The MLB offseason is underway, and while fans contemplate what might happen when the current Collective Bargaining Agreement expires on December 1st, the league’s annual general managers’ meetings unfolded in San Diego. Throughout the week, Brian Cashman spoke with reporters several times. In his signature straightforward style, Cashman divulged a few small pieces of information regarding the vacancies on the Yankees’ coaching staff and the headway he and the front office have made in filling them.
There are four main openings the Yankees have to hire for: a third-base coach to replace Phil Nevin, a first-base coach to replace Reggie Willits, a hitting coach to replace Marcus Thames, and an assistant hitting coach to replace P.J. Pilittere. Here is everything that has been confirmed so far about new coaching hires and candidates whom the Yankees have interviewed.
Luis Rojas likely to accept job as third-base coach
The Yankees interviewed recently-dismissed Mets manager Luis Rojas for one of their base coach positions and by all accounts, it went well. Ken Rosenthal tweeted that Rojas is “said to have made a positive impression” on manager Aaron Boone and the Yankees front office. Joel Sherman later reported via Twitter that he heard there’s a “strong likelihood that Luis Rojas will take the job as Yankees third-base coach.”
The Mets recently declined to pick up Rojas’ 2022 option, ending his two-season tenure as manager. Rojas wasn’t supposed to be the Mets manager — he was a last-minute substitute for Carlos Beltrán following the Astros sign stealing scandal — and even if he didn’t excel in the position he was thrown into, he’s well-respected in the baseball world and has experience coaching and working in player development in the minors. Additionally, Rojas is the son of Felipe Alou, so if Rojas’ hiring goes through, the Yankees will have members from two of baseball’s royal families at the helm.
Yankees interviewed Eric Chavez
At the GM meetings, Cashman acknowledged that the Yankees have contacted former third baseman Eric Chavez to see if he would be interested in interviewing for one of the team’s coaching jobs. Chavez, 43, spent 17 years in the majors, including two seasons with the Yanks in 2011 and 2012.
Chavez has worked as a coach for the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate and it’s also worth noting that he already had a relationship with the Yankees front office— he served as a special assistant in 2014. The Yankees haven’t revealed what role they envision for Chavez, so it’s uncertain whether he would be a first-base coach, a hitting coach, or something else.
Yankees reportedly expressed interest in Tim Hyers
The Yankees were one of several teams that expressed interest in having Tim Hyers interview for a hitting coach job. Reportedly, multiple teams sought to hire him. On November 10th though, the Texas Rangers announced that they’d tabbed Hyers for the job. Hyers spent the last four years as the Red Sox hitting coach and his decision to leave Boston supposedly came as a surprise to the organization.
Every kid that grows up playing baseball in the South Bronx dreams of one day putting on the Pinstripes. Thankful to all that have helped & supported us on this amazing journey— Rob Benjamin (@riothitting) November 11, 2021
Excited to be joining @Yankees Player Development Team #SquadUp #ChampionshipCulture @NYYPlayerDev pic.twitter.com/fcfsDzLpk3
Other hires: Rob Benjamin and James Cooper join the organization
The Yankees have hired Rob Benjamin, a hitting coach with the Mariners minor league system since 2019, to work in player development. Benjamin has college coaching experience as well and is also a Bronx native.
James Cooper, who’s served as head baseball coach at Grambling State University for the past 12 years, has accepted a position in the Yankees’ minor league system. As a coordinator, Cooper will oversee baserunning and outfield instruction. Cooper was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 33rd round of the 2004 draft following his playing career at Grambling and has played a major role in recruiting and coaching a number of high-level players who have been drafted by MLB.