Cleaning out the notebook while getting ready for the World Series.
The Baltimore Orioles’ announcement last week that pitching coach Rick Adair will not be returning has prompted a flood of speculation over whom the team will hire. Adair had left the team late in the season to be with his ailing father, who since passed away.
It is known the club will interview recently fired Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee on Tuesday. Word comes tonight that the Seattle Mariners have given pitching coach Carl Willis permission to interview with Duquette, and that this will happen Wednesday. Various reports from The Sun’s Dan Connolly also say Texas Rangers bullpen coach Andy Hawkins and 66-year-old Atlanta Braves pitching coordinator Dave Wallace are in the Orioles’ sights.
Dubee was let go by the Phillies two weeks ago after spending nine seasons as Charlie Manuel’s right-hand man. Dubee was an Expos minor league pitching coach back when current Orioles Executive Vice President Dan Duquette was Montreal’s GM. Other candidates from outside the organization amount to pure conjecture, but going outside for the hire in order to get a pitching coach with major league experience may be Duquette’s preference.
That would seem to leave out of the mix someone like Mike Griffin, the Orioles’ Triple A Norfolk pitching coach. He has a track record of fixing whatever went wrong with, let’s say, numerous Orioles starting pitchers who were sent down after turning in sub-par stretches with the O’s.
That is, as a general rule, they pitched better for Norfolk after being demoted than they had for the Orioles, which would be a small problem and not the way things are supposed to work. Is the remedy to bring Griffin to Camden Yards, since they apparently respond to him?
Bill Castro shifted from bullpen coach to interim pitching coach when Adair took his leave, and former Oriole 20-game winner Scott McGregor served as bullpen coach for the balance of the season, so those two are also in-house candidates.
The most popular choice of all, from a sampling of opinion on other blogs, would be Jim Palmer, who recently celebrated birthday number 68, but he is on record as not wanting the job. Too old for that many headaches? Too old for the amount of travel? Both seem possible. But he has never been interested in the job at any other time, either.
Theory No. 3: He is concerned today’s pitchers couldn’t equal what was once his work ethic and perfectionism.
At any rate, we began by mentioning this thing called the World Series that starts Wednesday. Most Oriole fans ran out of teams to root for when the Rays lost to the Red Sox, and then when the Tigers lost the ALCS to the Red Sox, but the Sox remain the team to root against. That means pulling for the Cardinals. But there’s one and only one redeeming factor associated with the Red Sox. Koji. The man who breaks hearts in Baltimore every time he closes a game that should have been an Orioles win.
It hurts a little less when you realize his trade to Texas two years ago brought Chris Davis to Camden Yards. But it doesn’t stop hurting.