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Yankees start offseason by firing pitching coach
Those marquee moves should happen soon enough. No, the first order of business in the Bronx was to fire pitching coach Dave Eiland on general manager Brian Cashman’s first day at the office after a disappointing loss to the Texas Rangers in the American League championship series.
Cashman said the reason for letting Eiland go after his third year on the job was private, but insisted it had nothing to do with the Yankees’ poor performance in the ALCS _ New York had a 6.58 ERA in the series.
Eiland guided a staff with five pitchers who had at least 10 wins this season. The bullpen had a 3.47 ERA, third-lowest in the AL. But he was away from the team for almost all of June for an undisclosed personal matter. Bullpen coach Mike Harkey filled in for Eiland when he was away.
“He’s a terrific pitching coach. He should have no trouble getting a job,” Cashman said. “He knows what he’s doing, but as we move forward we’re making a change.”
Eiland started his playing career with the Yankees and just completed his eighth season as a coach in the organization.
“There is little doubt the impact he had on a great number of pitchers during his tenure,” Girardi said in a statement. “He was a passionate and knowledgeable pitching coach on the major league level, and he played a valuable role in our team’s achievements in recent years.”
Thoughts about a new pitching coach _ and the status of the rest of the coaching staff _ will have to wait until the manager is re-signed.
Cashman will meet with Girardi’s agent on Tuesday for what he hopes will be a quick process to bring the manager back after his $7.8 million, three-year contract expires on Halloween. Both sides have expressed a desire to continue the relationship.
Girardi is 287-199 with New York, winning the 2009 World Series title after the Yankees missed the playoffs in ‘08, his first season as Joe Torre’s replacement, for the first time since 1993.
“I love being here. I’ve love working here,” Girardi said. “I want to be back. I hope it gets done quickly.”
That would give him more time to work on some pressing issues before the start of spring training.
Girardi and Cashman each stressed pitching as an offseason priority, but neither mentioned the most coveted free-agent-to-be, Cliff Lee, who has beaten the Yankees three times in the last two postseasons.
“I’m sure we’ll definitely look at the free-agent market pitchers and make some evaluations,” Girardi said, trying to contain some laughter. “I have to be careful about what I say about free agents at this point.”
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