Eiland joins Royals, talks about leave of absence

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(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

As the Cubs and Red Sox were busy introducing their new President of Baseball Ops and GM on Monday, respectively, the Royals very quietly announced that they had hired Dave Eiland to be their pitching coach. Eiland, of course, filled that same role with the Yankees from 2008-2010, getting the job because he was familiar with the team’s young pitchers (Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, and Ian Kennedy) after serving as their pitching coach in the minors.

During his final season in New York, Eiland took a month long and still unexplained leave of absence from the team, forcing bullpen coach Mike Harkey into pitching coach duties for the month of June. Although we still don’t know why he had to leave the team, Bob Dutton of The KC Star spoke to Eiland about the absence after the Royals announced his hiring…

Eiland took a 25-day leave of absence for personal reasons stemming from family issues in June 2010 from his job as the Yankees’ pitching coach. He was fired after the season and joined the Rays as a special assistant to general manager Andrew Friedman.

“It was something that if it happened in the off-season,” Eiland said, “nobody would have known anything about it. It was something I had to take care of. I came home, got everything where it needed to be and moved on.

“All is well, and I couldn’t be happier from a personal or professional standpoint. As I told Ned (on Monday), I wish spring training was starting tomorrow.”

When the Yankees decided to fire Eiland (technically they didn’t fire him, his contract expired and they decided not to renew it) after last season, Brian Cashman would not go into detail about the decision other than to say it was made for “private and personal” reasons. “He knows why [he was let go]”, said Cashman. “He was given conditions that needed to be followed. So he knows why.” Eiland spent last season with the Rays, scouting amateur pitchers prior to the draft.

Like A.J. Burnett‘s black eye, Eiland’s leave of absence is one of the Yankees’ great unsolved mysteries. It was blamed for Burnett’s disastrous June last season (11.35 ERA and a 2.26 WHIP in five starts), but after his awful performance carried over into 2011, I think it’s safe to say the only person that deserves blame for that is A.J. himself. Eiland may be a public figure, but frankly his personal life is none of our business. We’re curious and we can’t help but wonder about the juicy details, but as if often the case with these kinds of things, the reason is something a) not all that juicy, or b) better left unsaid.

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  • Rich in NJ

    I was glad to see Eiland replaced by Rothschild (I wish he was replaced at least a year earlier), but I agree that his personal life is irrelevant and should remain off limits.

    • mbonzo

      Same, I could care less about what Eiland’s excuse was. It must not be too controversial considering he got another job, but whatever it was, I couldn’t see the Yank’s “business first” mantra coping with Eiland’s personal problems. Its probably for the best that he was replaced with Rothschild, who’s done a great job.

    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

      Eiland was replaced after the 2010 season, and you wished he was replaced a year earlier, which means you wish that he was replaced after 2009? You know, the year the Yankees won the World Series.

      • Rich in NJ

        I wanted him gone ever since I read a quote in one of the NY papers stating his preference for Joba to remain the pen, which I have always hated.

        • Rich in NJ

          btw, In case someone cites Cash’s public statements regarding Joba as a reliever, I distinguish Eiland’s comments from Cashman’s in that Cash has a much greater track record of good decisions that offset what I perceive as a suboptimal one.

        • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

          Ah. Good point.

        • The Big City of Dreams


        • JobaWockeeZ

          Yeah I started to dislike him after that too.

  • Cy Pettitte

    I wish Dave Eiland all the best. That Dave Island guy though, that’s another story.

    • MannyGeee

      Worst Spring Break destination EVER.

      Dont stick around for the Wet T Shirt contests down at the Carlos & Charlie’s…. Trust

  • cr1

    IIRC, Dave Eiland was one of the designers of the disastrous ‘Joba jerk-around’ program. Good riddance.

    If all goes well someone else will hire Billy Eppler soon. He was not only heavily implicated in the ridiculous mis-handling of Joba, but was wildly enthusiastic about acquiring Kei Igawa.

    With friends like these two who needs enemies?

    • Skip

      Um, Eppler was also responsible for people like Russell Martin, Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon, Cory Wade, Eric Hinske, Lance Berkman…and the list goes on.

      I’ll await as you take your foot out of your mouth.

      • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

        Stop ruining the narrative.

      • Ted Nelson

        Yeah, Eppler is widely considered to have done a very good job heading up pro scouting. Based on my limited knowledge of things (i.e. see the players play, but don’t know who made what decision) that seems accurate.

  • Kevin

    Eiland should be grateful he wasn’t the Boston coach. They would have leaked all the juicy details to the press.

  • http://www.youcantpredictbaseball.com bexarama

    I’m actually kind of amazed that no one was ever able to snuff out what happened with Eiland, or how AJ got that black eye. No, it’s not anyone’s business, but I’m weirdly impressed that the Yankees could keep that stuff under wraps and there wasn’t even some dumb anonymous source coming forward with a story that may or may not have been true or exaggerated or whatever.

    • bonestock94

      It’s because “anonymous sources” are probably front office people with an axe to grind, typically.

