The Yankees’ search for a manager continues. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Yankees asked the Athletics for permission to interview skipper Bob Melvin, but the A’s denied them.
Melvin, 56, signed an extension with the Athletics at the end of September that will keep him in Oakland through 2019. Since being named interim manager in the middle of the 2011 season, Melvin has led the A’s to a 537-534 (.501) regular season record and three postseason appearances.
The Yankees decided not to bring back Joe Girardi to manage after the club lost in seven games to the Astros in the ALCS. GM Brian Cashman said that he wasn’t happy with Girardi’s ability to connect with younger players.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported that the Yankees also reached out to former Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, but Ausmus intends to take a year off from managing. Other candidates that the Yankees are considering include ESPN broadcaster and former player Aaron Boone, Giants bench coach Hensley Meulens, former Indians manager and current Blue Jays advisor of player development Eric Wedge, and former player Jerry Hairston Jr. YES Network broadcasters and former players David Cone and John Flaherty have also expressed interest in the managing job with the Yankees.
All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.
The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.
It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.
It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.
Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