The Long Search for a Pitching Coach

benedictThe Phillies probably figured they would have a new pitching coach by the time the free-agent market opened today.

They do not.

They have interviewed or contacted at least seven candidates: Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell, Pirates special assistant to the general manager Jim Benedict, Mariners special assistant to the general manager Pete Vuckovich, Phillies bullpen coach Rod Nichols, Marlins bullpen coach Reid Cornelius, Triple-A Lehigh Valley pitching coach Ray Burris and Triple-A Durham pitching coach Neil Allen.

McDowell had been their top choice once the Reds made Bryan Price manager, but after the Phillies spoke with McDowell late last week the Braves announced Saturday he had agreed to a two-year extension. Benedict could have been offered the job – he impressed in his interview and has a strong track record with Pirates pitchers – but a source said today he recently told the Phillies he will remain with the Pirates.

Oddly, former Braves pitching coach Leo Mazzone tweeted yesterday to the Phillies’ official Twitter account: “I would be very interested in being your pitching coach. #championshipball.” But one source said his name had not been discussed.

So what’s next?

“We’re still doing our due diligence,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said today.

Asked if he is surprised or frustrated it has taken so long to find somebody to replace former pitching coach Rich Dubee, Amaro said, “We’re just trying to get the right guy. We’re still looking through candidates.”

He said he still likes some of the candidates the Phillies have interviewed, and possible candidates they have not interviewed. But clearly the Phillies have watched some of their favorites fall off the board.

7 Comments

Jamie Moyer! C’mon! :)

Why not bring Mazzone aboard, his long stay with the Braves was epic. He’s experienced and knows the job.

If the Phils don’t sign Chooch and they get an inexperienced pitching coach, They will suck next year. Rube doesn’t realize the importance of stability in those two positions that need to be filled. He’ll waste money on Salty and sign Vucovich because he is ….. welll….. a Vucovich.

An 80 year old Mazzone would be better than one of these no-name guys who have never been Big League pitching coaches.

I can’t believe Jamie Moyer isn’t on the list of contacts. Jamie may not be ready to officially retire, but he already has the respect of many of the pitching staff. If anyone can teach someone how to pitch when you don’t have your best stuff, it would be Jamie!

While Moyer may be a good choice, he’s stated he’s not interested in coaching. Waste of time to keep bringing up his name

There is WAY more to coaching than giving some advice here and there in the dugout on your off day. While Moyer was looked up to and willing to help guys, I doubt he would make a very good coach in the majors. Minors maybe, but major league guy needs to deal with a ton more BS and ego. I just hope the Phils go outside their organization for this position as the pitching culture top to bottom is lacking a common philosophy and needs to be gutted.

The longer it takes the Phils to sign a legit pitching coach, the more likely they will fill the position IN-HOUSE. All those guys would be novices at the MLB level. But then again, Ruben has successfully led the team down the road to decay……

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