New Yankees bench coach Brad Ausmus answered every question thrown his way in his introductory Zoom news conference on Tuesday.
He did defer on one key one, though, when he was asked how his thought process might align with manager Aaron Boone and the Yankees’ front office.
“I think that's actually a better question for them,” Ausmus said. “They obviously offered me the job. So I think the question should be asked of them is, ‘Why Brad Ausmus?’ "
Why Brad Ausmus? Well, someone had to replace Carlos Mendoza, who left Boone’s side to become the Mets' manager.
Ausmus, the former Tigers and Angels manager, becomes Boone’s third bench coach. The first was Josh Bard, who like Mendoza had no managerial experience.
Ausmus has 656 games of managerial experience to go along with 18 seasons as a big-league catcher. So why Brad Ausmus?
Boone is entering the final year of his contract. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, who has not yet commented on the hiring of Ausmus, has never fired a manager in-season.
But until 2023, Cashman had never fired a coach in-season until he axed hitting coach Dillon Lawson in July. So if the Yankees get off to a slow start next season, Cashman now has two former managers as coaches in Ausmus and former-Mets skipper Luis Rojas, who was also reportedly considered for the bench coach job.
But those are all thoughts for another day that the Yankees hope doesn’t come in 2024.
Managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner, on Nov. 7, said of Boone: "I think he's a good manager. He's extremely intelligent. He's hard-working. The players respect him as a manager. They want to play for him and win for him. He's able to take all the information we throw his way."
For Ausmus, 54, it’s his second go-round as a bench coach. He had the role in 2022 for the A’s under rookie manager Mark Kotsay.
The A’s went 60-102. Ausmus left after the season to potentially scout out a new job. He didn’t find one, so he took 2023 off.
“This past summer I didn't do anything,” Ausmus said. “I got a little bit bored, to be honest with you. I enjoy the game. I enjoy the people, and there's no grander stage than New York City. I started with the Yankees when they drafted me out of high school . . . You know they're always looking to win a World Series. I've never won a World Series. So that ties in with the fact that I do know Boonie to some degree. Just seemed like a great fit and a great opportunity.”
Two footnotes to that: Ausmus was drafted by the Yankees, but never played for them in the majors before getting selected by Colorado in the 1992 expansion draft.
Also, Ausmus said he knows Boone from playing and managing against him. Boone once attended a Christmas party at Ausmus’ house. But other than that, the two baseball lifers will be getting to know each other as manager and bench coach starting in spring training.
Asked if he wants to one day manage again, Ausmus again deferred.
“Right now, I’m the bench coach for the Yankees,” he said. “So that’s all I’m concerned with.”