Duquette hopes to find pitching coach this week
Team must also replace Chiti, Peterson; fans can expect slow early offseason
Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said Thursday that he hopes the team’s search for a pitching coach to replace Dave Wallace on the major league coaching staff will end soon.
“We’re still working on the pitching coach and trying to get something resolved this week,” Duquette said. “So we had some good candidates [interviewed], and we’ve had some productive talks after we interviewed the candidates.”
The team has interviewed former Atlanta Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell and Double-A Bowie pitching coach Alan Mills, among others. Duquette said Thursday on the Orioles’ “Hot Stove” radio show on105.7 The Fan that New York Mets minor league pitching coach Frank Viola, St. Louis Cardinals minor league pitching coordinator Tim Leveque and Texas Rangers minor league pitching coordinator Danny Clark also interviewed.
The Orioles have been without a pitching coach since just after the season ended, when Wallace retired from active major league coaching shortly after the club lost the American League wild-card game. Wallace and bullpen coach Dom Chiti ended up back with the Braves, where the former will be a special assistant in the front office and the latter will be director of pitching development.
They’re also going to have to fill the role of Rick Peterson, who spent five years as the Orioles’ director of pitching development and oversaw several success stories through the minor leagues but will not return for 2017 either.
Replacing their collective decades of experience will be difficult but allows the new regime on the pitching side to present a unified voice, as opposed to melding returning coaches to a newcomer’s vision.
“Pitching is an important part of any club,” Duquette said. “So we’ve got some good veteran, accomplished baseball people. The challenge now is to replace them, and we’re not going to have the experience in these coaches that we had. They’re not going to have the volume of experience that Wallace and Peterson and Chiti brought to the organization, but hopefully we’ll be able to find some coaches to help continue to develop our pitching.” No big early splash: Duquette said on Thursday’s program that the early part of Dan Duquette told Orioles fans not to expect a “big splashy offseason.” the offseason might be slow for the Orioles.
“I can’t tell you this is going to be a big splashy offseason,” Duquette said. “We spent a lot of money last year. We staffed our team, we made the playoffs again and a lot of those players are coming back. We are going to fill the holes, get a little more athletic in the outfield, look for some catching depth, try to get better on-base capability — those are all things we’re going to be looking to improve in the offseason.”
Earlier in the show, while discussing the potential departure of free-agent slugger Mark Trumbo and the possibility of rookie Trey Mancini replacing him in the lineup, Duquette mentioned a right fielder, a designated hitter and a platoon partner for left fielder Hyun Soo Kim as priorities as well.
There was some tempering of expectations as to when that would happen, though.
“The fans that have followed the club closely know that we build the roster year-round, and we don’t try to win the division in December and November, but we try to make good decisions so that we have the team staffed appropriately and we have good players,” Duquette said. “We’re very methodical, and we’re critical of who we bring onto the team. There’s a good reason for that. Wewant a good fit, the job to match the player and the player to match the job, and the player to fit into the clubhouse and play good defense.”