Yankees hitting coach Sean Casey and manager Aaron Boone observe...

Yankees hitting coach Sean Casey and manager Aaron Boone observe batting practice before an MLB game against the Royals at Yankee Stadium on July 21. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

No less than Aaron Judge expressed his wishes regarding Sean Casey at season’s end.

“He’s been a great addition,” the rightfielder said on Oct. 1 in Kansas City. “Hopefully, he stays.”

Casey will not, making that announcement on his “Mayor’s Office” podcast, which was released Wednesday morning. 

Casey, who took over for the fired Dillon Lawson at the All-Star break, cited family reasons for not wanting to return. It was a message he first delivered to the Yankees organization, including GM Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone, his close friend, before disclosing it on his podcast. 

“[Boone] and I had talked about coming back next year and what that would look like,” Casey said on the podcast. “Before any offer could be exchanged, I just told him that I’m not going to be able to come back, just because I’ve got my two daughters at home. My daughter Jillian is 13, my daughter Carli is 17. I think also, getting divorced a few years ago, I had those girls 50 percent of the time.”

He added: “I just can’t imagine being away for eight months [during the season] while they’re here in Pittsburgh. I just decided to get back to what I was doing before I joined the Yankees.”

The Yankees’ offense overall did not show much improvement under Casey’s direction, though DJ LeMahieu notably did flourish in the second half. LeMahieu, like Judge and plenty of others across the clubhouse, were not critical of Lawson, who never played in the majors. But there had been a growing desire in the clubhouse for big-league experience, or at least someone who had a hands-on understanding of the difficulty of hitting at that level. 

The Yankees in recent years generally have not made big-league experience, whether it be playing or coaching, a priority in their coaching hires. That has been the case not only with the major-league staff but throughout the minor leagues.  

And at the big-league level it was becoming a concern in the clubhouse. 

It was not a coincidence that more than a few hitters would seek out one of Lawson’s assistant hitting coaches in 2022, Hensley Meulens, and then Brad Wilkerson this season, for guidance. Both Meulens, the Rockies' hitting coach this past season, and Wilkerson played in the majors.

“Just great, positive energy, a great guy and a good guy to talk hitting with,” LeMahieu said of Casey, who hit .302 over 12 major-league seasons. “He was a really good hitter himself. I just enjoy talking the game with him . . . just talking the game, it’s been a help.” 

Lawson replaced Marcus Thames — also very popular among players — before the 2022 season. Lawson was entirely a product of the Yankees’ powerful analytics department, which has decision-making sway over pretty much every aspect of the organization. He was the club’s minor-league hitting coordinator from 2018-21. 

The Yankees are still in the early stages of their organizational review in diagnosing how and why the 2023 season crashed and burned as it did. Who replaces Casey is among many interesting winter moves to come showing the degree, if any, of organizational process and philosophy.   

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