Yankees to promote Alan Cockrell to hitting coach; add Marcus Thames to major league staff

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After firing hitting coach Jeff Pentland last month, the Yankees are staying in-house for his replacement.

According to George A. King III of the New York Post, the Yankees are expected to promote Alan Cockrell to hitting coach while officially adding former major league outfielder Marcus Thames to the major league staff as an assistant. Cockrell was hired as the assistant hitting coach last offseason. Thames has worked in the Yankees’ minor league system for the past three seasons and served as Triple-A hitting coach in 2015.

The hitting coach job has become a revolving door for the Yankees, who hired Pentland last offseason after firing Kevin Long. New York’s offense faded during the second half this season, so Pentland ultimately took the fall for the dropoff. Cockrell will hope for a better fate.

Report: Yankees could be in on Nolan Arenado

Nolan Arenado
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The Yankees appear to have moved on from free agent Manny Machado this winter, but could they be turning their attention to Rockies superstar Nolan Arenado? That’s the idea floated by Andy Martino of SNY, who hears that GM Brian Cashman has been involved in recent discussions concerning the third baseman. No official comments have been made to the press yet, though, and it’s not clear whether the Yankees would prefer to pursue Arenado prior to the 2019 season or partway through it.

The 27-year-old infielder earned his fourth consecutive All-Star nomination, Silver Slugger, and Gold Glove award in 2018 after slashing .297/.374/.561 with 38 home runs, a .935 OPS, and 5.7 fWAR across 673 plate appearances. There’s no question he’s provided immense value to Colorado’s lineup over the last half-decade, and his consistency and incredible power at the plate helped form the basis of the record $30 million arbitration figure he presented to the team last week. The Rockies countered at $24 million, however, and in doing so may have jeopardized their chances of convincing the infielder to forego free agency in 2020 and take a long-term deal instead.

Assuming he declines to negotiate an extension with the Rockies, Arenado’s decorated résumé and career-best 2018 numbers should attract plenty of interest around the league — a reality that could put considerable pressure on the Yankees (or any other interested party) to finesse a deal sooner rather than later. For now, the club is prepared to enter the 2019 season with hot-hitting third baseman Miguel Andújar, whom Martino speculates would be the “centerpiece” of any trade with Colorado.