Saturday, October 22, 2005

Weekend Points Of Review

The Merry-Go Round begins....from Friday's NY Daily News

The Yankees are looking to overhaul their coaching staff this winter and have their sights set on former Phillies manager Larry Bowa to be their third base coach in 2006, according to sources. The Yanks are also said to be in negotiations to bring back Lee Mazzilli, this time as bench coach.
Joe Torre is believed to have spoken several times with Bowa, who spent the 2005 season working as an analyst for ESPN. GM Brian Cashman has also spoken with him.

Bowa, 59, was known as much for his fiery personality as his baseball acumen during his days as a manager, but he was regarded by many as one of baseball's best third- base coaches during his stints on the line.

Bowa was one of the topics discussed during Torre's sit-down with George Steinbrenner in Tampa on Monday, according to sources.

Roy White, who coached first base for the Yanks last season, is likely to be cut loose, and it's possible that Luis Sojo, who was the third base coach, could shift over to first, though he also might be let go.

Another potential scenario involves moving Chuck Cottier, who was an advance scout, to first base coach.

Sojo is incredibly popular within the team, but his decisions as third base coach often drew criticism from club executives and fans. Most of the time, Torre stood up for Sojo, but there were instances when the former infielder made choices that were indefensible.

When Sojo ran Derek Jeter into a first-inning out against the Angels in April, for example - taking away a second-and-third, nobody out situation for the heart of the Bombers' order - not much could be said to defend him.

"Luis was a little over-aggressive there," Torre said at the time. "We let them off the hook."

One factor that could allow Sojo to remain with the Yankees is his relationship with their Spanish-speaking players; Sojo quickly developed a strong tie to Robinson Cano, and whenever Torre had an issue with Cano he would typically ask Sojo to be involved in the conversation or even just speak to Cano on his own.

Since Cano figures to be a part of the Bombers' long-term future, there may be some in the organization who do not want to eliminate that dynamic, particularly since Sojo has tried to help rid the 22-year-old Cano of some of his flaws.

Torre has said he believes he'll have more control over the makeup of his coaching staff this winter than in years past and he mentioned after his Tuesday press conference that he wouldn't mind seeing Mazzilli return. Unlike Joe Girardi, who was bench coach last season but will be the Marlins' manager in 2006, Mazzilli has managerial experience, which only makes him more valuable as Torre's right-hand man. Mazzilli served as Torre's first base coach for four seasons before leaving for Baltimore.

Bowa, who did his first managerial stint in San Diego from 1987-88, then spent a dozen years coaching and waiting before getting the Phillies' job before the 2001 season, served as Lou Piniella's third-base coach in Seattle in 2000 and thus already has a relationship with Alex Rodriguez.

Bowa won't come cheaply, but that doesn't figure to be an issue for the Yankees. Although he said during the season that he enjoyed working in television, Bowa has wanted to get back into the game and was under consideration to replace Ken Macha as A's manager before Oakland did an about-face and rehired Macha one week after breaking off contract talks with him.

Things went sour for Bowa after he was named Manager of the Year with the Phillies in '01 and he was axed with just two games remaining in the 2004 season.

I actually like the idea of Larry Bowa coming here possibly. He knows the game inside and out and he's probably going to be on his best behavior because he's trying to get a managerial job somewhere. Guys like Bowa are fine if you can put a muzzle on them. They know the game inside and out and their expertise would be invaluable. Plus, with Joe there, there's little chance of him doing the damage that he did in Philly. These guys make way too much money for the Yankees to let some third base coach get under their skin. Guys like Bowa, Billy Martin and Valentine are fine to have around as long as you have a alpha-male in charge that they respect. Someone who will give them the boot if they get out of line. I don't think you find a better big dog to handle this situation than Joe Torre.

Sojo should definitely stay in some capacity. With the constant influx of Latin players thanks to more international scouting, you need some sort of liason in place to help with the adjustment process. Someone who understands their needs and thought process. I think Sojo is perfect for this. As good as Joe is at communication, it's kind of hard to talk to someone if you're not fluid in their language. You see that now watching the playoffs. Look at what Ozzie and El Duque have done for Jose Contreras. Proof positive, that there needs to be someone in place to help the special cases out. The guys who are having a hard time adjusting to their new life. Guys that you have invested a huge amount of money and time. I've always thought that one of the mistakes that some clubs made was to have a support system in place for black players when they were allowed to play in the majors. This is a much different situation, but there's nothing wrong with a little TLC for those that need it.

I know Joe trusts Mazzili, but I've never been impressed by Lee. He's never stood out as a player or a manager. If Joe's comfortable having there, I suppose it's ok. We survived with a wackjob like Zimmer. The man who was as responsible for the Red Sox collapse in 1978 as anyone. I guess we can survive Lee.

The pitching coach possibilities are intriguing. My choice would be Dave "Rags" Righetti. He's done a great job for the Giants and he's contemporary enough to relate to today's players. He's one of the few pitching coaches that I could see as a good manager someday. I don't know if he'd leave his family in Bay Area, but he'd be my choice if he would. Jimmy Key is an interesting choice as well. He was a very crafty competitor as a Yankee and Blue Jay. I'd like to see what he would do with a pitching staff. Ron Guidry has a certain star quality, but I wonder he'd willing to do this full time. If he did, he'd obviously have a lot to offer any staff.

I thought the world of Joe Girardi as a player and have no doubt that he's going to be very good manager. But why was everyone ready to annoint this guy as soon as as he was ready to call it quits as player? And why was it so hard for guys like Willie Randolph to get a decent gig? The talking heads were down on Willie get the Molly job from Minaya but nobody's saying anything about Girardi inheriting the most talented team in the division on paper. As bright as Joe might be, you can't tell me that race didn't have a little to do with that.

More later....


Blogger Yankees Chick said...

hey! thanks letting me know you exist...i love your blog. perhaps we can unite in your goal to convert the haters!

6:21 AM  
Blogger Mets Guy in Michigan said...


I left a shout out to you on Mets Guy in Michigan. look for the stormtroopers. Enjoy.

6:06 AM  
Blogger Darth Marc said...

Yankee Chick,

Thanks for the propers. I'm going to let the rest of the Empire know about you....


I read your shoutout yesterday...hilarious...I also left a response...

7:19 AM  

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