Brian Cashman said something interesting in an interview yesterday with WFANs Mike Francesa that may shed some light on why pitching coach Dave Eiland was let go. Here’s the audio:
MF:”How about Burnett, how do you feel about him going forward?”
BC:”All the ability is there. He has a complicated delivery, there were some things that took place this year that hopefully wont be a part of it going forward. He’s healthy, he’s certainly capable. I think there were a lot of things around AJ this year that won’t be a part of it next year. He’ll be back, he’ll be in the rotation and quite honestly I think you’ll see a much better version that what you’ve saw from June on. “
As I’m sure Yankee fans recall, Dave Eiland took an early June leave of absence for what was described at the time as ‘personal reasons’. Much was made at the time about how much AJ missed Dave Eiland, and over his next 5 starts he gave up 29 Runs in just 23.0 IP, ballooning his ERA from a respectable 3.72 to an ugly 5.25. It appears the Yanks were ready to part ways with Eiland (whose contract had expired) if, for whatever reason, he can’t meet his obligations to the team. The Yanks appear to think that his personal issues affected the ballclub by way of his absence, and therefore they need to find a replacement who can give them a 9-10 month annual commitment to be there.
In a column for NJ.com, Bob Klapisch adds more fuel to this speculative fire. He writes:
Cashman always liked Eiland but regarded the coach’s off-the-field issues as a potential liability in 2011, just as they were in 2010. It was during Eiland’s self-imposed, month long exile that A.J. Burnett lost his way; he, too, became a black hole and Cashman couldn’t take a chance on that happening again next year.
There’s so much mystery surrounding Dave Eiland’s dismissal and his mid season departure from the team that we’re forced to piece things together to find some answers. As with Burnett’s mysterious black eye in September, we are left with far more questions than answers. If this is the explanation for letting Dave go, don’t expect Eiland’s replacement to come from within. Bullpen Coach Mike Harkey filled in for Eiland while he was gone, and didn’t keep AJ from getting off track.
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