NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Considering all the injuries the Yankees suffered this past season and how they somehow managed to stay relevant in the race for a playoff spot into late September, it makes sense that most, if not all, of manager Joe Girardi’s coaches have earned the right to return.
General manager Brian Cashman said earlier this month that he wanted to retain all six coaches on Girardi’s staff. At this point, none of them have been re-signed and their contracts run out at the end of October.
However, it appears the Yankees are very close to bringing back pitching coach Larry Rothschild. According to a report in the Daily News, the Yankees and Rothschild are nearing a new deal that will keep him in pinstripes while management tries to figure out what to do with a pitching staff that will likely look very different next season. The sides have not yet finalized a deal, but have agreed to terms, the newspaper reported.
Under Rothschild, 59, who was hired in 2010 after the Yankees parted ways with Dave Eiland, the Yankees have been very good on the mound overall, ranking eighth in the American League with a 3.94 ERA this past season and fifth (3.84) and fourth (3.73), respectively, during his first two seasons with the team.
That’s not to say that the 2013 starters didn’t have their issues.
CC Sabathia led the team with 14 wins, but also had 13 losses to go along with a bloated 4.78 ERA. He missed the final week of the season due to a leg injury.
Hiroki Kuroda (11-13, 3.31) was being bandied about as an AL Cy Young candidate at the beginning of August, but tanked badly over the season’s final six weeks, going 1-7 with a 5.40 ERA in his last 10 starts. He will be a free agent.
Andy Pettitte (11-11, 3.74) was on and off, but did finish strong, going 4-2 with a 1.94 ERA over his last 10 starts. However, he retired at season’s end, leaving a big void in the organization, let alone the rotation.
Ivan Nova (9-6, 3.10) figures to be a solid No. 2-3 behind Sabathia next season, while Phil Hughes (4-14, 5.19) has likely pitched his final game for the Yankees and will test free agency.
Assuming Rothschild — who was the manager in Tampa Bay for its first three seasons and has been either an adviser or coach for several other organizations — is brought back, he will be tasked with guiding a rotation that will almost certainly be filled with new faces. Prior to re-signing Girardi to a new four-year, $16 million deal, Cashman suggested to WFAN’s Mike Francesa that the Yankees would likely require up to 600 innings from pitchers not currently in the organization next season.
The Yankees may choose to use David Phelps (6-5, 4.98) and Michael Pineda, but Phelps missed a ton of time in 2013 and is still largely unproven, while hard-throwing Pineda is still on the mend from a shoulder injury suffered in early 2012.
According to reports, the Yankees have legitimate interest in Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, and could bid for his rights this offseason. The 24-year-old right-hander went 20-0 with a 1.23 ERA this past season in the Japan Pacific League and has drawn comparisons to Texas’ Yu Darvish.
The Yankees will also have to deal with filling the massive shoes left by Mariano Rivera, who joined Pettitte in retirement at the end of the season. Setup man David Robertson (5-1, 2.04, 3 saves) appears to be the heir apparent, but who will set him up will remain another of the questions to surround the Yankees through the offseason.