The Yankees' search for a new manager went into a lengthy hiatus, which prompted thought that the club might be deciding on the five candidates they interviewed well before Thanksgiving. However, news broke Tuesday morning that former Yankees OF/DH Carlos Beltran was a candidate -- and he interviewed on Wednesday. The process continues.
Beltran announced his retirement just 12 days after walking off the Dodger Stadium grass with his Astros teammates, celebrating his first World Series title. Beltran, who played for parts of 20 seasons with seven clubs, is the owner of a .279/.350/.487 slash line with 2,725 hits, 435 home runs, 1,587 RBI and 312 stolen bases. While discussing his future, Beltran stated he would be interested in managing at some point, but that time seemed to be further down the road.
He also made it clear that he did not aspire to take on a simple coaching role, but wanted to jump straight to the top of a ball club when he felt he was ready, and the right opportunity presented itself. Beltran wants to make a significant impact, and apparently, there is a mutual belief he and the Yankees think this could be that moment.
Beltran will be the second candidate coming in with zero formal coaching experience. From the beginning of the interview process, the Yankees stressed that missing what would typically seem like a key factor in the decision making process would not be a deterrent to selection. For Beltran, his time as a player the last several seasons may alleviate some of the concerns over his lack of on-field coaching experience.
He is widely respected and viewed as one of the finest mentors in the game. Players of all ages, and from several teams, have stressed the positive effects Beltran has had on their careers. He has also noted that he sought out and thoroughly enjoyed being the mentor type for his teammates. Beltran explained that he spent a lot of time this past season examining the game and providing advice on anything from hitting to in-game strategy.
Beltran's biggest strength may be his communication skills, which just so happens to be high on Yankees general manager Brian Cashman's wish list. He has an advantage over some of the current candidates in that he speaks Spanish, which would help with the Yankees' contingent of Latino players. Beltran will seemingly be adept at getting his point across both from the angle of using analytics for on-field decisions as well as from the perspective of delivering messages to players about lineup construction and pitching usage patterns.
Beltran also has an edge in that he knows many players on the Yankees roster, having been teammates with them during his two-year plus stint with the club from 2014-16. He demonstrated his desire to aid young players when he reportedly asked that Aaron Judge's locker be placed near his during spring training in 2016.
The question here is whether Beltran can become their boss as opposed to an older player making simple suggestions.
For any of the candidates, the daily onslaught of the New York media is a major factor for the Yankees to consider. Beltran owns another advantage here having played in New York for parts of 10 seasons with the Mets, and then the Yanks. He never shied away from his media responsibilities as a player, and those from the respective New York beats have lauded the 40-year-old's ability to convey his message.
As with the rest of the candidates, Beltran will have a learning curve. Some individual's slope will be steeper than others with his conceivably among the sharpest. Beltran spent a good deal of time shadowing Astros manager A.J. Hinch (a mold the Yankees would be interested in replicating), however translating that into actual in-game decisions the manager needs to make is not a simple undertaking.
Overall, Beltran has an incredibly unique candidacy. He has accomplished enough in his playing career to conjure up Hall of Fame talk and would be one year removed from the game as a player. From Beltran's own vantage point, he has been working as much as a coach in recent seasons as a player. His knowledge of the game is unquestioned, and he is perceived to be among one of the most respected men in the game.
In an age where previous managerial experience is not deemed as essential, it can be argued that since Beltran excels in other elements, he rises to the top of the current list of candidates.