Brian Cashman meant what he said.
In discussing his reasons for letting Joe Girardi go, the Yankees’ general manager said he entered the process to replace him completely “open-minded” and would consider candidates with no managerial experience.
“It’s a very diverse list of people that I have an interest in talking with,” Cashman said Monday.
Aaron Boone certainly fits the bill. According to a report by ESPN, the former Yankees third baseman and current ESPN analyst has emerged as a candidate for the job. As of Friday, he had not been interviewed.
Eric Wedge, a far more traditional candidate in that he already has held two major-league managerial jobs, interviewed with the Yankees on Friday. Bench coach Rob Thomson is the only other candidate the Yankees publicly have acknowledged they have interviewed.
“I’m very comfortable with young ballplayers with a lot of ability at the big-league level,” Wedge said Friday afternoon of what makes him the best candidate for the job. “I’m very passionate about the game of baseball. I’m humble and resilient as well, and I think you have to have a certain level of toughness to be a big-league manager.”
Wedge, who will turn 50 on Jan. 27, is 774-846 in 10 years: 561-573 in seven seasons with Cleveland (2003-09) and 213-273 in three years with the Mariners (2011-13). He was named American League Manager of the Year in 2007 after going 96-66. In his lone playoff appearance, the 2007 Indians beat the Yankees in four games in the ALDS (including the infamous “midge game’’ involving Joba Chamberlain in Game 2) and blew a 3-1 ALCS lead to the Red Sox, losing Game 7 at Fenway Park. Wedge spent the last two seasons as a player development adviser with the Blue Jays.
“Obviously, managing in New York, it’s an entirely different situation altogether. I recognize that. I respect that,” Wedge said. “It’s on a different level here and that’s something I would look forward to being a part of.”
Thomson discussed his communication skills in his conference call, something Wedge mentioned as a strength of his as well, though he didn’t stress it the way Thomson did.
“I believe you can have a personal relationship with your players as well as a professional relationship,” Wedge said. “It takes a little bit more time, takes a little more effort, but I think it’s something that’s imperative.”
Boone, 44, retired after the 2009 season after a 12-year career in the big leagues that included 54 regular-season games with the Yankees in 2003 after a trade deadline deal.
Boone, of course, forever etched his name in franchise lore with his walk-off homer on Tim Wakefield’s first pitch in the bottom of the 11th inning to win Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS and put the Yankees in the World Series.
But Boone suffered a torn ACL playing pickup basketball during that offseason. That set the wheels in motion for the acquisition of a new third baseman — Alex Rodriguez.