The Orioles have received permission to interview several external candidates for their vacant pitching coach position, with one of the higher profile interviewees coming to Baltimore on Wednesday, according to industry sources.
Current Seattle Mariners pitching coach Carl Willis will be the second candidate to interview with executive vice president Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter. On Tuesday, the Orioles’ brass is scheduled to meet with Rich Dubee, who had been the Philadelphia Phillies pitching coach before being relieved of his duties in September.
Of the four known external candidates to replace Rick Adair, only Dubee is not under contract with another organization.
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Willis’ deal with the Mariners runs through the 2014 season and teams typically don’t allow permission for lateral moves. But since Seattle is without a manager and a new skipper may want to bring in his own staff, Willis was permitted to talk with the Orioles.
Two other candidates, Texas Rangers bullpen coach Andy Hawkins and Atlanta Braves minor league pitching coordinator Dave Wallace, are also expected to interview in the next several days.
The Orioles received permission to talk to both Hawkins and Wallace, sources said. In both instances, major league pitching coach is considered a step above their current positions.
The club could also interview some internal candidates, but that likely would occur, if it happens, after the round of external interviews is completed.
Willis, 52, has an impressive resume which includes coaching three American League Cy Young Award winners (Cliff Lee, 2008, Cleveland; CC Sabathia, 2007, Cleveland, and Felix Hernandez, whom he coached for the final two months of the 2010 season in Seattle).
A Danville, Va., native who currently lives in North Carolina, Willis was the Cleveland Indians’ pitching coach from 2003 to 2009 and held the same role with the Mariners since August 2010. He pitched for four different major league teams and was a key reliever for the 1991 World Champion Minnesota Twins. He also worked with Showalter in 2007 when the current Orioles manager was a special assistant for the Indians.
Dubee, 56, spent nine seasons as the Phillies pitching coach, winning a World Series championship in 2008 and a National League pennant in 2009. In 2010, he coached National League Cy Young winner Roy Halladay and Dubee’s 2011 staff led the majors in ERA. It fell off dramatically the past two seasons and Dubee’s contract was not renewed at the end of this season.
Dubee grew up in Bridgewater, Mass., and currently lives in Sarasota, Fla., where the Orioles train. He spent six seasons as a minor league pitcher and was a minor league pitching coach in the Montreal Expos organization while Duquette was the Expos’ general manager.
Wallace, 66, has spent the past four seasons as the Braves’ minor league pitching coordinator, but has been a pitching coach in the majors for four different teams: the Houston Astros (2007), the Boston Red Sox (2003 to 2006), the New York Mets (1999-2000) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (1995-97). He won a World Series title with the Red Sox in 2004.
Wallace, a Connecticut native who currently lives in Massachusetts, pitched briefly in the majors for the Phillies (1973-74) and the Toronto Blue Jays (1978) and also served in the front office for the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets.
Hawkins, 53, is the only one of the four that does not have extensive big league pitching coaching experience, but he has spent the past five years running the Rangers’ bullpen. A Texas native, he also served as the Rangers’ interim pitching coach in 2008.
Hawkins spent 10 years as a major league pitcher, winning 18 games for the San Diego Padres in 1985 and is the only person to ever win a World Series game for the Padres (1984). He was a minor league coach in the Rangers’ system during most of Showalter’s tenure managing the Rangers.