Whenever the 2022 season begins, the Yankees will have six new coaches on their staff.
Only one has extensive major league playing experience.
Eric Chavez played 17 seasons in the majors before spending time in the Yankees’ front office followed by a five-year stint in the Angels’ front office.
Now, he’ll be an assistant hitting coach in The Bronx, working with newly promoted hitting coach Dillon Lawson and assistant hitting coach Casey Dykes.
But Aaron Boone insisted Chavez’s job will be more extensive than his title implies.
“I view him a little as a Swiss Army [knife],” Boone said during a Zoom call on Wednesday. “He’s gonna have a lot of different responsibilities. His role is gonna evolve as he allows it to.”
That includes working with hitters, but also anything else Chavez believes he can help with.
Boone noted Chavez’s reputation as a superb third baseman.
And while he didn’t know Chavez well before the interview process, Boone said he “brings a presence to the coaching staff and a presence to the room.”
“He has a lot of things to offer,” the manager said. “In a lot of ways, he blew me away. He has a really good perspective on the game and is very open-minded.”
Chavez will coach with Lawson, who served as the Yankees’ minor league hitting coordinator the past three seasons and is credited with the development of some of the organization’s top prospects.
“Taking over the hitting program from a player development standpoint, we saw during this post-COVID season, all levels [in the minors] have really dynamic offenses,” Boone said of Lawson’s work in his previous role. “He’s had a really strong impact on not only our top prospects, but even fringe guys. He’s earned this opportunity.”
And while Lawson was able to work with some hitters prior to the lockout, once Dec. 2 came around, the entire staff — which includes other newcomers such as assistant hitting coach Casey Dykes, assistant pitching coach Desi Druschel and first base and infield coach Travis Chapman — was prohibited from contacting anyone on the 40-man roster.
Boone said the restrictions are tough, particularly because he’d like the new coaching hires to get a chance to work with the players as much as possible.
“But everyone is in the same boat,’’ Boone said.
The manager said coaches and trainers “tried to put guys in the best position” prior to the lockout to have a normal offseason and “set up with programs to follow to be in a good position once this is all settled.’’
Returning pitching coach Matt Blake has been to the Stadium frequently this offseason and new third-base coach, ex-Mets manager Luis Rojas, was in The Bronx recently, where he met with Boone and the two went onto the field to work on signs.
Boone expects much of the coaching staff to meet at various times during the offseason and in Tampa prior to spring training, where they will be able to work with players not on the 40-man roster.
And if spring training is shortened because of the work stoppage, Boone is confident the team’s experience with altered schedules since 2020 will leave everyone prepared for whatever adjustments they face.
In the meantime, Boone said “it sucks” not being able to talk to his players, but he’s confident they’ll be able to get a read on how the players are doing a few days into spring training.