Savage move: Yankees lure pitching guru from Indians two days after promotion

A general view of Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City before a game. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
A general view of Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City before a game. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

The New York Yankees might not be planning to spend big money on free agents this winter, but that doesn’t mean they’re sitting quietly by.

In an aggressive move that could also be described as savage, the Yankees were able to lure 33-year-old pitching guru Matt Blake away from the Cleveland Indians. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that Blake will take over as New York’s pitching coach for the 2020 season.

Blake, who previously worked for the Yankees as an associate scout, has been working in the Cleveland Indians organization as a minor league pitching coordinator since 2016. Since then, he’s been credited with helping to develop some of the Indians’ best pitching prospects.

Due to that success, Blake’s stock has been steadily rising, to the point where this offseason he became a legitimate pitching coach candidate. That’s why the Indians were eager to promote him to director of pitching development. That promotion took place just two days ago.

If they thought the promotion would keep Blake from listening to outside offers, they were quickly proven wrong. The Yankees apparently put on a full-court press that has now lured Blake to the Bronx.

The Yankees parted ways with 65-year-old Larry Rothschild after nine seasons as pitching coach on Oct. 28. The respected Rothschild is rumored to be a candidate for the same position with the Philadelphia Phillies. The hope is that Blake’s youth and more analytic-based approach will help jolt a Yankees pitching staff that struggled with consistency and finished middle of the pack during the 2019 season.

Some have said the Yankees should aggressively look to add pitching in free agency. While this hiring doesn’t necessarily eliminate that possibility, it does point to New York being more focused on building and developing pitching from within.

New York has no shortage of talent to work with in the major leagues and in the minors. Now all eyes will be on Blake as he attempts to modernize the system and maximize New York’s talents.

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