The Orioles' search for a new pitching coach brought them a number of impressive, experienced candidates.
But when the Orioles decided on who would replace Rick Adair, they turned to Braves minor league pitching coordinator Dave Wallace, who has a strong reputation of developing arms at the major league level.
Wallace, 66, has a decade of experience as a major league pitching coach, including two years on World Series teams and one championship (2004 Boston Red Sox).
"Dave Wallace is a successful veteran pitching coach," Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said. "He's an excellent teacher. His staffs are known for his starters pitching a lot of innings and keeping the ball in the ballpark and throwing strikes. His experience and leadership helped the Mets and Red Sox win pennants, and his veteran presence should be a good addition to the Orioles. ... He's a real pro. He can do a lot to help this organization."
The Orioles selected Wallace from a list of a dozen candidates, including Mariners pitching coach Carl Willis, former Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee and Rangers bullpen coach Andy Hawkins.
Internal candidates such as bullpen coach Bill Castro, who filled in as pitching coach when Adair took a leave of absence in August; Triple-A Norfolk pitching coach Mike Griffin; interim bullpen coach Scott McGregor; and pitching coordinator Rick Peterson were also considered.
"We looked at it and said, 'We've got a tough call here,'" Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "But who we are, what we are, Dave fit us the best. … If you look at the job description in our situation, Dave was the perfect fit."
Wallace has been pitching coach for the Dodgers (1995-1997), Mets (1999-2000), Red Sox (2003-2006) and Astros (2007).
"I'm looking forward to that fresh set of eyes, not only teaching but evaluating," Showalter said. "We've got a bunch of guys out of options. If I'm a pitcher at home right now, I'm going, 'Wow, I've got a fresh start with a new guy.' I'm looking at what we have and how we can get it the best it can be. It's as simple at that."
In finding a replacement for Adair, who took a leave of absence in August and won't return to the club next season, the Orioles were searching for a coach with a history of developing existing pitching at the major league level. Duquette has said that it's more likely that the organization will continue to improve its current stable of pitchers rather than upgrade via the free-agent market.
"Dave has been successful with young pitchers and veteran pitchers develop and get the most of their abilities," Duquette said.
Over the past four years, Wallace was responsible for the development of the Braves' minor league pitchers. Before joining Atlanta, Wallace was a special assistant to the general manager for the Seattle Mariners in 2008 and 2009.
"A lot of guys who are really great pitchers weren't at one time," Showalter said. "Dave, I feel like, will take guys to their potential and also tell me when he thinks it's just not there, that it's not going to happen. I want to hear it. I get too close to it. He's going to tell me. He's not going to knee-jerk anything. We're very lucky to have the wisdom of Dave Wallace. He's only going to make us better."
Showalter said Wallace will have a lot of input on the club's bullpen coach hire. Castro and McGregor are candidates for that job.
"I'll present the in-house candidates and see what he has to say," Showalter said. "Probably, at the end of the day, he's going to have that call."
At a glance
Name: Dave Wallace
Birthplace: Waterbury, Conn.
Resides: Wrentham, Mass.
Most recent position: Atlanta Braves' minor league pitching coordinator
Major league pitching coach experience: Houston Astros (2007), Boston Red Sox (2003-2006), New York Mets (1999-2000), Los Angeles Dodgers (1995-1997).
Major league playing experience: A right-handed reliever, he made a total of 13 appearances in the major leagues, going 0-1 with a 7.84 ERA in 20 2/3 combined innings for the Philadelphia Phillies (1973-74) and the Toronto Blue Jays (1978).
Other: Wallace was 48-37 with a 4.13 ERA and 60 career saves in 363 games (34 starts) in 12 minor league seasons. … He has been with the Braves and their vaunted minor league pitching system since 2010. … He spent 20 years as a coach and executive in the Dodgers organization, including 17 straight seasons from 1981-1997. He also worked for the Dodgers from 2001 to 2003 as the senior vice president of baseball operations and, in 2001, was the Dodgers' interim general manager. … Wallace won a World Series title with the Boston Red Sox (2004) and a National League championship with the New York Mets (2000). … Before joining the Braves in 2010, he was with the Seattle Mariners as a special assistant to the general manager in 2008-2009.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun