The Coaching Carousel: A Look At Coaches Expected To Be Coveted
The Coaching Carousel
A Look At Coaches Expected To Be Coveted
With the MLB Pro hiring freeze on personnel now lifted, rumors on who will be filling managerial and coaching openings at all levels of organizations will be rampant.
I spoke with general managers, scouts, and players and asked who they see as the next group of highly coveted coaches. The opinions and names they offered were not intended to produce the complete list of who’s next, but to get a feel for what’s out there.
- Desi Wilson: A four-time league champion minor-league manager and coming off of back-to-back playoff appearances with the Braves. Wilson won 184 games in two seasons with the Braves, including reaching the World Series this season. The 49 year-old from Glen Cove, New York should be highly desired for any MLB managerial opening.
- Tyrone Boykin: Boykin has been a prominent figure within the Angels minor-league coaching circle the last six seasons. A baseball lifer, Boykin is personable and someone who enjoys working with younger players.
- Wally Backman: Having spent 23 years coaching in baseball, Wally Backman is as respected as anyone. The 2017 Manager of the Year and manager of three-division championship teams is enough on its own, but when combined with the admiration players of all ages have for Backman, he should find a new home sooner rather than later.
- Jim Thome: Thome is coming off of a 99-41 season as manager of the Lynchburg Hillcats, a team in the Indians organization. While many were shocked the Tribe led a former face of the franchise go, some speculate Thome could be brought back. A teacher of the game and someone youngsters admire.
- Carlos Beltran: Recently retired from the game, but Beltran is looking to get back into the dugout now. At 41 years of age, Beltran relates to players both young and old. People expect Beltran to bring an exciting and aggressive style of the game to the ballpark each and every day.
- Mike Butcher: Butcher leaves Anaheim after guiding the Angels pitching staff for the past seven seasons. On the field, results showed year after year. Off the field, some grumblings popped up about a difference in opinion between Butcher and the organization. A pitching coach who prefers finesse pitchers and younger pitchers did not fit as the Angels continue to look to win now.
- Mitsuoki Hamada: The Japanese pitching guru who helped fine tune the Phillies fine pitching staff the past few seasons. A wonderful teacher of the game and someone who is able to get the most out of ground ball pitchers. Hamada could be coveted for a managerial opening as well.
- Andy Pettitte: After a long career on the mound, Pettitte has spent the past few years working on various minor league staffs. Pettitte has expressed a desire to find a job at the major league or AAA level where he feels he can relate better to veterans of the game. He is someone who will get the most out of pitchers who keep the ball on the ground.
- Jonathan Papelbon: While Papelbon had a reputation for ruffling the feathers of teammates, those around baseball believe Papelbon is ready to prove he can be an effective pitching coach. Those close to Papelbon have made it clear he wants to give back to the game that gave so much to him. He is ready to teach young pitchers what it takes to get to the big league level.
- Jeremy Affeldt: After a six-season MLB Pro career, Affeldt retired after the 2017 season. Affeldt spent 2018 back home in Spokane, Washington working with his high-school alma mater. Affeldt connected tremendously well with the pitchers at the school. After spending some time with his former manager Bruce Bochy, Affeldt realized he wants to pursue coaching and teaching young pitchers.
- Dana Levangie: When it comes to working with power pitchers, few do a better job than Dana Levangie. Levangie is not interested in becoming a manager, but is someone who can step in and immediately help improve the stuff of power pitchers within an organization.
- Jose Contreras: The former major league pitcher spent the past two years working at the low levels of the Chicago White Sox organization. Over time it became apparent that the message Contreras was trying to give to the young pitchers was not connecting. The now 46-year old is more suited in working with veteran pitchers.
- Brandon Webb: The former Diamondback great is ready to embark on a career in coaching. Known for his ability to keep the ball on the ground, Webb is ready to teach what he knows to both veterans and rookies alike.
- Jose Valverde: Valverde has spent some time working back in his home country of the Dominican Republic working with MLB pitchers during the offseason. Valverde is someone easy to get along with and makes playing the game fun. He speaks at a high-baseball IQ that makes it easier for him to relay his message to those that have been in the game for a longer amount of time.
- Will Ohman: Like Valverde, Will Ohman returned home to Germany to teach the art of pitching. The “Will Ohman Pitching Academy” became a staple for any European pitcher to visit. Ohman does a terrific job making a clear message for young pitchers to understand.
- Greg Walker: Since 2012, Greg Walker has worked with players across numerous levels of the game. Having spent time at the MLB level with the Braves, Indians, and White Sox and at the minor league level with the Mahoning Valley Scappers and most recently the Nashville Sounds, Walker is a superb teacher of the art of hitting. Some insiders believe he is stubborn when it comes to helping out in other ways around the clubhouse, but no one disagrees that when it comes to teaching hitting, Greg Walker is as fine as they come.
- David Wright: Despite a gruesome injury in which Wright fractured his fibula and was forced to retire after the season ended, Wright made it clear that he wanted to stay close to the game. Wright led MLB pro in walks as recently as 2017 and finished second in walks three times. In addition to tremendous patience, Wright showed power and all together knows how to hit. He was always respected and is someone that can get any message across to any type of player.
- Jayson Werth: Remember most for his three grand slams during his 2016 season with Pawtucket, Jayson Werth showed power, but too often strugged with inconsistency. Since retiring from the game, Werth has spent time in broadcasting where he has shown a keen ability to breakdown the approach of hitters. Many believe Werth will be able to connect with players both young and old in reworking the little things, both in the batters box and running the bases.
- Matt Stairs: A leading member of Baseball Canada during recent World Baseball Classic tournaments, Stairs helped Team Canada build a reputation for being experts of the strike-zone. He preached patience and was able to help make Team Canada a team opposing pitchers did not want to see.
- Phil Nevin: Nevin hit more than 200 homers across 12 big-league seasons. He has turned into a well-regarded instructor back with his alma mater Cal State Fullerton. He is a coach that has helped improve both the hitting and fielding of members of the Titan team. The former catcher turned infielder has plenty of big league knowledge and should be able to work with any player.
- Josh Hamilton: No one will argue the qualifications of Josh Hamilton. A terrific hitter and someone with immense knowledge of standing in the batters box, the only concern with Hamilton is the fit. He can be temperamental and that style of coaching will not work for everyone.
- Dante Bichette: Bichette’s contract was not renewed after his season working with the Grand Junction Rockies. Bichette, like Josh Hamilton, needs the right fit to be effective. Bichette is very personable and friendly, almost to a fault. Veteran players do not believe Bichette is willing to help teach at all costs. Younger players tend to connect well with Bichette and are able to learn quite a bit.