Aaron Boone may be coming back, but the New York Yankees’ coaching staff will still look at least a bit different in 2024. Sean Casey, who joined the team as hitting coach midseason after the firing of Dillon Lawson, announced on his podcast on Wednesday that he will not be returning in the role next year, citing family reasons.
Sean Casey announced on his podcast "The Mayors Office" that he will not be returning as Yankees hitting coach for family reasons.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) October 25, 2023
“I’m not gonna be able to come back next year,” Casey said, per Chris Kirschner of The Athletic, “because I have my two daughters at home. I think getting divorced a few years ago — I have those girls 50 percent of the time. I just can’t imagine being away for eight months.”
Casey’s future with the team was already murky: He came on in July for only the remainder of the season, and wasn’t under contract for 2024. But the team had yet to make any sort of decision regarding the role on a full-time basis, and Casey was under the impression he was still very much in the running.
“It was a tough decision for me,” Casey added. “There was no offer made, but I do think I could have come back had I wanted to. That time right now is not perfect for me. We’ll see what happens in the next few years here.”
Regardless of where Boone and Brian Cashman were leaning, they can now officially add “new hitting coach” to the laundry list of needs entering a pivotal offseason.
Casey was hired on July 10, less than 24 hours after the Yankees had dismissed Lawson — the first time the franchise had made an in-season coaching change since Nardi Contreras replaced Billy Connors in July 1995 as pitching coach on Buck Showalter’s staff. New York had just wrapped up a dismal first half offensively: They ranked 28th in batting average entering the All-Star break, including a league-worst .218 mark since Aaron Judge went down on June 3. From Giancarlo Stanton to Anthony Rizzo to DJ LeMahieu to Josh Donaldson, virtually none of the high-priced (and oft-injured) veterans the Yankees were relying on had produced, and Yankees fans were demanding some sort of change.
That change wound up being Casey, who had never coached in professional baseball before, having served as an MLB Network analyst since his retirement from the Majors in 2008. The former Reds star — nicknamed “The Mayor” for his infectious personality — brought the expected relentless positivity to the role. All the positivity in the world, however, couldn’t help New York’s bats wake up. The Yankees ranked 28th in OPS in the second half, slashing .221/.307/.381 as a team and failing to reach the postseason for the first time since 2016. Surely, not all of that can be pinned on Casey — roster construction had more than a little to do with it — but it also felt like whatever he was trying simply wasn’t clicking with his players.
It’s unclear as of yet who the Yankees might target to the fill the role. They promoted Lawson internally, as he had served as the team’s Minor League hitting coordinator since 2018 when he was hired as MLB hitting coach back in 2021.