The 2017 season has yet to begin but New York Yankees fans already have their sites set on the future.
This year will be one of rebuilding for the organization. Sure, names like Aroldis Chapman and Matt Holliday will help keep things interesting, but let’s be real: this season is all about seeing what the young players can bring to the table at the major league level and figure out which prospects will be a part of the new era of pinstripes.
Fans are eager to see what Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, Aaron Judge, and Luis Severino — amongst others — can do in a full season in the Bronx. They’re also looking forward to watching top prospects like Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier, James Kaprielian, Chance Adams, and Justus Sheffield take their talents to the next level.
The 2017 season will be interesting but it’s 2018 and beyond that has many thinking the Yankees can be the next Chicago Cubs. But that interest may trend upwards even further as the speculation begins on who will manage the Baby Bombers.
Joe Girardi will be leading the charge this season. But with his contract expiring at year’s end, the front office may look to move on from their head coach of 10 years.
And that’s where Alex Rodriguez can come into play.
Speaking to the media on Thursday, principal owner Hal Steinbrenner spoke glowingly about Rodriguez and how his role may expand in the near future.
“Absolutely,” Steinbrenner said of giving Rodriguez more duties.”We haven’t talked about that. Obviously he’s been doing some broadcasting as well and he’s got other things going on in his life. But, look, the more he’s involved, he’s actually tremendous with the young players. Always has been. We are going to continue talking about different ways he can be involved.”
Of course, some may say it’s a reach that those comments alone mean A-Rod could become the Yankees manager.
But when there’s smoke, there’s fire.
It’s nearly impossible to undermine what Girardi has done ever since returning to the organization back in 2008. His 819 career wins are the sixth-most in Yankees history, placing him ahead of popular coaches like Billy Martin. While his lone World Series ring is impressive, it could be argued that never finishing below .500 — despite having a number of lackluster talents play in meaningful games — is Girardi’s greatest feat.
But sometimes new blood is needed. And with the Yankees sticking with their youth, it could be argued that 2018 would be the right time to change the guard.
Who better than Rodriguez to do so?
Throughout his time with the organization, Rodriguez has been noted as a player that did everything in his power to help younger players. That was highlighted on a grand stage once Derek Jeter retired; not only did A-Rod take the reigns as one of the leaders of the clubhouse, but Didi Gregorius, Nathan Eovaldi, and Starlin Castro have praised Rodriguez for helping them adjust to New York — both on and off the field.
And that’s exactly why he’s still with the organization. Sure, Steinbrenner wanted to justify paying Rodriguez $21 million after forcing him into retirement in August. But he always realized that if A-Rod can help Gregorius, Eovaldi, and Castro, he can work wonders with Frazier, Torres, Jorge Mateo, Miguel Andujar, and Blake Rutherford.
Don’t forget about Rodriguez’s love for the game, too. He’s taken a number shots for some of the things he’s done on the field but no one has ever questioned his knowledge of the sport. A true savant, his affection for baseball was on display during the postseason as Rodriguez worked as an analyst for FOX.
Former teammate Andrew Miller also believes managing could be A-Rod’s calling.
“I’ve been blown away by Alex Rodriguez,” Miller told FanGraphs. “Does he have any desire to manage in the major leagues? He’s made something like $400 million in his career, so maybe not. But the way he sees the game has blown me away. You hear our hitters talk about his insights, whether it’s pitch sequencing or lineup matters. Whatever it may be, Alex has a really advanced grasp.”
Hal has hardly resembled his father George but hiring Rodriguez would mirror a move The Boss would make.
And with the potential of another dynasty on the horizon, it would be fitting to see Rodriguez — one of the most polarizing figures in team history — leading the charge.