The addition of Tanner Swanson to the Yankees’ big league coaching staff as the catching and quality control coach leaves Jason Brown’s status in limbo.
This past season was Brown’s second year as the Yankees’ catching coach, but the former Yankees’ minor league catcher won’t return in that role for the 2020 season. The USC product’s future with the organization has yet to be determined.
The move comes after Aaron Boone spoke often about Gary Sanchez’s overall improvement behind the plate in 2019 from a disastrous 2018.
After being charged with a MLB-leading 18 passed balls in 75 games in 2018, Sanchez reduced that to seven this past season in 88 games. That tied him for 14th with five other catchers. His wild pitch count went from 45 to 30, which tied five others for 19th. Sanchez’s best tool remains his bat, but he did improve defensively.
Swanson arrives from the Twins’ organization, for which he was the minor league catching coordinator. He has college experience at Santa Clara and Washington, where he worked for five years.
While Swanson will have Sanchez to work with, the catcher’s backup is undecided. Austin Romine, considered by many to be the best backup catcher in baseball, is a free agent. The analytic arm of the Yankees’ front office is high on Kyle Higashioka, who has 56 big-league games in three years compared to Romine’s 368 games in eight seasons.
Brown, 45, played four seasons in the Yankees’ minor league system and topped out at Triple-A in 2008. He was Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s bullpen and catching coach in 2015-16, and joined the Yankees’ big league staff in 2017 as a coaching assistant and bullpen catcher.
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