Yankees Ink Deal With Familiar Face, Considering Bench Coach Options

Yankees Coaching

James Rowson was hired Monday as the Yankees newest hitting coach after spending a year in Detroit, as reported by Bryan Hoch. This change comes after the Yankees finished second-to-worst in the majors in batting average in 2023. He is preceded by Sean Casey, who informed the team shortly after the season ended that he did not plan to return to the team in 2024, citing familial commitments.

The New York Yankees began the 2023 season with Dillon Lawson, who was fired at the All-Star break after 1.5 seasons as hitting coach. This was New York’s first in-season coaching change since Nardi Contreras replaced Billy Connors as pitching coach in July 1995.

Rowson was the hitting coach of Class A Tampa during 2006-07 and was the Yankees’ minor league hitting coordinator from 2008-11 and 2014-16. During his latest stint with the ballclub, he developed a strong relationship with Yankees captain Aaron Judge.

After working within the Yankees’ farm system, Rowson spent time developing hitters for the Chicago Cubs and Minnesota Twins and was the Miami Marlins’ bench coach from 2020 to 22. Rowson made his final stop in Detroit and once again spent a year serving in the hitting coach role.

James Rowson is a native of Mount Vernon, New York, and played in the minor league system of the Seattle Mariners (1995-96) and the Yankees (1997) and then spent his final year playing independent ball for the Cook County Cheetahs of the Heartland League (1998).

I’d like you to please watch below to catch a glimpse of Rowson’s coaching philosophy regarding hitting during an interview with Fox Sports’ Roy Smalley. This conversation occurred while Rowson was with the Twins in 2019; the team finished with a 101-61 record and had .270/.338/.494 splits that year.

More Coaching Changes Coming

Photos by  Michael Zagaris, New York Yankees, & Ethan Kassel

The Yankees are now looking to fill their bench coach role after Carlos Mendoza was hired as the next manager of the New York Mets. Mendoza spent four years with the Yankees organization as the bench coach.

The team is looking at several names with prior experience coaching at a major league level.

According to The Athletic, the Yankees are considering former Brad Ausmus and Luis Rojas for their bench coach vacancy. Former Yankees pitcher Andrew Bailey is also in the running for the job. Ausmus managed the Detroit Tigers (2014-2017) and Los Angeles Angels (2019) for five seasons combined but has only reached the postseason once. Rojas has spent the past two seasons as the Yankees’ third base coach after he was fired as the manager of the Mets after two seasons

Bailey pitched for eight seasons in the major leagues and has been the San Francisco Giants’ pitching coach for the last four seasons. He has notably worked closely with Carlos Rodón, who struggled mightily during his first season in the Bronx.

David Ross was recently let go as the Cubs’ manager in favor of Craig Counsell and was also a target for the bench coach role. However, conversations were halted after he expressed an interest in pursuing other managing opportunities.

Photo by KXAN/NBC

No reports suggest that the Yankees are looking to replace Aaron Boone, who has been the Yankees’ manager since 2018. He has compiled a record of 509-361, finishing 1st in the AL East during two of his six years managing the team. Boone most recently finished his worst year with the Yankees, compiling a record of 82-80 and finishing 4th in the division, missing the postseason for the first time in his managerial career.

Jacob P.M.

Covering the New York Yankees - Find me on X/Twitter: @JacobBSpeaks

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