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Hiring Matt Blake as Pitching Coach Signals Totally New Direction for the Yankees

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 18: Aaron Boone #17 of the New York Yankees talks with James Paxton #65 on the mound against the Houston Astros during the sixth inning in game five of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 18, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

The New York Yankees opted to move on from pitching coach Larry Rothschild, given their struggles on the mound this past season. Instead of opting for another seasoned veteran, the Yankees broke away from their familiar path.

On Thursday, the team signed Cleveland Indians pitching coordinator Matt Blake as their new pitching coach. Decidedly, it's a bold move that indicates a franchise ready to turn the page and try something new.

In contrast to the 65-year-old Rothschild, Blake is just 33-years-old, and is seen as a prodigy in the baseball community.

More importantly, Blake is a firm believer in the application of analytics, just like manager Aaron Boone. The Yankees had struggled in getting the most out of their young pitchers under Rothschild, and that's precisely what made Blake a logical hire.

Blake has worked with various minor league pitchers in the Indians organization, and translated advanced data into terms that up-and-comers could digest. Boone will be hoping he can do the very same with the Yankee staff, which battled through inconstencies this year and fell short of their championship goals.

Cleveland's pitching rotation took a massive hit with the absences of Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco, but Blake's work with the likes of Zach Plesac and Aaron Civale helped round out the rotation nicely.

Blake's proudest project this season, however, was Shane Bieber. In 34 games, Bieber accumulated a 15-8 record and a 3.28 ERA. More importantly, this relationship helped propel Bieber to the All-Star Game, where he was named MVP.

The old-school mentality of Larry Rothschild just wasn't translating with the relatively young Yankees pitching corps. Swooping in and hiring Matt Blake just days after his promotion to director of pitching development in Cleveland was the smart move by the New York Yankees, and should be expected to pay dividends for them in 2020.