This has been a topic of discussion recently, and so I thought it was time to move it to a post. The question is whether Kevin Long will be fired over the Yankees being swept out of the ALCS.
Note that the question is not whether Kevin Long should be fired, but whether he will be fired. Cashman's recent endorsement not withstanding, I think he will. Here are my reasons.
First, the Yankees' failure in the ALCS was completely offensive. Pitching and defense did not lose this series. Particularly glaring was the Yankees' inability to hit with RISP, a season-long problem that we heard over and over again the line-up would snap out of and never did.
Second, while a lot of anger has certainly been directed at the players, there is no clear way to scapegoat one of them. Cano, Granderson, and even A-Rod are unlikely to go anywhere. Even if the Yankees were to trade Grandy or A-Rod, it would likely come off more as a move to improve the team long-term and reduce payroll than it would as a move to send a message to a team that underperformed.
Third, while Long has been a defensible hitting coach, and he may not be responsible for the hitting woes, the buck has to stop with him. This is a season-long issue, and both Granderson and Cano seemed to regress as hitters. Let's not forget that the last person Long tried to remake, Jeter, completely ignored him. Then Jeter broke his ankle, which I can only assume was a result of Kevin Long trying to get rid of the leg-kick, which weakened the bone since it was no longer being strengthened from regular leg-kicking.
More importantly, Lonn Trost and Randy Levine are still loud voices in the organization. They are the reason we signed Soriano to my brother's favorite contract, and they are of the elder Steinbrenner school of thought. That means that someone must answer for the postseason failure, a failure of hitting, and the person most likely to bear that burden is Kevin Long, fair or not.
Fifth, coaches are always held to account for perceived failures far more than they are praised for success. Just ask Terry Francona.
Sixth, Cashman is unlikely to go anywhere and so is Girardi. The easiest person to replace if blamed and fired is Long. Pitching coaches, hitting coaches, bench coaches, first base coaches, and third base coaches are all imminently replaceable. If Trost and Levine decide someone must be made an example of, I have to believe it will be Long.
Seventh, Cashman assured us Long would not be fired. Pretty much every Cashman statement made prior to the Winter Meetings is a lie, or turns out to be, sometimes unbeknownst to Cashman himself (Soriano anyone?). The fact that Cashman vouched for him in public is as good as a pink-slip.