Since his contract with the Baltimore Orioles ended after the 2018 season, Buck Showalter has kept a pretty low profile across the baseball world. But the 63-year old could be returning to the game soon, in a city he knows well – New York.
According to Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News, Showalter has talked with YES Network for a role as a fill-in analyst this season.
MLB sources said Showalter, who exited the Orioles dugout following a disastrous 2018 season, has been in discussions with YES suits concerning a fill-in role this season, with an eye on a more permanent gig down the road. YES’ president production/programming John J. Filippelli confirmed those discussions have taken place.
In addition to Showalter, former Mets manager Willie Randolph could also see some regular season analyst work on YES this season.
Filippelli added that former Yankees second baseman, and former Mets manager, Willie Randolph is also likely to see work in YES’ booth before the end of this season. Randolph worked for YES during spring training as did Reggie Jackson.
Showalter is no stranger to analyst work. He’s served as an ESPN Baseball Tonight analyst twice in his career between managerial stints – during the 2001 and 2002 seasons before he took the Texas Rangers job, and from 2008 through mid-2010, before he took the Orioles job. He served as Yankees manager from 1992-95, and his somewhat forced resignation from the team was foreshadowed by an episode of Seinfeld.
However, him working in the booth for YES represents a new challenge. As far as I can tell from my rudimentary research (and faulty memory), he never worked as a game analyst for ESPN during his time with the network. Where Showalter would fit into the YES analyst hierarchy is also a question: the Yankees used (at least) five analysts last year, have five (according to Raissman) under contract this season, and have already used another two guest analysts. Those are a lot of moving parts, and while the Yankees do use plenty of three-man booths, it would be easy for Showalter to make his booth debut for the team and for it to make minimal impact because of the sheer amount of voices during a given series or week of Yankees broadcasts.
But hey, the worst case scenario here is that Showalter doesn’t impress, and the Yankees don’t bring him back. The best case is that he is a revelation in the booth, and the Yankees (or another team or network) gives him a full-time job going into next season. The baseball world needs more top-notch analysts, and no one would complain if Showalter provides interesting insight and breakdowns in the booth.