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Yankees fire hitting coach Jeff Pentland and bullpen coach Gary Tuck

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In a bit of a surprising move, it was revealed that two Yankees coaches from their first postseason team in three years won't be back.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The first ax has fallen for the Yankees' second half struggles. Hitting coach Jeff Pentland and bullpen coach Gary Tuck will not be back with the team in 2016, as their contracts have been let go. This was Pentland's first year in the Yankees organization after the Yankees fired longtime hitting coach Kevin Long following two years of disappointment, but Tuck had been involved with the franchise in various capacities since 1990, though he did make a couple forays outside the organization to Florida and Boston.

The Yankees hit the fourth-most homers in baseball with 212 bombs, and all of Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and Carlos Beltran had comeback years at the plate. However, it got ugly in the second half as the team fell into a malaise, particularly after Teixeira broke his leg. A-Rod was worn down in the second half, and the constant offensive failures of Jacoby Ellsbury, Chase Headley, Stephen Drew, and second half Brett Gardner were thrust into the spotlight. Similarly, the bullpen did not look as sharp in the second half, save for closer Andrew Miller and lefty Justin Wilson. Dellin Betances became a bit more wild, Chasen Shreve completely fell apart, and none of the other arms who stepped in provided much support, save for normal starter Adam Warren. The Yankees' offense and bullpen, their biggest first-half strengths, became serious question marks at the most important time of the season.

It's always nigh-impossible for fans to truly quantify how big of a role the coaches play in the team's performance, so in most cases, it's best to defer to the team's judgment. Apparently, Pentland was only on a one-year contract, so the team simply decided not to retain him:

"When I signed, I was told it was probably a one-year deal. That was always in the back of my mind, but we didn’t look too good the last month. It’s the Yankees, that’s the best way to describe it. I have no regrets.’’

Jason also noted in a post last week that Tuck had an option in his contract, so it's possible that he simply did not want to return, though we have no way of knowing right now.

Assistant hitting coach Alan Cockrell's job seems safe; perhaps the team wanted the 69-year-old to serve as a nice mentor for him. The franchise also appears to really like the work that former slugger Marcus Thames has done in the minors with Triple-A Scranton and Double-A Trenton. Maybe a promotion is in order, and that took priority over retaining Pentland. Or maybe they want to bring the now-retired hitting guru Jason Giambi aboard! How about "A-Rod, DH/assistant hitting coach?" I kinda love both ideas.

Former bullpen coach Mike Harkey, who took a job as the Diamondbacks' pitching coach after the 2013 season, was recently fired from that capacity. The door could be set up for a return, but who knows. Tuck worked for a long time as a catching instructor, too, so that is another void to fill. Roman Rodriguez was the team's bullpen catcher, so perhaps that is a role he fills.

Either way, Joe Girardi's coaching staff is going to have a different look to it in 2016. Hopefully it leads to more success.