Although former Braves and Orioles pitching coach Leo Mazzone was campaigning to be Eiland’s replacement on the radio yesterday, there is no interest from the Yankees. They believed Mazzone used them as leverage against the Orioles, the team he joined following the 2005 season.
There is a belief inside the organization that bullpen coach Mike Harkey will be promoted to pitching coach and Single-A Staten Island manager Josh Paul will take over Harkey’s bullpen coach position.
That was the setup when Eiland missed almost a month this summer due to a personal family matter.
Thinking about Yankees GM Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi this makes sense. Cashman doesn’t like to be toyed with just look at the way the free agent talks with Johnny Damon went last season. If he really believes that Mazzone used him for leverage the first time he’ll avoid working with him in the future.
As for Girardi, he’s a loyal guy. Harkey was with him in Florida as his bullpen coach and then when he took over the job in the Bronx he brought Harkey with him. Harkey handled the job for a month this season when Eiland was gone during which time Girardi might have decided he’s ready for a full-time gig at the position.
My only question would be, how much different is Harkey going to be over Eiland. I’ve documented Eiland’s shortcomings already and the Yankees are going to need somebody who can keep A.J. Burnett in line and help the young pitchers develop their pitches and their game plans out on the mound, a few things Eiland couldn’t do.
At the same time, Harkey has been around for a while and knows this pitching staff. That could work to his advantage because he can get right to work. Somebody like Mazzone might take quite a while just to get to know the pitching staff before he really starts helping them.