The Mayor’s tenure with the New York Yankees is over: Hitting coach Sean Casey will not return to the team next season, he announced on his podcast, “The Mayor’s Office,” on Wednesday. Here’s what you need to know:
- Casey spent half the 2023 season with the Yankees, who hired him in early July after firing Dillon Lawson.
- The 49-year-old Casey joined a struggling Yankees team that finished the season 82-80 and missed the playoffs for the first time in seven years.
- Casey played 12 MLB seasons, earning three All-Star selections with the Cincinnati Reds. He had most recently worked as an analyst for MLB Network at the time of his hiring.
What did Casey say?
“Bone and I have talked about coming back next year and what that would look like,” Casey said. “I told him I wouldn’t be able to come back next year.”
Casey explained that he did not want to be away from his two teenage daughters, who live in Pittsburgh, for eight months a year while he was in New York. He went on to add that working with the Yankees was “one of the best experiences of my entire life.”
Analysis of Casey’s stint as hitting coach
The main reason the Yankees hired Casey in the middle of this offseason is because of his ability to connect with players. The veterans in particular enjoyed Casey’s positivity and wanted him back in that role next season. At the end of the season, Casey implied that the Yankees’ front office told him they wanted him back, too.
But the Yankees’ offense did not improve under Casey’s watch. The Yankees went from a 96 wRC+ under Lawson this season before he was fired to a 92 wRC+ under Casey. Their OPS dropped from .711 under Lawson to .688 with Casey, and they scored just 3.85 points per game with Casey compared to 4.4 points under Lawson.
Casey didn’t have a lot of familiarity with the analytics the Yankees used when he was hired, and if the team is going to move toward analytics moving forward, it would make sense to hire someone who has good communication skills but also understands how to implement team data. -Chris Kirshner, Yankees staff writer
While Casey was undoubtedly appreciated by everyone who met him for his energy, positivity, and experience playing in the majors — especially by the likes of DJ LeMahieu, Anthony Rizzo, and Aaron Judge, among others — there was some disconnect between Casey’s teachings and those of Casey. The curriculum taught in the Yankees’ minor leagues, according to several sources inside and outside the organization. Those sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to speak freely, noted how the Yankees will continue to preach in the minor leagues the style Lawson developed.
Lawson’s tendency was, essentially, to emphasize the idea of hitting the ball hard in the air and along with the drag, and his methods were to lead to the relatively rapid rise of top prospects: Jason Dominguez, Oswald Peraza, Anthony Volpe, and Iverson. Pereira and Osvaldo Cabrera. But they were not directly aligned with Casey’s philosophies, which included working on deeper numbers and emphasizing hitting right-center field, among other things, and some questioned whether the separation contributed somewhat to the second-half struggles of many of the rookies.
Also, some in the organization wondered whether Casey — who had not coached before taking the Yankees job — would be best suited to develop a new organizational hitting philosophy, if the Yankees moved away from Lawson’s methods in the minors. On his podcast, Casey said he believes he would have been able to return to the Yankees if he wanted, even though the team has not made him an official offer. Another high-ranking team source said the Yankees’ willingness to keep Casey was likely correct, but it was unclear exactly what his job responsibilities would entail next season. — Brendan Cote, Yankees staff writer
(Photo: Brett Davis/USA Today)
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