Last night Stephen Drew got thrown out at the plate in the fifth inning after being sent by third base coach Rob Thomson. It ended up being a crucial play because the bases were loaded and there were no outs. The next batter, Derek Jeter, lined out into a double play to end the threat when one run would have tied the game. The Yankees didn't challenge the Rays again and we were left spurned by Rob Thomson once again.
"Just a bad send. An error on my judgement. I take full responsibility for it. You know, we're all accountable around here, and it just wasn't a good decision. Nobody out, middle of the lineup coming to the plate. I've got to stop him there."
Take a look at the video with me. Cue it up to about 0:45 to get the replay.
I have the breakdown for you:
This is way too shallow of a hit to think that someone not named Brett Gardner could score on this.
He doesn't decide to send Drew until after Matt Joyce already has the ball. Drew isn't even particularly close to third base yet, so Thomson is basically giving Joyce a head start to home by deciding to send him now.
After looking at the video a few times, this seems to be the exact last moment Thomson could throw up a panicked stop sign, tell Drew to get back to the bag, and maybe he can slide back in safely while the fielder with the ball has to run back to third. Instead, he's just watching the play happen.
Instead, we get this. Rob Thomson knows Stephen Drew is doomed and he goes yeeeeeeeeeesh.
As we all know by now, this has been an ongoing issue all season long:
Yankees entered toinght with 20 outs made at home plate, the most in the AL.— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) September 10, 2014
It's well past time I declare that third base coach Rob Thomson needs to go. It's not every day the third base coach is a problem for a team, but with everything else going poorly for the Yankees right now, it's only fair that we call out the man who has sent a league-leading total of 21 men to their doom at home plate. And it's not just because of his insanity when it comes to sending runners.
Can anyone tell me what Rob Thomson actually does for this team? The coaching staff has their in-game assignments, but that's only one part of the overall package when it comes to what a coach contributes to the team. First base coach Mick Kelleher is also a noted infield instructor and we've heard stories about how he worked with Eduardo Nunez back in the minors and when he was on the major league team. He was also in charge of converting Stephen Drew into a second baseman. Bench coach Tony Pena is an ex-catcher and catching instructor, bullpen coach Gary Tuck is also considered to be one of the top catching instructors in baseball, having worked with Mike Piazza and Jason Varitek.
So what is it that Rob Thomson brings to the table? Apparently he's the Yankees outfield instructor, but what does that even entail? I doubt Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, or Ichiro Suzuki need much instructing these days and he didn't exactly convert Lyle Overbay or Zelous Wheeler into something other than a liability. He seems to be the Dave Eiland of the group, the guy that's around and you know what his job title is, but you don't hear much about what he exactly does. I can't remember ever hearing anything worthwhile from or about Dave Eiland. He was just there. So is Rob Thomson.
It's odd to see how the organization has kept him around all this time. He's been a third base coach since 1990 and somehow still can't send runners responsibly. He was a field coordinator in 1998, became the director of player development in 2000 and was even named vice president of minor league development by the 2003 season. What is he doing here. By 2004 he was back to coaching as a special assignment instructor and was Major League field coordinator in 2007 before joining Joe Girardi's staff.
In 2008, the organization spoke highly of Thomson, as if he was the next big thing. He worked with Derek Jeter in the minors, he had experience doing pretty much everything, and no one could say enough about how he earned the job. Brian Cashman even said "we all talk about the emergence of the young players on our roster, but we have an emergence of our coaching staff from the minors on this roster as well." One year later he was moved out to third base, so what happened? I'm not going to sit here and claim that he was demoted because we don't know for sure, but people don't usually go from coach to vice president and back to coach because they wanted to. Even if he's not necessarily the problem, there just seems to be someone who is always better than he is, so there has to be someone who can wave runners around third in a superior fashion, right?
Getting back to the most observable problem Thomson brings to the team, there's a reason we invented this meme:
I feel like I've been saying it, at least to myself, since last year, or maybe it's been since forever, I can't tell anymore. It's honestly ridiculous that the Yankees, really any major league team, is actually being hurt by their third base coach. But this is a terrible team, and losing 21 potential runs at the plate is not how you make it any better.