Following a decade with Joe Girardi at the helm, the New York Yankees will move into 2018 with a new manager. One name being bandied about among the many is bench coach Rob Thomson. In this space, BronxPinstripes.com takes a look at Thomson moving up in the pecking order in pinstripes.
At the major league level, Thomson sports an unofficial ledger of 1-2, filling in for Girardi when he missed two games with an upper respiratory infection and a one-game suspension in 2008. At the minor-league level, Thomson shepherded the Single-A Oneonta Yankees of the New York-Pennsylvania League to a record of 34-41. Future major-league players on the 1995 roster included Mike Lowell, Darrell Einertson, Ben Ford, Steve Randolph, Jake Robbins and Jay Tessmer.
Thomson is a baseball lifer, serving 28 years in the Yankee organization. Including the aforementioned managing stints, Thomson has served in essentially every capacity imaginable. Since 2008, he’s been on Girardi’s coaching staff, as bench coach in 2008 and from 2015 to the present. Thomson was the third base coach on the World Series-winning club and remained there through 2014. At the minor-league level, Thomson was also a coach at Single-A Ft. Lauderdale, Double-A Albany, and Triple-A Columbus. None of those teams are Yankees affiliates, so, yes, he’s been around a long time.
Thomson has also been a Major League field coordinator, special assignment instructor, Director of Player Development and Vice President of Minor League Development.
According to Jack Curry’s analysis on YESNetwork.com, Thomson is “very receptive to analytics,” hence providing, “cohesion between the front office and the on-the-field personnel.” Curry also notes how Thomson, “has the respect of the players.” The latter is perhaps most important as he will not solely come across as a “front office puppet.” If you believe Alex Rodriguez‘s similar analysis during one FS1 postseason post-game show, the former Yankee proclaimed Thomson would become a major-league manager, “very soon.”
The familiarity is there. He knows the players, veterans and kids alike. There’s mutual trust between him, players and management. Thomson has been a part of a championship staff and went through some of the rough times as well in New York. For all we know he could be the next Joe Maddon, a longtime bench coach who paid his dues with the California/Anaheim Angels and helped build a young Tampa Bay Rays team into a contender.
Save for the few games in 2008, Thomson has essentially no managerial experience at the major-league level. Although the stigma of not playing at the major league level didn’t necessarily hurt guys like Buck Showalter and Terry Collins, those guys had successful results and experience managing at the minor league level. While he has spent a lot of time in New York, moving up to head honcho is a different animal in the Bronx Zoo. Just ask Ben McAdoo.