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Yankees promote Alan Cockrell, Marcus Thames; Capuano, Drew, Young become free agents

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It was a busy first day of no baseball in Yankeeland. The Yankees kicked the offseason off by promoting Alan Cockrell to hitting coach, replacing Jeff Pentland. They also promoted Marcus Thames to the big league club and will presumably work as the assistant hitting coach. Thames has worked with Yankees prospects over the last few seasons, and with Greg Bird, Aaron Judge, and Rob Refsnyder all coming through the pipeline, it makes sense to keep their coach–whom they all love–around to help their transition. Thames is still only 38, making it weird that Alex Rodriguez is actually two years older than his new hitting coach.

As for the rest of the coaching staff, there's no indication that Tony Pena and Rob Thomson (ugh) won't be back with the team in 2016. Joe Espada and Larry Rothschild will remain at their posts, but Gary Tuck will not be returning as bullpen coach, so look forward to the Yankees announcing one more addition to the coaching staff this offseason. After a stint as he pitching coach of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Mike Harkey has left the organization and could conceivably be brought back in his old role.

The day after the World Series marks the official start of free agency as Stephen Drew, Chris Young, and Chris Capuano have all been set free from the contracts for the winter. They won't be able to officially sign with other teams until Saturday, so the Yankees will have exclusive rights to negotiate with them until then. The only player among them who the team might be interested in bringing back is Chris Young, who might be in line for a raise over the one-year, $5 million contract he signed a year ago. The Yankees likely only want him back in the role he has served with them over the last year and a half, so if another team offers him a chance to start or multiple years, he's as good as gone. Even though they like him, it's doubtful that Stephen Drew will return for a third season in pinstripe.

To clear some space off the 40-man roster, the Yankees also outrighted Diego Moreno and Sergio Santos–who then opted for free agency instead of a minor league assignment. Other players who might on the chopping block include Austin Romine, Chris Martin, Chase Whitley, Domingo German (who they could look to then re-sign), and Andrew Bailey. At the moment the Yankees roster stands at 37 and will likely be cut down further.