Well there's something I didn't expect to find out yesterday. Via George King, the Yankees have fired head hitting coach Jeff Pentland and bullpen coach Gary Tuck. Pentland confirmed this directly to King, saying “When I signed, I was told it was probably a one-year deal. That was always in the back of my mind, but we didn’t look too good the last month. It’s the Yankees, that’s the best way to describe it. I have no regrets.’’ Both Pentland and Tuck were told by Cash last week that they would not be brought back. This hardly comes as a surprise. The Yankees stumbled to the finish line this year after leading the division by 7 games in July, and they went out incredibly weakly in the Wild Card game. Cash and Girardi aren't going anywhere, it's not that easy to get rid of the players, so somebody had to take the fall. The Yankees scored the second most runs in MLB this season with 764, but the offense dropped off in the second half and really fell apart in September and October. And after a solid 3.45 team bullpen ERA in the first half, the Yanks dropped to 3.98 in the second and 5.15 in September, second worst in baseball. All of that could be easily attributed to injuries, fatigue, mechanical issues, bad luck, or natural regression to the mean, but instead Pentland and Tuck get the axe and we get to write about firings and start wondering about hirings.
King lays the groundwork nicely for that discussion, mentioning current assistant hitting coach Alan Cockrell, MiL hitting coaches James Rowson and Marcus Thames, and recent former Yankee Raul Ibanez as candidates to replace Pentland, and saying that Dave Magadan will not be considered. King also mentions former bullpen coach Mike Harkey, who was recently let go by the D'backs, as a possibility for Tuck's replacement.
It's unfortunate for Pentland and Tuck that they have to go, but the truth is that this will have little to no effect on next year's team. Coaches can't stop guys from getting banged up, they can't stop guys from getting older, and they can't do anything to help bad luck. Maybe the new hitting coach will be able to do a few things to help guys where Pentland couldn't, but there isn't a coach out there who's going to turn the Yankees into the well-rounded, consistent, always clutch offense that everybody wants them to be.