New York Yankees: Tony Pena Should Be Next In Line

After ten seasons as manager, the New York Yankees and Joe Girardi officially parted ways on Thursday. In his ten seasons, Girardi compiled a record of 910-710, the best record in baseball over that span, and helped lead them to a World Series title in 2009. Girardi’s departure has been a popular topic of discussion throughout much of the year but Thursday’s announcement still came as a shock to many.

There’s so much that can be said about Girardi’s time with the Yankees and whether not bringing him back was the correct decision. However, the most immediate task at hand is finding the next captain to man the ship. Finding the “perfect” successor to a long-term manager is never an easy process. Brian Cashman and the Yankees will likely be looking for someone who already has a relationship with the organization, can handle and blend well with a very young group of guys, and are savvy in the analytical department.

Cashman has a history of sticking with who he knows and not going out and buying the best man available. A few in-house candidates that come to mind are third base coach Joe Espada, first base coach Tony Pena, pitching coach Larry Rothschild, and Triple-A manager Al Pedrique. My favorite of the bunch is former Manager of the Year, Tony Pena.

Pena meets most of the criteria Cashman will be looking for when picking the New York Yankees next manager. He’s been with the team since 2005 where he has spent time doing just about everything. He’s had multiple stints as first base coach, was the bench coach from 2009 to 2014 and spent many games as acting manager after umpires ejected Girardi.

What puts Pena ahead of the rest is his experience. Not only has he grown as a coach in the Yankees organization but he also has prior managerial experience. He managed the Kansas City Royals from 2002 to 2005 and even won the AL Manager of the Year award in 2003. Pena also managed the 2013 Dominican Republic team in the World Baseball Classic, a team that didn’t lose a game throughout the entire tournament.

What I find most important is Pena’s connection with the young guys that make up today’s Yankees. He has worked with the team long enough to develop relationships with everyone on the roster and for many of them, Pena has been there for most of their careers. Playing under someone you’re comfortable with is a huge part of finding success. The Yankees had one of the most fun, laid-back teams in franchise history in 2017 and it paid off.

Cashman interviewed three people for the manager position back in 2007, Girardi, Don Mattingly, and Pena. He’s already showed he has faith in Pena and we could see that manifest even more with a promotion to manager. There are plenty of deserving candidates within the organization, and even a few outside of it, but I think Tony Pena would be the best fit on the current New York Yankees team.

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