Chiti’s departure came as a surprise
Coach wanted to stay, got no offer
The news that Orioles bullpen coach Dom Chiti was leaving the club to take a developmental position with the Atlanta Braves was a surprise for many within the organization. That leaves the Orioles in need of not only a replacement for pitching coach Dave Wallace but also a new bullpen coach.
Although their titles were different, Wallace — a veteran pitching coach who managed strong pitching staffs with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox and New York Mets — and Chiti worked closely on all major league pitching matters. Over their three years with the organization, their message resonated with an Orioles pitching staff that made significant strides.
While most in the Orioles organization expected this to be Wallace’s final year of major league coaching, Chiti was expected to return. Chiti said he planned to and wanted to remain the Orioles bullpen coach in 2017, but once his one-year contract with the team expired Monday without being renewed — and without a new offer from the club — he had to think of other options.
One opportunity emerged from the Atlanta Braves. A call from Braves president of baseball operations John Hart came Tuesday, asking whether he was available. He was, and within 48 hours, Chiti — along with Wallace — were heading to the Braves, with whom they worked together for several years helping develop Atlanta’s young pitchers.
Chiti will be the director of pitching, and Wallace will work as the special assistant to pitching. The moves were reported Wednesday by The Baltimore Sun and announced by the Braves on Thursday afternoon.
Chiti said he relished his time with the Orioles, an organization for which he was a player, coach and scout. He returned to the Orioles to be reunited with manager Buck Showalter. Chiti was the Texas Rangers bullpen coach in 2006, Showalter’s last of four seasons as manager of the club. Chiti said he regards Showalter as a brother, and after working with many Orioles pitchers who flourished under the tutelage of the experienced duo of himself and Wallace, he said he regarded his players as sons.
“The three years I spent in Baltimore will always be cherished, and they’ll be cherished from the opportunity to work with Buck, who I consider to be one of the best managers in the game, and also the opportunity to work with a lot of pitchers who were very special,” Chiti said.
Orioles l eft- hander Zach Britton, who became one of the game’s top closers under Wallace and Chiti, said he was “disappointed” to see Chiti go, but said he understood Chiti’s situation.
Once Wallace’s pitching coach job opened, filling that spot became the organization’s top priority, and executive vice president Dan Duquette said that took precedence.
“After we find the right match for the pitching coach, we’ll address the bullpen coach along with [input] from the new pitching coach.”