Willits – coach since 2018, Yankees are first MLB coaching position Phil Nevin – coach since 2017 (S.F. Giants, one season), Been with Yankees since 2018 Mike Harkey – coach since 2006 – one year with Florida Marlins, two years with Arizona Diamondbacks, all of the rest with the Yankees, been in current role since 2016 Tanner Swanson – Was a coach on Twins from 2017-19, Yankees coach in 2020
Three main things jump out to me when I look at this list:
These is mostly a staff of coaches that has had no Major League coaching experience prior to 2016 going along with a manager who is in his first coaching or managerial role ever
For the vast majority of these coaches, their only Major League experience is with the Yankees
Many of these coaches were not Major League players none was ever on a World Championship team (and most were rarely, if ever, even on pennant winners or Wild Card teams).
I wondered if any other championship teams have reached the pinnacle of baseball by using the approach the Yankees are employing – by creating a staff of less-experienced coaches whose only background seems to be with one team. (I have offered the opinion that the Yankees need some more experience and different on their coaching staff.)
As such, I decided to take a look if any teams this century employed the current Yankees approach. In my quick study, I looked to see what types of experiences the manager or some members of the coaching had prior to the position they served on the championship team. To keep this simple, once I found at least two members of the coaching staff (including the manager) with significant experience, I went on to look at the next team.
In short has any recent championship team build a staff of coaches in a similar manner to the Yankees’ current approach?
(As an important disclaimer, it must be said that the Yankees’ coaching staff is extremely highly regarded. Each of these individuals has outstanding credentials. Many of the coaches are seen as some of the brightest names in the sport. There is no doubt as to the quality of these coaches, individually and collectively. This article is not to say any of these coaches are not qualified to coach or don’t belong on the Yankees. The study is just an examination to see if there has been a championship team in recent history with a staff similar to the one the Yankees currently have.)
2020 Los Angeles Dodgers: NO
Manager – Dave Roberts: 2nd team managing. Was a coach from 2011-15 before becoming a manager. Was a World Series Champion with the 2004 Red Sox
Coach – Bob Geren: Managed the A’s from 2007-11, Was a coach with the A’s and the Mets before going to the Dodgers
2019 Washington Nationals: NO
Manager – Dave Martinez: first team managing, but has been a coach with two other teams since 2008 and was a coach on the 2016 World Champion Chicago Cubs
Coach – Chip Hale: Managed the Diamondbacks from 2015-16 and had been a coach with the Diamondbacks, Mets, and A’s prior to going to Washington
2018 Boston Red Sox: NO
Manager – Alex Cora: this was his first team managing. He had been a coach on the 2017 World Champion Astros.
Coach – Ron Roenicke: Managed the Brewers from 2011-15. He had been a coach since 2000 (and had coached, briefly, for the Dodgers in 1992-93) with the Dodgers and Angels before going to the Red Sox.
2017 Houston Astros: NO
Manager – A.J. Hinch: Managed the Diamondbacks from 2009-10.
Coach – Rich Dauer: Had been a coach since 1990 (on and off) with four previous MLB teams (was also a World Champion player with the Baltimore Orioles)
Coach – Dave Hudgens: Had been a coach for the A’s and the Mets prior to Houston
2016 Chicago Cubs: NO
Manager – Joe Maddon: A long-time veteran manager…
2015 Kansas City Royals: NO
Manager – Ned Yost: Managed the Brewers from 2003-08, before that was a long-time coach on the Braves (1991-02).
Coach – Don Wakamatsu: Had been a manager for the Mariners and had coached for the Rangers, A’s, and Blue Jays
2014 San Francisco Giants: NO
Manager – Bruce Bochy: A long-time veteran manager
2013 Boston Red Sox: NO
Manager – John Farrell: He had been a coach on the Red Sox from 2007-10 and had managed the Blue Jays from 2011-12.
Coach – Torey Lovullo: Had been a coach for two years with the Blue Jays before joining the Red Sox.
Coach – Brian Butterfield: Was a long-time baseball guy with the Yankees and had coached with the Yankees, Diamondbacks, and Blue Jays before joining the Red Sox
2012 San Francisco Giants: NO
Manager- Bruce Bochy: See 2014 Giants
2011 St. Louis Cardinals: NO
Manager – Tony LaRussa: what more is there to add?
2010 San Francisco Giants: NO
Manager – Bruce Bochy: See 2012 Giants
2009 New York Yankees: NO
Manager – Joe Girardi: Had managed the Florida Marlins (2006) and was a Yankees coach in 2005. Was part of multiple World Series Champions with the Yankees.
Coach – Tony Pena: Had managed the Kansas City Royals from 2002-05
2008 Philadelphia Phillies: NO
Manager – Charlie Manuel: Had been a manager and coach of the Cleveland Indians dating back to 1988.
Coach Jimy Williams: Had managed for the Blue Jays and the Red Sox previously
2007 Boston Red Sox: NO
Manager – Terry Francona: Managed the Phillies, had coached with three other MLB clubs
2006 St Louis Cardinals: NO
Manager – Tony LaRussa
2005 Chicago White Sox: NO
Manager – Ozzie Guillen: Was in his first big league managerial assignment, but had coached for the Expos and Marlins previously
Coach – Art Kusnyer: A long time baseball coach who began coaching in MLB in 1980 and was a Tony LaRussa protégée.
This team had a relatively inexperienced coaching staff, many had been recently hired to coach the White Sox, but among the coaches were future Hall-of-Famers Harold Baines and Tim Raines, players with experience to the early 1980s.
2004 Boston Red Sox: NO
Manager – Terry Francona
2003 Florida Marlins: NO
Manager – Jack McKeon: a long-time baseball manager (and GM)
2002 Anaheim Angels: NO (but almost…)
Manager – Mike Scioscia: Had coached for the Dodgers, but was a young manager at the time in his first managerial position
Coaches on this team though included Ron Roenicke and Joe Maddon
2001 Arizona Diamondbacks: YES (sort of…, at least in regards to MLB coaching experience)
Manager – Bob Brenley: A first year manager who had not coached in the big leagues
Bob Melvin – His 3rd team in three years as a MLB coach (Brewers and Tigers previously), but had played in the MLB for 10 seasons
Chris Speier – Had coached for the Brewers for 1 season, but had a 19-year playing career
Bob Welch – Was a rookie coach, but had played 16 big league seasons and had been on two World Series winners
Dwayne Murphy – Had been with the D-Backs since 1998 and had enjoyed a, 11-year big league career
2000 New York Yankees: NO
Manager – Joe Torre: yes, he had a lot of experience…