Brad Ausmus has one thing going for him in this Marlins managerial search that no one seems to be talking about.
His Yankees background.
Of the six managers Jeffrey Loria has hired since becoming a big-league owner in the fall of 1999, four have worked or played for the Yankees at some point.
Jeff Torborg, a former big-league catcher, was a Yankees coach from 1982-84.
Joe Girardi was a Yankees catcher on multiple World Series winners in the ‘90s before serving as Joe Torre’s bench coach in 2005.
Fredi Gonzalez spent six seasons as a catcher in the Yankees farm system in the ‘80s. He never rose higher than Double-A.
Even Edwin Rodriguez spent three seasons as a utility infielder in the Yankees organization, including three games with the big club in 1982.
The only exceptions have been Jack McKeon, who grew up a Yankees fan in South Amboy, N.J., and Ozzie Guillen, who played a reserve role for the Braves in the 1999 World Series against – wait for it – the Yankees.
Ausmus, a 48th-round pick of the Yankees in 1987, spent five years as a catcher in their minor league system before the Rockies selected him in the 1992 expansion draft. He now works as a special assistant in the Padres front office and recently spent the summer managing Team Israel in World Baseball Classic qualifying.
When the Marlins were going hard after Girardi seven years ago this month, I had a source tell me the following: “This is Jeffrey’s guy. Girardi has that Yankee blueblood. I don’t think Jeffrey is going to want to lose this battle.”
Loria, of course, grew up a Yankees fan in New York, owned field-level season tickets along the first-base line for years and previously owned a small ownership stake in the team.