Just over a week after being eliminated in the American League Wild Card game the Yankees announced that they would not be retaining hitting coach Marcus Thames among others.
Assistant hitting coach P.J. Pilittere and third base coach Phil Kevin were also let go.
Thames was the hitting coach for many successful Yankees offenses from 2017 through 2020, but the group regressed in 2021 and it seems as that plays in a part in his departure. The Yankees were 19th in runs scored and led the league in double plays hit into during the 2021 season.
The assistant hitting coach Pilittere was drafted by the organization in 2004 and had been in the organization ever since, and he got rave reviews by former players like Phil Hughes in response to his departure.
Some organization is getting a good one https://t.co/ojnFxQS4zV
— Phil Hughes (@PJHughes45) October 14, 2021
Nevin was well-liked among players and in the fanbase for being known as someone who always stood up for his team, but after a controversial send that got Aaron Judge thrown out at home plate in the Wild Card game and with the Yankees being tied for the most runners thrown out at home in 2021 he is not being retained as well.
— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) October 6, 2021
It should be noted that Nevin missed significant time this season battling with COVID-19 so not all of those outs are his fault, and many of those outs were also decisions made by the Yankees to run on contact as well. So not all of those outs are bad sends by Nevin.
Nevin was someone who was known to have more of the “straight to the point” hard talks with players, so it is likely the Yankees will seek another personality like that to fill some of these now vacant coaching roles.
Given the way the Yankees went deep into the numbers with pitching coach Matt Blake it would not be a surprise to see them go the data-driven route with the new hitting coach as well.
As for manager Aaron Boone it is reported that the Yankees are still undecided on whether he will return, but it seems more likely than not that he will return. The one thing to consider is that his contract is up, and the Yankees seem like they want to be in control of the hires that are made to the rest of the staff. A guy like Nevin is one of Boone’s best friends in baseball. Would Boone want to return if he does not have control over the rest of the coaching staff?
The main concern with all of the recent reports coming out recently is the one that claims owner Hal Steinbrenner does not blame the coaches or front office, he blames the players more than anything. This fanbase wants changes, and if they hear that the organization thinks the players were the problem, then they will want roster changes that reflect that opinion.
With the Yankees resetting the luxury tax and many flaws present on their roster, especially on the infield, they can not expect coaching changes alone to fix the team heading into 2022. At the end of the day the players are responsible for the performance, and it was clear some of the players on the 2021 team were not as good as the fans and front office expected. It is nice to see that the Yankees will be making changes after a disappointing 2021 season, but roster changes will be the most important aspect of this offseason.
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