Last offseason, the Yankees coaching staff was a long topic of discussion. The team decided to fire hitting coach Kevin Long and let first base coach/infield instructor Mick Kelleher go at the end of the season. In order to replace them, they decided to go with a convoluted plan that involved hiring Joe Espada to be the new third base and infield coach, moving Rob Thomson to the bench, and putting Tony Pena at first base. They replaced Long with two new coaches–Jeff Pentland as hitting coach and Alan Cockrell as his assistant. There was a lot less controversy surrounding the coaching staff in 2015, but things might be very different next season.
Before they worry about who will be on the team's roster next year, they have to determine who will be a part of their staff first. The contracts of Rob Thomson, Tony Pena, and Jeff Pentland will all expire once the playoffs come to an end, but nothing is known about what the Yankees plan to do about it. Brian Cashman first has to determine a replacement for now-former assistant general manager Billy Eppler.
Thomson was a source of controversy last year when he was responsible for a league-high number of bad sends from third base. It's no coincidence that they went out of their way to move him to a different job. He's been in the organization for awhile, but maybe it's finally time to let him go.Tony Pena was the team's bench coach for a few years and even once interviewed for the Yankees' managerial opening. It's been long felt that Pena deserves a chance to manage somewhere, so with the amount of openings this offseason, could he take a job elsewhere if it meant a better position, or at the very least, his old job back? Pentland has been a coach for years and came to the team as a highly-regarded hitting coach, but will they continue to keep two coaches for the same job again, especially when one is still under contract? Perhaps the 2015 season was just a warm up for Cockrell to take over the job from Pentland in 2016.
As for the rest of the coaching staff, pitching coach Larry Rothschild is still under contract for another year, while bullpen coach/catching instructor Gary Tuck has an option that he can choose to pick up or not. The Yankees would likely prefer Tuck to stay and hope that Rothschild will remain with the organization for a long time to come as both have been indispensable since joining the team. Joe Girardi is also under contract through the 2017 season after signing a four-year extension before the 2014 season. Espada and Cockrell will remain under contract for the 2016 season.
It's hard not to wonder if minor league managers Tony Franklin and Dave Miley, or Scranton hitting coach Marcus Thames, will get a chance to coach at the big league level. Who would you like the Yankees to hire? Who should they bring back? Who should they let go?