The addition of Carlos Beltran’s name infuses an intriguing twist into the New York Yankees’ protracted managerial search.
The former star outfielder, who recently retired at 40 after helping the Houston Astros win the World Series, is scheduled to interview on Wednesday, according to several news media reports. Beltran brings many of the qualities general manager Brian Cashman has outlined for the position, especially the ability to connect with young players and handle the unique challenges New York presents.
Of course, there’s also the matter of taking the most prominent and high-pressured managerial job in the majors with not a whit of experience at the helm, or even as a coach. That figures to be Beltran’s biggest liability, thought it may not be a huge issue for Cashman, who has said he’s seeking a “fresh voice.’’
It's been more than a month since the Yankees parted with Joe Girardi. Clearly, they're not in a hurry to fill the job, but that should come next month - one would assume. Here’s a look at the six confirmed candidates for the job, with more likely to come:
Beltran: His influence with players, especially youngsters, cannot be overstated, and it could be a major plus when taking over a club that features a nucleus full of relative newcomers like Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird and Pedro Severino.After the shell-shocked Astros were swept at Yankee Stadium during the middle three games of the American League Championship Series, it was Beltran who restored their confidence with a chat that reminded them how good they were. The Astros took the next two games at home on the way to their first title. Young foundation players like Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman swore by him.
As a former Yankee and Met, as well as a year-round resident of the city, Beltran is well versed in the demands of New York and its voracious media. The native of Puerto Rico is also bilingual, an asset in communicating with Latin players, and his stature as a nine-time All-Star and potential Hall of Famer resonates with current players.
Hensley Meulens: The San Francisco Giants’ batting coach for the last eight years, Meulens, a k a Bam-Bam, was promoted to bench coach this offseason and is viewed in some quarters as a possible eventual successor to manager Bruce Bochy.
Meulens, who speaks five languages and has an excellent rapport with the media, managed the Netherlands team to two extended runs in the World Baseball Classic and is revered in his native Curacao for his work promoting baseball in the island. A former Yankees outfielder, Meulens, 50, also has experience managing in winter ball in Venezuela.
Oh, and he’s the Dutch equivalent of a knight, after being presented the Royal Decoration of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 2012.
Woodward, 41, was the Los Angeles Dodgers’ third base and infield coach the last two seasons, reaching the NLCS in 2016 and the World Series this year. Before that he coached first base for the Mariners in 2015.
Much like Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, Woodward carved out a long big-league career mostly from moxie and grit, playing every position but pitcher and catcher after being a 54th-round draft pick out of high school.
Aaron Boone: Another outside-the-box candidate like Beltran, Boone is best remembered in New York for the 11th-inning home run that won Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS against the Boston Red Sox, sending the Yankees to the World Series.
His managerial credentials mostly stem from having played 12 years as in infielder in the majors and being part of a legendary baseball family, with his grandfather (Ray Boone), father Bob and brother Bret also having distinguished careers. Bob managed six years in the big leagues, but Aaron has not even coached.
Aaron Boone, 44, has been an analyst for ESPN since 2010 and joined the network’s Sunday night broadcast crew in 2016.
Eric Wedge: By far the most experienced candidate on the list, Wedge led the Cleveland Indians to the 2007 AL Central Division title and the ALCS as part of his seven-year stint with the club. He also managed the Seattle Mariners from 2011-2013, compiling a 213-273 record there.
Wedge, 49, hasn’t managed at any level since resigning from the Mariners, later blasting their front office for its “total dysfunction and lack of leadership.’’ He worked as an analyst for ESPN from 2014-15 and served as a player-development adviser for the Toronto Blue Jays the last two years.
Rob Thomson: A member of the Yankees organization for 28 years and most recently the bench coach of fired manager Girardi, Thomson was the first candidate to interview to replace his old boss.
Thomson, 54, has kept a low profile but knows the organization well, having worked in uniform as well as in player development.
The Canada native had kept his managerial ambitions to himself until Girardi was dismissed on Oct. 26 and appears to be a longshot for the job. His one season of managerial experience came at Class A in 1995.