Results tagged ‘ Reid Cornelius ’

Pitching Coach Search Continues …

While the Red Sox and Cardinals play in the World Series, the Phillies continue their search for a pitching coach to replace Rich Dubee.

Bryan Price had been atop their list, but the Reds recently named him manager. The Phillies have interviewed at least five candidates: Phillies bullpen coach Rod Nichols, Marlins bullpen coach Reid Cornelius, Pirates special assistant to the general manager Jim Benedict, Triple-A Lehigh Valley pitching coach Ray Burris and Neil Allen, who is the pitching coach for Tampa Bay’s Triple-A affiliate.

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

Amaro said they still could interview others candidates.

Sources earlier this week told MLB.com the Phillies could make contact with Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell. He has been invited to return to Atlanta next season, but he has not signed his contract. It is expected to arrive before the end of the month, but once his agreement for 2013 ends the Phillies can contact him.

McDowell Possibility for Pitching Coach?

Former Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee interviewed today for the Orioles pitching coach vacancy.

Meanwhile, the Phillies continue to search for his replacement.

Two candidates to interview are Rod Nichols, who served as Phillies bullpen coach this season, and Marlins bullpen coach Reid Cornelius, which the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported. It also is likely they have interviewed Triple-A pitching coach Ray Burris. But here is an interesting name to watch: Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell. Sources indicated Tuesday the Phillies could approach McDowell about their vacancy.

McDowell has been invited to return to Atlanta next season, but he has not received or signed a contract. It is expected to arrive before his agreement for the 2013 season ends at the end of the month, but that could leave an opening for the Phillies to jump in.

McDowell, who pitched for the Phillies from 1989-91, has been Atlanta’s pitching coach the past eight seasons. The Braves had several notable injuries to their pitching staff this season, but still posted a big-league best 3.18 ERA. Braves pitchers and catchers routinely praise McDowell.

“We’re still working through it,” general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said last week about the pitching coach search. “We’re still doing our due diligence. We’ve seen a few we’ve really liked, but we’re continuing the search. We’re still working through candidates.”

McDowell, if approached, would be a big one.

Finding a Numbers Guy

Amaro Talks Werth, Getting Old and MoreRuben Amaro Jr. grabbed the attention of Phillies fans last month when he mentioned the team planned to hire an analytics person to help with player evaluation.

Sabermetrics had not interested the Phillies in the past, but Amaro said they “owe it to ourselves to look at some other ways to evaluate.”

Amaro said recently they are getting close to hiring somebody.

“I think it’s just a matter of getting more information,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s going to change the way we do business, necessarily. We still plan to be a scouting and player development organization, but I think it’s important to get all the information and analyze not just what we’re doing but how other clubs are evaluating players when we talk about possible trades and other sorts of things.”

The Phillies have been working with the Commissioner’s Office during their search. Major League Baseball’s Labor Relations Department works closely with teams and has helped make personnel recommendations in the past. The LRD also has developed resources for baseball operations staffs, including former employees like Pirates president Frank Coonelly and a number of assistant general managers.

Asked if he looked back at recent personnel decisions and wondered if analytics would have helped steer him toward or away from particular players, Amaro said, “Not specifically, no. Again, we believe in our scouts and the things that they recommend. We’re not going to be 100 percent right all the time. But we want to be more right than wrong. We just have to do a better job of targeting the right guys.”

How much the Phillies use analytics or value the new hire’s findings remains to be seen. But there will be plenty of information to consider.

As an example, when the Phillies signed Delmon Young to a one-year, $750,000 deal in January, they mentioned he had 74 RBIs in 2012 hitting behind Tigers sluggers Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, the implication being Young “produced” and would have had more RBIs had Cabrera and Fielder not taken RBI opportunities from him. But if they had examined the numbers more closely they would have discovered Young actually ranked 20th in baseball in 2012 with 415 runners on base when he came to the plate. He knocked in just 13.5 percent of those runners, which ranked 96th out of 135 qualifying players.

In other words, he had a ton of RBI opportunities in 2012, even with Cabrera and Fielder in the lineup, but did a poor job knocking them in.

That is just one small example of how numbers can help. Maybe regardless of those numbers — including Young’s low on-base percentage (21 points lower than the average outfielder from 2006-12) and OPS (29 points lower than the average outfielder from 2006-12) the Phillies sign Young anyway because it was a low-risk deal. Or maybe they say, “Hey, the odds are against Young helping us like we need him to help us,” and they look in a different direction.

Will they delve deeply into Roy Halladay‘s numbers this offseason? Doc’s 5.15 ERA the past two seasons ranks 161st out of 169 qualifying pitchers in baseball. Fangraphs.com found pitchers over 35 — Halladay turns 37 in May — who went on the DL for any sort of shoulder injury only averaged 59 innings the rest of their career. Halladay pitched 27 2/3 innings following right shoulder surgery in May. Do the Phillies consider those numbers and pass? Or do they believe Halladay’s reputation as a “gamer” and hard worker is enough to beat the odds?

It will be interesting to find out.

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Random things from the past week:

  • I’ve plenty on Twitter today about Domonic Brown wearing a Cowboys jersey at yesterday’s game at the Linc. (Gasp!) I think what’s funny is absolutely nobody noticed Mike Adams standing over his right shoulder.
  • Everybody has seen the photo of Bryan Cranston wearing a Phillies jersey during an outtake of Breaking Bad. Once the photo hit Twitter word quickly spread (with plenty of Philly-based news organizations picking it up) that Cranston wore the jersey because he is a Phillies fan. Of course, a simple Google search showed Cranston is a diehard Dodgers fan. I contacted AMC publicity about the photo. Its response: “The shot was taken during the World Series of 2009 (Yankees vs. Phillies). Bryan is definitely a Dodgers fan, but I believe he was rooting for the Phillies in that series. As a gag, (while shooting ep #307 “One Minute”) he did a take with the jersey on.”
  • A report the Phillies resigned Michael Martinez is not true.
  • Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported the Phillies will interview bullpen coach Reid Cornelius for their pitching coach vacancy. Former Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee interviews tomorrow with the Orioles.
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