The holiday shopping season has kicked into high gear, and so has the Yankees’ search for their next manager, with general manager Brian Cashman and his lieutenants reopening the Yankee Stadium offices on Monday morning following their Thanksgiving break.
The Yanks have interviewed five as potential replacements for Joe Girardi, and managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner has said that fewer than 10 candidates are expected to be entertained in all.
Cashman said that the team does not necessarily need to fill the Majors’ only managerial vacancy before the Winter Meetings, which begin Dec. 10 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Nor does it necessarily have to fill the position by Christmas or New Year’s Day, though it would be ideal if it could.
Here is a rundown of the five candidates who have been called to Yankee Stadium thus far, each having participated in a five-to-six-hour interview process that included a conference call with the Yankees’ beat reporters:
Interview No. 1: Rob Thomson, 54, current Yankees bench coach
Credentials: Thomson has been in the organization for 28 seasons, including 10 on the big league coaching staff. A former Minor League catcher and third baseman who is well liked by the Yanks’ players, Thomson’s last managerial post came in 1995, when he took over as the skipper at Class A Short-Season Oneonta. He was a candidate for the Blue Jays’ managerial opening in October 2010.
He said it: “I am a new voice. I am a fresh voice. As much as I respect Joe, everybody is a little bit different. They have different ways of going about their business. One of my strengths is the trust that the players have in me, I believe, and I think that’s one of the things that kind of stands out.”
Interview No. 2: Eric Wedge, 49, current Blue Jays field coordinator
Credentials: Wedge has managed both the Indians and Mariners over 10 seasons, compiling a 774-846 record. After playing in 39 games as a catcher for the Red Sox and Rockies from 1991-94, Wedge helmed the Tribe from 2003-09, defeating the Yankees in the ’07 American League Division Series.
He said it: “I’m very comfortable with young ballplayers with a lot of ability at the big league level. I’m very passionate about the game of baseball. I’m humble and resilient as well. I think you’ve got to have a certain level of toughness to be a big league manager and handle everything that goes along with that.”
Credentials: “Bam-Bam” helped San Francisco to three World Series rings in eight years as hitting coach, and he led the Netherlands to fourth-place finishes in the World Baseball Classic in 2013 and ’17. A native of Curacao, Meulens has worked with Didi Gregorius and can speak five languages, including Japanese. He was a highly regarded prospect with the Yankees in the late 1980s and early ’90s, hitting .220 in seven big league seasons.
He said it: “I was groomed to be a winner. In my career, I’ve won a bunch, and that never changes. Every day I come to the ballpark to win the game. Nothing against anybody else, but I have a drive for that. Also, I’ve been known to be a great communicator with guys because of my ability to speak different languages.”
Credentials: A third baseman who hit .263 over a 12-year big league career, Boone’s half-season with the Yanks included a memorable home run that clinched the 2003 AL Championship Series over the Red Sox. He does not have any pro managing or coaching experience, but his father, Bob, was a longtime big leaguer who managed the Royals (1995-97) and Reds (2001-03). His grandfather Ray and brother Bret also played in the Majors.
He said it: “Obviously, experience is very valuable and should be a checkmark for somebody. But I would also say, in a way, I’ve been preparing for this job for my entire life. I’m 44 years old now, I’ve been going to the ballpark since I was 3 and 4 years old and in a way managing the game from a very young age.”
Credentials: Woodward played 12 seasons in the Majors, including two (2005-06) with the Mets. He attended Spring Training with the Yankees in ’08. Woodward was the Mariners’ Minor League infield coordinator before accepting his current position with Los Angeles, and he managed New Zealand in the ’17 World Baseball Classic qualification tournament.
He said it: “I really value culture and process and all the things that kind of separate great teams from mediocre ones. I’d love the opportunity, obviously, to manage the Yankees. If you want to manage, managing this team obviously would be a dream come true. I really admire everything this organization has done. It’d be a huge honor.”