NEW YORK — The Yankees are in need of a hitting coach again.
That’s because Sean Casey will not return to the job in 2023. The 49-year-old made the announcement Wednesday on his podcast, “The Mayor’s Office.”
Casey cited family reasons, as he has two teenage daughters in Pittsburgh. After getting divorced a few years ago, he noted that he “has them 50 percent of the time.”
“I just can’t imagine being away for eight months in New York while they’re here in Pittsburgh,” Casey said before reflecting fondly on his short stint as the Yankees’ hitting coach. “That whole experience was one of the best experiences of my life. Being able to wear the pinstripes was actually a dream come true. Brian Cashman was incredible. That whole coaching staff was great.”
Casey went on to praise Hal Steinbrenner, Yankees fans, players and getting to call Yankee Stadium his office.
“I have all pros, no cons,” he said.
Casey, who did not immediately return a phone call from the New York Daily News, added that while the Yankees did not extend an official offer to return, he believes he would have been welcomed back. He also didn’t rule out coaching again down the road.
“It was a tough decision for me,” Casey said. “There was no offer made, but I do think I could have come back had I wanted to. The time right now is not perfect for me. We’ll see what happens in the next few years here.
“I could see myself getting back in the dugout one day, no doubt about it.”
Casey was working as an MLB Network analyst when he joined the Yankees during the All-Star break this season. He came aboard after the team fired Dillon Lawson, who oversaw an abysmal — but injury-plagued — first-half offense. At the time, it was made known that Casey’s contract was only for the rest of the season and that he and the Yankees would reevaluate things during the offseason.
A first baseman for 12 years, Casey came with major league playing experience that Lawson did not have. Casey also had a preexisting friendship with manager Aaron Boone, as they played together in Cincinnati.
While the Yankees’ overall offense didn’t improve much statistically under Casey, he had the disadvantage of joining the team midseason. Lawson’s philosophies, meanwhile, had already been taught at all levels of the organization.
However, players, Boone and Cashman raved about Casey’s energetic coaching style and improvements in the communication department following Lawson’s dismissal.
“I think he’s come in here and had an awesome impact on this team,” Boone said of Casey on the final day of the season. “I know he’s gonna now get away and see what’s next for him. Those will all be conversations that we have in the upcoming days and weeks and where we want to go with it. Obviously, Sean’s gotta have those conversations, too. The one thing I can say is he’s been a breath of fresh air for us coming in here. I do think he’s done a really nice job for us.”’
Players like DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge — whose toe injury contributed to the Yankees’ offensive woes at times — also endorsed Casey as a coach.
“Sean’s been great,” Judge said before the season came to an end. “He brings a different philosophy. I think he brings a positive attitude to help guys stay locked in on their at-bats. We’ve got all the numbers, we’ve got all the information. It’s just about when you step in the box, feeling like you’re the greatest hitter on the planet by the time you step into the box. He’s been a great addition. Hopefully, he stays. We’ll see what happens.”
Ultimately, Judge did not get his wish. And for all the positive reviews Casey garnered, his arrival didn’t help the Yankees turn things around enough to make the playoffs, though they did play better in September.
Now the Yankees find themselves searching for yet another hitting coach as they look to return to the playoffs next season. For what it’s worth, Casey believes the team will be just fine without him next year.
“They’ll be back next season, 2024,” Casey said. “You can book that.”