The Los Angeles Dodgers saw director of player development Gabe Kapler leave the organization to accept the managerial position with the Philadelphia Phillies, and may now suffer the same fate with Chris Woodward, who’s a candidate for the New York Yankees manager vacancy.
Woodward joined the list of candidates the Yankees have interviewed since parting with Joe Giradi on the heels of an appearance in the American League Championship Series. Giradi managed the club for 10 seasons, and he was let go in part due to perceived communication issues.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is believed to be in search of a candidate who is in tune with analytics and capable of connecting with players.
Woodward, who’s spent the past two seasons as infield and third base coach for the Dodgers, outlined why he believes communication is key, via Peter Botte of the New York Daily News:
“I think the biggest thing with communication is to not be afraid to have tough conversations … and not being afraid of the backlash,” Woodward said. “I know when I was a player, I really admired and respected guys that were honest. I think that communication has to be consistent and it has to be constant. It can’t be just a one-time thing where you tell a guy one thing and it’s a negative conversation.
“The human side of this is extremely important. I think that makes those tough conversations a lot easier to have. They’re not always going to be happy conversations, but in the end, they can respect the decision.”
While Woodward’s only managerial experience is with leading Team New Zealand in February 2016 in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers, he’s worked under Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who is regarded as having a tremendous line of communication with players and the front office.
Woodward began his coaching career with the Seattle Mariners, where he served as the Minor League infield coordinator in 2013, infield coach the following year, and first base and infield coach in 2015.
At his end-of-season press conference, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said he anticipated the entire coaching staff returning next season.