The Yankees have fired pitching coach Larry Rothschild even though he would have been under contract for the 2020 season, the team announced Monday.
The move had first been foreshadowed by Buster Olney of ESPN on Twitter and was later confirmed by Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The team announced the move in a press release a few hours later.
“I want to personally thank Larry for his near decade of commitment to this organization. Larry cares deeply about his craft and the pitchers under his tutelage, and he played a significant role in our successes over the past nine seasons. There’s a reason why Larry has had the type of distinguished baseball career he’s had, and it starts with experience and dedication that is difficult to emulate.”Brian Cashman, Yankees Senior Vice President and General Manager (press release)
Rothschild was hired by the Yankees in 2011 after another eight-year stint with the Chicago Cubs. He also coached for Cincinnatti, Atlanta and Florida, while managing the Tampa Bay Devil Rays from their inaugural season in 1998 until 2001.
The move comes after several Yankees starters posted subpar seasons — with James Paxton (3.82 ERA) becoming the only regular member of the Yankees rotation to post an ERA below the 4.00 mark. Masahiro Tanaka (4.47) and J.A. Happ (5.01) are set to return to the organization next year, while CC Sabathia (4.99) is headed to a well-deserved retirement.
“Larry is someone I leaned on extensively over these past two years. I’m truly grateful that I had someone as established and loyal as Larry as I made my transition to the dugout. Seeing him work day after day, I have a deep appreciation for how devoted he was to his craft and how tirelessly he dove into his responsibilities. His distinguished career clearly reflects how highly he is regarded amongst his peers in baseball, and I wish him the very best moving forward.”Aaron Boone, Yankees manager (press release)
While the Yankees have been clear they do not believe starting pitching is what led to their ultimate downfall in the postseason, they have already made it a priority to take their pitching infrastructure to a new level.
Reporting from The Athletic‘s Lindsey Adler indicates the Yankees have already begun a wave of changes in the minor league ranks:
“The changes throughout the organization have been taking place over the course of the season. Danny Borrell, who spent 11 seasons working in the Yankees minor league system and the last five as their lead pitching coordinator, left to become the pitching coach at Georgia Tech. The Yankees then hired Sam Briend as their new director of pitching, a role that would have overseen Borrell. He was previously the director of player development at Driveline Baseball.
The Yankees also recently dismissed Scott Aldred, who was the pitching coordinator at the high-minors level. Other changes include: Tim Norton, pitching coach for the Double A Trenton Thunder; Gabe Luckert, pitching coach for the Low A Charleston RiverDogs; and Justin Pope, pitching coach for the Gulf Coast Yankees.
Tommy Phelps, the pitching coach for the Triple A RailRiders, was retained.”Lindsey Adler, The Athletic
Joel Sherman of the Post indicates the Yankees do not have a successor for Rothschild ready to go. He says the team “will go thru a process to find pitching coach successor”.
A brief search of Twitter shows no verified leads on where the Yankees will begin, so it’s anyone’s guess at this point. In her column, Adler makes the point that the Yankees have had success using two hitting coaches and wonders whether the Yankees will do so on the pitching side as well. She mentions the Mets use of Phil Regan as pitching coach and Jeremy Accardo as “pitching strategist” as a possible starting point for a Yankees pitching-coach tandem.
For what it’s worth, Rothschild was linked to the Philadelphia Phillies pitching coach job a few days before his firing by Philadelphia sportswriter Jim Salisbury. That would peg the 65-year-old for a reunion with ex-Yankees manager Joe Girardi, as the two overlapped in the Bronx from 2011 to 2017.