    • http://twitter.com/andrewjcalagna Drew

      Eiland punched AJ in the face. #theorydebunked

      • Monteroisdinero

        An Eye-land punch.

    • Pounder

      John Barleycorn.

    • Ted Nelson

      Yeah, it seems especially with the Eiland situation that a reporter could have done some snooping around wherever he went home to and turned up the dirt…

  • Thomas Cassidy

    It was something very serious with Eiland I’m assuming.

    One of my brothers lives outside of Atlanta, and his boss is Dave Eiland’s brother-in-law, and my brother says his brother-in-law didn’t even know why Eiland needed a leave of absence.

    • nsalem

      and if he knew I’m positive he would have shared his family secrets with your with your brother.

      • Thomas Cassidy

        I didn’t say he was going to share his family secrets. I said his brother-in-law didn’t even know what was going on.

        Reading before you post helps a lot.

    • Yank The Frank

      As long as a friend of a friends second cousin isn’t involved, it’s all good.

  • http://none Favrest

    Im guessing, and it’s only because Cashman was short about it, that Eiland has some kind of alcohol or drug problem. Maybe pills? Who knows. If he was fired for performance I don’t think Cash would say “he knows why he was fired” – that’s pretty cold.

  • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher (formerly Jorge)

    I liked Eiland coming up through the ranks like he did, but never once did I feel his work really made a pitcher better. I was hoping familiarity with the young pitchers would lead to something, but it never did.

    I wish any card-carrying member of the Stump Merrill Yankees well ALWAYS.

  • NEPA Yankee

    IMHO, What is past is past. We don’t need to know, or speculate on, what his problems were. We’re civilized people here, not Red Sox fans, so hopefully his problems are behind him. Good luck in your new position, Dave.

    • CP

      Good point. If this were Boston, there would be a series of ‘anonymous sources’ leaking every single detail about him.

      • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher (formerly Jorge)

        “Dat Dave Eiland. Daggumit. He wouldn’t drink ma beer.” – Josh Beckett.

  • NEPA Yankee

    That’s what seperates us from the animals.

  • Rockdog

    I for one am glad that they Yankees did not leak whatever issues were affecting Eiland, and I wish him the best with the Royals. I think that it speaks well of the Yanks that personal and clubhouse issues stay in house. At the margin, having a professional organization can only help in attracting future talent (I’m looking at you, Boston).

  • Doc Holliday

    Leave the man alone. He’s not even a Yankee anymore so why should we care about his personal life. Rotchschild > Eiland.

  • Doc Holliday

    And the reason why Eiland’s personal issues weren’t leaked out is because the Yankees are a professional organization. You don’t see the Yankees with stupid gimmicks like antler claws and beast mode. You don’t see the Yankees throw their respected WS winning manager under the bus. And actually, it was the other way around for the Yankees- Torre threw the organization under the bus.

    • NEPA Yankee

      +1. For a guy who, IMO, was given the job of a lifetime, then was kept on a few years too long to boot, had no qualms about dissing the organization as soon as he left.

  • http://southernbelle.mlblogs.com Virginia

    I was thinking about the whole Eiland thing one day, and a friend suggested something. It’s just a rumor and a product of our boredom and speculation…http://southernbelle.mlblogs.com/2010/10/28/spicy-stuff-the-story-behind-dave-eilands-firing/

    • J.R.

      I’d buy in to it a little more if AJ had a rebound year in 2011.

    • TG

      That was not what happened.

  • Foghorn Leghorn

    Dear Brian Cashman:

    This is an appropriate time to completely trash an ex employee and blame him for organization problems. Bringing up personal problems, drug use and family issues is a great strategy.


    John Henry and Larry Lucciano

  • Babe’s Ghost

    I happen to know and while it was definitely unprofessional, it had no effect on the team and hence is no one’s business.

    Leave the man alone.

  • Darren

    As if anyone here has any real knowledge of Eiland’s effectiveness or not. How could you say Rothschild is better??

    CC is the same. (Ace)

    Burnett is the same. (Inconsistent)

    Hughes. Great in 09, good under Eiland in first half last year, second half numbers bad, total regression under Rothschild. Hard to see any correlation,

    Freddy and Bartolo – N/A.

    Nova – started to do well under Eiland, but a young pitcher that improved in second year. No evidence one way or the other.

    Robertson – Great before, got even better. Dont see any correlation.

    Joba got hurt because of a bad throw from the catcher, not because of Eiland.

    Anyway, as with any unexplained Yankee controversy, I always assume it’s a combination gay love scandal, adultery, drugs, auto erotic asphyxiation fetishes and online stalking of Ke$ha.

  • TG

    I know one of the people involved in the drama, and out of respect for this person and Dave’s family, I won’t say exactly what happened, but Eiland is a total dirtbag. Not that it was anything a lot of athletes and ex-athletes haven’t done, but that doesn’t excuse him. The guy is scum and the Yanks are better off not having him in their organization.