After Atlanta’s Roger McDowell signed an extension to stay with the Braves, the Phillies appear to be no closer to filling their vacancy at the pitching coach position.
The Phillies were heavily rumored to be in pursuit of McDowell to serve as their pitching coach, but he recently signed a two-year deal to remain with Atlanta. It is obvious why the Phillies sought out McDowell. The Braves led the majors in team ERA in 2013, and they have had several young relievers pitch well for them over the past few years.
On the other hand, the Phillies have had more than a few young relief pitchers struggle over the last two seasons. They probably hoped that McDowell would be able to get players like Justin DeFratus and Phillipe Aumont to finally live up to their considerable hype.
It isn’t clear if McDowell had legitimate interest in the Phillies position, or was just using it as leverage in order to get a longer, more expensive contract with the Braves. Prior to this weekend, it was believed that the Braves had only offered McDowell a one-year contract.
Now that McDowell is out of the picture, the leading candidates are thought to be current bullpen coach Rod Nichols and Marlins pitching coach Reid Cornelius. For some reason, the prospect of luring a coach from the staff of the Marlins seems less than ideal.
If you are of the opinion that the coach makes a big difference in a pitching staff’s performance, then this is probably frustrating news. Then again, the 76ers recently underwent a similarly prolonged search to find a head coach, and thus far, it seems to be working out well for them. Does this mean that similar success awaits the Phillies pitching staff in 2014? We shall see.