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2/24/99 Yankees Spring Training: Yankee VP of Player Development Mark Newman on the cell phone during practice at Legends Field in Tampa, Florida. (Photo: N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg)


Shakeup Looming Among Yankees Development Brass

According to George King of the New York Post, sources, both inside and outside have indicated Yankees VP of Baseball Operations Mark Newman will be retiring at the end of the season.

King also points out, had Newman not decided to retire, the Yankees likely would not have renewed his contract, which expires at the end of the season. Sources also tell him Yankees Director of Player Development Pat Roessler could also be let go.

Newman has been with the Yankees for 26 years, the last 15 overseeing a minor-league system that has come under criticism over the past few years. Some 0f the criticism is justified, some is overblown.

For years, the Yankees did not emphasize development, rather counting on free-agency and trades. There were draft picks, such as C,J. Henry in 2005 who never panned out. There were other misses such as pitcher Andrew Brackman in 2007 and infielder Cito Culver in 2010. This group also drafted pitcher Gerrit Cole in 2008 after he told the Yankees he was attending UCLA. The jury is still out on 2009 pick outfielder Slade Heathcott and 2011 selection infielder Dante Bichette Jr.

There was a re-emphasis after the 2005 season and, while the results have not been up to some observers’ likings, the Yankees put more reliance on the draft since the days that produced the Core Four.  Roessler was brought in.  Damon Oppenheimer was promoted to scouting director and Billy Eppler, now Yankees Assistant General Manager, was brought in to be Director of Professional Scouting.

While the Yankees have developed some pitchers, position players, other than Brett Gardner, have not distinguished themselves. Outfielder Austin Jackson went to Detroit in the Curtis Granderson trade after the 2009 season. International signings have been of some help.

There is little doubt 2014 was one of the best development years in the system in the last several,. With players like catchers Gary Sanchez, John Ryan Murphy and Luis Torrens, infielders Eric Jagielo and Rob Refsnyder, outfielders Aaron Judge, Tyler Dugas, Jake Cave and Ramon Flores, starters Bryan Mitchell and Jaron Long and relievers Jacob Lindgren, Tyler Webb, Nick Rumbelow and James Pazos, the Yankees legitimately have something to build on.

“A lot of players really improved this year,” said Double-A Trenton manager Tony Franklin, who recently completed his eighth season in Trenton. “Our job is development.

“This year, we’ve also seen the system recover. The evidence is we got younger both here and at the Triple-A level.”

So it is legitimate to say the system will begin to produce what is needed within the next year or two.

King indicates Trey Hillman, back with the Yankees as a Special Assistant after managing in the Yankees’ system, Japan and the Kansas City Royals, could replace Newman. He also indicates former Yankees hitting coach Gary Denbo, now a scout, could replace Roessler. Hillman has a diverse background and experience the system could use.

King points out Oppenheimer, who has drafted well the past few seasons, picking up Judge, Jagielo and pitcher Ian Clarkin in 2013 and Lindgren this year, remains highly regarded in the system, as is Eppler, who recently interviewed for the San Diego Padres GM position.

It is the opinion here a bit of new blood would not hurt at this time.


Written By

Have covered the Yankees and their system for over 20 years. I enjoy writing about future Yankees and where a prospect stands in the system. One rule: I only analyze and comment on prospects I have seen play and have talked to.

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