Can Aaron Boone’s best friend save his Yankees job?

Yankees new hitting coach Sean Casey and manager Aaron Boone are friends.

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Seeking to revive a struggling season and stagnant offense, the Yankees have turned to a familiar face from Aaron Boone’s friend circle. Both the team and the manager expect Sean Casey to bring the slumping offense back on track. It is up to the ex-Reds to save the Yankees’ season as well as secure his best friend Aaron Boone against forfeiting the coveted job.

Following the abrupt departure of Dillon Lawson in the midst of his second season as hitting coach, the Yankees made a swift move by appointing Sean Casey to assume the role. It is probable that the agreement spans the remainder of the season, allowing the organization to assess Sean Casey’s capabilities while affording the 49-year-old the opportunity to evaluate his interest in pursuing the role further in the future.

Sean Casey and Aaron Boone are good friends

Sean Casey shares a close bond with both Boone, having been teammates with the Reds from 1998 to 2003, and Tim Naehring, the Yankees‘ vice president of baseball operations, who served as the Reds’ director of player development during that time.

The addition of Sean Casey represents a significant departure from ex-Yankees hitting coach Lawson, whose background differed greatly as he lacked major league playing experience and heavily emphasized analytical aspects such as exit velocity and pulling the ball for launch angle.

Sean Casey, a skilled left-handed hitter with a penchant for using the entire field, showcased his talent with a career batting average of .302 across his notable 12 seasons in the major leagues. His impressive performance earned him three All-Star appearances. Affectionately known as “The Mayor” due to his outgoing personality, the Yankees’ new hitting coach brings a unique coaching perspective as he transitions from his role at MLB Network, where he has contributed for the past 15 years, to his first coaching position with a major league team.

AP Photo/David Kohl

Aaron Boone, who has had a longstanding relationship with Sean Casey spanning nearly three decades, described his infectious enthusiasm for hitting as truly captivating. He expressed his admiration for Sean Casey’s innate ability to inspire and motivate others, emphasizing that his influence on the players and their potential is highly anticipated. Aaron Boone firmly believes that the Yankees’ new hitting coach will undoubtedly make a significant and positive impact on the team as a whole.

Sean Casey expressed his excitement about the opportunity to make a difference with the lineup in the second half of the season. In a statement on Monday, Aaron Boone’s friend mentioned his enthusiasm to work with the Yankees’ talented hitters and build a strong connection with them, ensuring they are all on the same page moving forward.

“My relationship with Boonie was a huge factor, he said. “He’s probably my best friend in the game. I played six years with him in Cincinnati, and we’ve always remained really tight. I think that was a big part of decision.”

Casey carries big Yankees expectations on his shoulder

Now, Sean Casey faces the challenge of revitalizing an experienced Yankees offense that has struggled to meet expectations, especially in the absence of Aaron Judge. The lineup, boasting notable names such as Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu, Anthony Rizzo, and Gleyber Torres, endured a significant decline, ranking 10th-worst in the league with a subpar OPS of .710 during the first half of the season.

Aaron Boone’s best friend acknowledges the unique nature of each hitter on the team. He emphasized that attempting to apply a standardized approach to all hitters would be counterproductive, as it could hinder their individual strengths. The Yankees’ new hitting coach expressed his commitment to familiarizing himself with each player’s approach at the plate and tailoring his coaching accordingly.

Sean Casey highlighted the importance of zone control and focused on instilling a disciplined approach among the hitters. He emphasized the significance of controlling the process and adhering to their individual approaches with the ultimate aim of winning each pitch. The main objective of Aaron Boone’s ex-teammate is to ensure that every Yankees hitter develops a process that optimizes their performance and brings out their fullest potential.

His arrival is anticipated to infuse a positive and energetic atmosphere, accompanied by a fresh perspective and a wealth of experience as a successful former major league player.


A departure from the past era

Lawson’s overarching philosophy revolved around the idea of “hitting strikes hard,” prioritizing the process of executing quality at-bats and making solid contact over solely focusing on the end results. The outgoing Yankees hitting coach placed great importance on the belief that by consistently producing strong plate appearances and hitting the ball with authority, positive outcomes and hits would naturally follow.

Offensively, the Yankees have encountered significant struggles throughout the season. Their overall performance at the plate has been lackluster, evidenced by a team batting average of .230 and an on-base percentage of .300, which ranks among the lowest in the league. These struggles have been particularly pronounced since Aaron Judge suffered a right big toe injury on June 3 against the Dodgers, further exacerbating the team’s offensive woes.

Stanton’s performance this season, indicated by his .702 OPS, has been far below his usual standards. LeMahieu has experienced a significant decline, as reflected by his .643 OPS, and has also seen an increase in strikeouts. Rizzo, on the other hand, has been unable to hit a home run since May 20, despite maintaining a .753 OPS. As for Anthony Volpe, while he has shown some improvement with a .682 OPS, he still needs to address his tendency to swing and miss too frequently. The Yankees’ new hitting coach has to reverse that.

Lawson’s deputies Brad Wilkerson and Casey Dykes will continue in their roles as Yankees assistant hitting coaches, with the latter stating that he “can’t wait to use their skills” to inject new life into their immediate prospects.

Sean Casey expressed his enthusiasm for the opportunity to contribute his extensive knowledge and experience in hitting and the mental aspect of the game. With nearly 30 years in professional baseball and his recent tenure at MLB Network, Aaron Boone’s friend believes he is well-prepared to teach and share his ideas. Having stayed connected to the game, the Yankees’ new hitting coach feels confident in his ability to impart his expertise and bring valuable insights to the team.

But can he save his best friend?

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