Sometimes it’s easier to put these things into a question-and-answer format, and since I’ve gotten a bunch of questions from readers about what’s next for the Orioles and their pitching coach situation, that’s what we’ll do.
If you want to take a look at potential candidates, check out this piece that ran Friday morning.
What type/style of pitching coach will the Orioles seek?
My sense is they are looking for experience. Manager Buck Showalter has a rather experienced staff, and I think he’ll add to that with someone who has already done the job in the majors. I wouldn’t say the new hire absolutely has to have been a major league pitching coach in the past, but I think that is the way Showalter and executive vice president Dan Duquette will be leaning. Showalter’s not a fan of wallflowers, either. So expect the pitching coach to be someone not afraid to speak his mind.
Whose decision is this, Showalter’s or Duquette’s?
My sense is that it will be a joint decision. Duquette’s ultimately the boss, but it is Showalter’s staff, and he has to be comfortable with whoever takes the job. I’m not sure which has more say in this matter, but I assume that it won’t come to that. Remember, Showalter has had four pitching coaches, but Mark Connor was the only one he hired for that specific role. So this is a big decision for him and the club, and I’m sure Duquette sees it that way as well.
Will they promote from within?
I think it is possible, but it's more likely they hire someone from outside. I think they’d like a fresh voice and someone who has had success in another organization. That said, if they can’t find the right person from outside, they could look internally. Bill Castro, who took over for Rick Adair in August, is apparently still in the mix, though I think it is more likely he ends up in another role in the organization or, potentially, back in charge of the bullpen.
How intertwined are the pitching coach and bullpen coach positions?
Because they have to work so closely together, I’d be surprised if the new pitching coach didn’t have a say in who is hired to be the bullpen coach. So my sense is that the pitching coach will be named, and then there will be a decision made as to whether Castro, Scott McGregor — who took over for Castro when he was promoted in August — or someone else will be the bullpen coach.
Will Triple-A Norfolk pitching coach Mike Griffin be considered?
I think he’ll be considered; he’s obviously had a lot of success with some of the younger pitchers. But, again, I believe the hire will be an outsider with big league coaching experience, and that would leave Griffin in Norfolk.
What about director of pitching development Rick Peterson?
He certainly fits the “successful and experienced” former pitching coach label. And he has a big fan in Duquette, who has championed Peterson’s biomechanical research. When Peterson was brought in, he was widely viewed as the heir apparent to Adair, but he has settled into his minor league role smoothly. It would be interesting to see how Peterson and Showalter, both strong personalities with their own philosophies, would co-exist. My sense is that Peterson won’t be hired for that spot, but stranger things have happened.
Who is the leading candidate?
Too early to know for sure. But former Philadelphia Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee is scheduled to be interviewed on Tuesday, and he fits the profile pretty well. And he knows Duquette from their time in the Montreal Expos organization.
Would Jim Palmer be a possibility?
I’ve been asked this several times this week, so I’ll answer it the best I can. There’s no question the Hall of Famer knows pitching, but Palmer is very comfortable as a MASN broadcaster. He’s not required to do all of the games, so he can attend to family matters and other responsibilities that he enjoys during the season.