Caleb Cotham is the favorite to become the next Phillies pitching coach
The Philadelphia Phillies could soon have a new pitching coach to replace the recently retired Bryan Price — Caleb Cotham, currently of the Cincinnati Reds.
The Reds hired Cotham in January 2019 as assistant pitching coach; the following October, he was promoted to assistant pitching coach and director of pitching; now, he could receive a promotion for the third straight offseason as Phillies pitching coach. According to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury, the 33-year-old has “emerged as the clear frontrunner” for the open position. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that the team hopes to finalize a deal with Cotham next week.
“Cotham has a chemistry with Phillies manager Joe Girardi,” Salisbury writes. “He pitched in the majors, breaking in with Girardi’s 2015 Yankees. He appeared in 35 games over two seasons with the Yankees and Reds.”
The Phils have reportedly interviewed at least six candidates for their pitching coach position. Among them, in addition to Cotham, includes their current assistant pitching coach Dave Lundquist and minor-league pitching coordinator Rafael Chaves, as well as 2008 World Series champion pitching coach Rich Dubee and Astros bullpen coach Josh Miller, Salisbury reports.
If hired, the Tennessee native would become the fifth different Phillies pitching coach in as many seasons, joining Price, Chris Young, Rick Kranitz, and Bob McClure. Cotham was selected by the Yankees in the fifth round of the 2009 draft; in December 2015, he was dealt to the Reds as part of the Aroldis Chapman trade.
Salisbury’s report comes less than one day after The Athletic’s Jayson Stark reported the Phillies are on the brink of interviewing candidates for their front office vacancies.
Even if the Phils do hire Cotham, their coaching staff search under Girardi may still continue, as bullpen coach Jim Gott‘s contract was not renewed for the 2021 season. It is not clear, however, if the Phillies will stick with internal options to fill that position.