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Carlos Beltran is the best Yankees manager candidate yet

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Despite no previous experience, the future Hall of Famer isn’t a terrible option.

MLB: Houston Astros at Texas Rangers Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s take stock of the Yankees’ managerial chase, just because there’s no actual free agency going on. So far, Brian Cashman and ownership have interviewed a number of less-than-enticing candidates: Rob Thomson, Eric Wedge, Aaron Boone, Chris Woodward, and Hensley Meulens. Just yesterday, though, they interviewed yet another one, one that was much more unconventional: Carlos Beltran.

Beltran, the now-recent World Champion and former Yankee and Met, literally just retired. However, he was still called in for the interview because, despite lacking any previous managerial experience, he has an excellent rapport with the team he would actually be managing.

This isn’t to say that the previous choices wouldn’t have certain advantages, of course. Thomson is a Yankee favorite and seems to embrace the organizational line; Wedge has years under his belt; Meulens has hitting coach experience and speaks five languages. Beltran, on the other hand, has quite a few, and checks a number of the boxes Cashman put forth when he started the search.

In an interview with MLB.com, Cashman put forth the following requirements:

“[He] listed in-game decision making, prep work, open-mindedness to pro scouts, player-development recommendations, analytical suggestions, performance science, the medical side and being open and honest with the media as plus attributes. Cashman also added that a preexisting relationship would help but is not necessary.”

So far, Beltran has shown a few of those in plain sight. On analytics, he has said:

"I don't see teams winning these days without analytics; it's a huge part of baseball.. The human factor of the game is important, but analytics will position players to be more consistent making plays or helping pitchers attack hitters where it's not a guessing mode, but in advantage mode. It's valuable information. You make moves based on data. If I told you there was all this data for your financial investments, would you use it? Of course you would. Same thing in baseball."

In terms of communication and working with the clubhouse, there are quite a few positive anecdotes:

Keep in mind that these are the players (possibly not CC Sabathia) that Beltran will have to manage, and he already acted as a pseudo-player manager with some of them. Just as we saw with Joe Girardi and Gary Sanchez, a souring relationship with a young and important player could jeopardize your job. These players matter more than any single manager.

That doesn’t mean that there isn’t one glaring issue, and that’s actual, in-game managerial experience. But, then again, even Girardi himself had little experience before he made the plunge, and Joe Torre was a managerial failure. In theory, if someone with a crystal ball could look 20 years into the future and see that time’s best managers, my guess is that a few started with little or no experience. Maybe this is Beltran’s chance.

Or maybe it isn’t, because you also need to take the media praise with a hardy grain of salt. There are good stories and he seems to fit the profile, but no one knows what happens when you actually sit in the hot seat. It’s a fickle job where performance isn’t even in your control, but I think with this interview, Cashman and company are fishing in the right direction at least. If they were to choose him, it would be risky, but they’d be adding a team favorite, pro-analytics future Hall of Famer with a fresh voice.