“Sean Casey -- he's just one of the best baseball guys around,” Judge said then. “He has been great. Good baseball mind. Good at thinking about the pitcher. Has great baseball stories and has a great way to slow guys down -- relax and go out there and play. He understands how hard this game is on a daily basis. He just keeps us loose and keeps us ready to go.”
I hadn’t even asked Judge about Casey; the captain went there on his own. That seemed like an awfully strong sign for Casey’s job security.
Brian Cashman will be back next season. I’m getting the strong feeling that Boone will be, too (Hal Steinbrenner will not make a final decision on Boone’s status until the end of the season, and even if not everyone in the organization wants him to return, Cashman does).
There will probably be tweaks to the coaching staff. But given that the Yankees offered Casey the job in July on a mutual trial basis after firing Dillon Lawson, Judge’s words felt significant.
It also doesn’t hurt that since the All-Star break, when the Yankees hired Casey, the team leads MLB with a 9.24 plate appearance/per walk ratio and seeing 4.04 pitches per plate appearance. Before the All-Star break, the Yankees ranked 20th in the majors in both categories (11.90; 3.86).
Working the count and getting on base are ideas baked as deeply into the Yankees’ DNA as any, dating back to the days of legendary GM/manager/coach/player/scout Gene Michael.
The Yankees drifted from that early this season, but since Casey arrived the offense has begun a move back toward those core principles.
But does Casey, who left a much easier lifestyle at MLB Network to return to uniform, want to keep doing it? On Wednesday, I asked him.
“This has been one of the greatest experiences I've ever had in my life,” Casey said. “I love these guys so much. It's definitely a decision I'll have to, at the end of the year, really talk to my two daughters who are still home. So I think that's a big factor.
“I'll have to go back and talk to them. And talk to Boonie and see if they even want me back, and talk to [Cashman] and just kind of go through the process and see if it works moving forward.”
The amiable Casey could only laugh when asked if a TV job was easier than a coaching job. Still, there is one thing that a studio cannot offer.
“There's nothing like the competition,” Casey said. “There's nothing like being in the arena. There's nothing like being with the guys and seeing them do well. Or being with the guys and having them struggle, but being there for the guys. You don't get anything else like this in your life. Yeah, there's no other place. Even at the network. There's no other place that you can be in the arena.
“One thing I do love about this is the challenge of the grind. Getting in at six in the morning and playing at night. You know, showing up and doing hitters meetings every day is and trying to figure out how to get guys going. Trying to figure out how to just keep going with the ups and the downs of the game. So yeah, I'm enjoying being back in the arena.”