It's been a little over a week since the Yankees announced that they were not bringing Kevin Long back as the team's hitting coach, and they've lost no time in searching for his replacement. They've interviewed several candidates in the meantime, and the final decision could come as soon as Tuesday.
There's no telling how many people the Yankees have interviewed for the position, but one of them was Dave Magadan, who has been the Texas Rangers hitting coach since 2013. Interestingly, he is still under contract with them for another year, but after the drama with Ron Washington the Rangers have reportedly given all of the coaching staff permission to talk to other clubs. Magadan previously served as hitting coach for the Padres and the Red Sox. As a player, he got his start with the Mets where he split his playing time between first and third base. After seven years with the Mets, he eventually ended up traveling around to a number of teams before his retirement. He hit .288/.390/.377 for his career. Magadan has also been in talks with the Mets, who are in the market for a hitting coach as well.
Chili Davis also interviewed with the Yankees, but ended up signing on to be the Red Sox new hitting coach on Sunday afternoon. Given that decision, it could be more likely that Magadan gets the job, though Magadan was told by the team that they would be interviewing a couple of other people, so the new hitting coach could be someone else that we have heard less about. Double-A Trenton hitting coach and former Yankee Marcus Thames was supposedly interviewing for the job, but nothing has been reported on him since October 11th and Sweeny Murti previously stated that Thames was not considered a candidate. Similarly, Jon Heyman suggested the Yankees had interest in former Rockies hitting coach Dante Bichette, a four-time All-Star slugger and a good friend of Joe Girardi, but nothing has been confirmed beyond rumors.
However, Murti did confirm that the club also interviewed 38-year-old internal roving instructor James Rowson for the job as well. Rowson only played four professional seasons, never cracking Double-A, but he later found success as a hitting guru, becoming the Yankees' minor league hitting coordinator from 2008 through 2011. He left to take a similar position with the Cubs in 2012, and he became the major league team's full-time hitting coach by midseason, when Rudy Jaramillo was fired. Rowson held the job for a year and a half before departing the team upon the firing of manager Dale Sveum, and in 2014, he returned to his old post as minor league hitting coordinator for the Yankees. Although a relative unknown, Murti noted that Rowson was "highly respected," so he could certainly get the job as well.
This is the first time that the Yankees have been in the market for a hitting coach in over seven years, as Kevin Long had retained the position since 2007. There's only so much the hitting coach can do to help the players, and the lineup did feature a significant number of older guys and guys who were nursing injuries (Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran), but there were also several players who underperformed (Brian McCann, Stephen Drew). While Long wasn't necessarily entirely to blame for the offensive woes this season, it does make sense to mix up the coaching staff just to see if things do improve. It feels like the offensive couldn't possibly perform worse in 2015, regardless of the coaching staff, so there's that.
Would you prefer to see the team sign Magadan or Rowson as the new hitting coach, or would you like to see someone else entirely get the job?