Bryan Price has walked away as Phillies pitching coach, despite two years remaining on his contract.
This offseason, the Philadelphia Phillies will now have to add finding a new pitching coach to their agenda, following the unexpected resignation of Bryan Price that became official Sunday evening.
Phillies manager Joe Girardi was even caught off-guard that the 58-year-old — who was the first coaching hire he made to his staff last fall — decided to step away after just one season with the team.
“We were all shocked because he fit in so well,” the 2009 World Series-winning skipper told reporters, adding that he only knew of Price’s decision just hours before it became official. “He decided it was time.”
Now, Girardi plans to discuss the coaching vacancy with Ned Rice, who is currently serving as Interim GM following Matt Klentak‘s departure.
Whether or not the GM vacancy will be filled remains to be seen, although it is certain that the Phillies will need a new pitching coach. Among the qualities Girardi wants in Price’s replacement is someone who can communicate well and, like Price, blend analytics with pitching techniques “to get the most out of a pitcher,” The Athletic’s Meghan Montemurro reports.
With Price stepping down, the 2021 season will feature the fifth different Phillies pitching coach in as many years — with the new coach joining Price (2020), Chris Young (2019), Rick Kranitz (2018), and Bob McClure (2017).
Bryan Price explains his decision to retire
Price told reporters that he did not step away from coaching full-time because of the Phillies’ underwhelming bullpen performance — which finished with the second-worst ERA (7.06) in Major League Baseball history, behind only the 1930 Phillies (8.01).
“This decision had nothing to do with performance,” said Price, who reportedly turned down offers from at least two other teams, the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres, before deciding to don red pinstripes last offseason. “If we won the World Series, I don’t think my decision would have been any different.”
Rather, Price said his decision to walk away instead is related to uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 crisis, and summer days spent without his loved ones nearby. These combined factors made him realize that he wanted to be around his family more — including his wife of nearly 30 years — at their Phoenix, Arizona, residence.
“By the end of the season, I knew I’d had enough being full-time on the field,” Price told reporters. “The unknown of where we’re going with the COVID stuff and the possibility of more limitations in the future … being unable to spend time with family for three months is not something I want in the future again.”