Casey’s Yankees coaching odyssey: Will he swing for 2024 season?

The hitting coach of the New York Yankees, Sean Casey
Jim McIsaac

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When Sean Casey took on the role of hitting coach for the New York Yankees midway through the All-Star break, both sides agreed that his contract would extend through the remainder of the 2023 season. As the regular season inches closer to its end, Casey, who succeeded Dillon Lawson, remains steadfast in his commitment to evaluate the situation once it concludes. However, when asked about the prospects of the 2024 season, Casey has yet to turn his attention in that direction.

“I haven’t given it much thought at this point,” Casey shared exclusively with the New York Daily News. “Right now, I’m fully immersed in the present, cherishing each day I spend here. When the time comes, I’ll take a step back, assess the situation, and make a decision.”

What is going to happen with Sean Casey?

Naturally, Casey’s return isn’t solely his own decision; it may also depend on the fate of Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone. Even if Boone returns, Brian Cashman, who made the surprising mid-season move to replace Lawson, could opt for a different direction.

Statistically, the Yankees’ offensive performance under Casey hasn’t shown significant improvement compared to Lawson’s tenure, which ended at the halfway point of the season.

Before the All-Star break, the Yankees ranked 29th in hits (690), 28th in batting average (.231), 26th in on-base percentage (.300), and 21st in wRC+ (95). As of Wednesday’s thrilling 4-3 victory over the Tigers, since the break and Casey’s arrival, the Yankees are 30th in hits (337), 29th in batting average (.220), 22nd in on-base percentage (.307), and 18th in wRC+ (95).

“No, the numbers haven’t seen a dramatic shift,” Cashman acknowledged in an earlier interview. However, he pointed out that Casey has successfully built rapport with the players, a crucial element that Lawson struggled with. Boone has also praised Casey’s ability to connect with the team.

Yankees hired TV analyst Sean Casey as hitting coach to replace fired Dillon Lawson
AP

In fairness to Casey, he had to hit the ground running after assuming the role mid-season. “Those initial weeks were quite a whirlwind,” he admitted. “I mean, this was a whole new world.”

On the bright side, players like Anthony Volpe and DJ LeMahieu have shown noticeable improvement since Casey joined the team.

“I connect with him really well,” remarked LeMahieu. “He exudes positive energy, is a great guy, and he’s fantastic to discuss hitting with.”

While Casey’s future remains uncertain, he is thoroughly enjoying his new job, a role he had never taken on before. It was Boone, a friend and former Reds teammate, who convinced him to join the Yankees’ coaching staff. Casey had been eager to return to the dugout after a 12-year playing career and a lengthy stint at MLB Network. The stars aligned for Casey this summer after the Yankees had previously courted him during the offseason. At that time, family health issues had prevented him from accepting an assistant hitting coach position.

Casey relishes the opportunity to bond with fellow hitters and share the wisdom he gained from two of his former hitting coaches, Ken Griffey Sr. and Dave Magadan.

“During those initial weeks, my head was spinning as I settled in,” Casey said. “But now, I’m thoroughly enjoying it. Building relationships with all these guys, getting to know them better, understanding their strengths and weaknesses at the plate, and discussing their approach. It’s about engaging in the process with them, and it’s been incredibly fulfilling. I’m truly relishing this experience.”

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