I know the idea of signing Leo Mazzone to be pitching coach in the Bronx has a lot of traction here on Pinstripe Alley. I certainly am not opposed to the move, and I can see all of it's upside.
But I can see it's downside as well: when a superstar fails in New York, the cheers turn to jeers quickly, and there are few positions in the business set up to fail like a pitching coach. How will Yankee fans treat Mazzone when Joba Chamberlain has a 5.00 ERA through the first two months, and AJ can't find the strike zone? I know what the comments will be like around here.
A less heralded coach will have, I think, a little more rope.
And it sounds like the Yankees are leaning that direction as well:
Mike Harkey could move from the bullpen to Dave Eiland's old job. Josh Paul, who is well thought of by the front office, likely would replace Harkey as the bullpen coach.
Paul, a former big league catcher, managed at Staten Island (Short-A) this past season and filled in for Harkey when he subbed for Eiland, who took almost a month off to deal with a family issue.
Paul was also with the Yankees during the playoffs.
The composition of the coaching staff is the one area that I have little insight to offer- the daily grind of practices, bullpen sessions, talks on the bench all happen away from media scrutiny. I don't know a thing about Dave Eiland after 3 years with the Yankees- what drill does he prefer? what strategies does he counsel? how does he handle pitchers' egos and their needs?
Mazzone would be a nice pick up, a guy who would need no introduction to the clubhouse.
But a good coach is all that matters. This one's on Cashman and Girardi.