Results tagged ‘ Pirates ’

Some coaching thoughts..

The Mets have hired Terry Collins as their next manager and multiple reports have speculated that Collins could bring in close friend Dave Wallace to serve as pitching coach, although Dan Warthen did an admirable job this season.  The Pirates are also closing in on naming a coaching staff for new manager Clint Hurdle, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, with four hires expected to be made official soon. 

So, it’s safe to say Rick Adair isn’t going off to greener pastures and will be the O’s bullpen coach for next season. Manager Buck Showalter is down to one final coaching spot, although it could be either third base or bench coach that gets filled depending on his last hire. Former Pirates skipper John Russell could serve either position and it stands to reason that he would be bench coach if Showalter promotes Bobby Dickerson –the O’s roving Minor League instructor turned interim Triple-A manager –to his big-league staff. The pair haven’t spoken formally about that, but Showalter knows Dickerson well from their days in the Yankees’ Minor Leagues.  If Dickerson isn’t named to Showalter’s staff, he will return to his role as roving instructor, assuming Gary Allenson heads back to manage Triple-A Norfolk.

It’s less clear what would happen if Showalter hires Rob Thomson –who has served as the Yankees third base and bench coach — or former Mets skipper Willie Randolph, who is fresh off a one-season stint as Brewers bench coach.

Those scenarios are still under discussion and Showalter has done a pretty good job of keeping his cards close to the vest. Thomson is well thought of in the Yankees organization and could be hard to lure away, while Randolph is a baseball lifer who would jump at the chance to join Showalter’s staff.  While some former managers would consider joining a staff only in terms of whether the situation would help them “get ahead” for another gig, Randolph has a passion for teaching and instruction and a friendship with Showalter that extends beyond baseball.

A final decision could come in the next few days, particularly now that the Mets and Pirates made headway in filling some vacancies on Sunday night.

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Russell expected to be bench coach

The Orioles’ coaching staff is one step closer to completion, as a Major League source confirmed on Monday afternoon that the organization is expected to name former Pirates skipper John Russell bench coach.

Russell interviewed with O’s manager Buck Showalter over the weekend in Baltimore and has yet to agree contractually, but according to the source “all wheels are in motion” and as of Monday afternoon it looks to be nearly a done deal.  Russell is expected to speak with president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail -who is in Orlando, Fla. for Tuesday’s general manager meetings – to hammer out details in the next few days.

Russell was named manager of the Pirates on November 5, 2007 but became one of three Major League managers dismissed a day after the 2010 season ended. He finished with a record of 186-299 in Pittsburgh and is still under contract through 2011, meaning that the Pirates will be responsible for paying the rest of his salary.

A former big-league catcher, Russell brings the Major League coaching experience Showalter wanted as well as the expertise to work with young O’s backstop Matt Wieters. Russell played part of 10 seasons in the Majors, including five with the Phillies, who selected him in the first-round of the ’82 Draft.

Following his playing days, Russell managed in the Minnesota Twins and Phillies Minor League systems before taking over the helm in Pittsburgh. He will be the fifth coach hired under new manager Buck Showalter, who will bring in Jim Presley (hitting coach), Mark Connor (pitching coach), Rick Adair (bullpen coach) and Wayne Kirby (first base/outfield).

The only remaining position to be filled on staff is that of third base coach, which could be done by retaining Gary Allenson or bringing in another external candidate. Whoever fills the role will likely have an infield background given that former leading candidate Juan Samuel -who was hired away by the Phillies – chose to decline the Orioles offer, leaving Showalter without a specific infield coach. 

Russell’s hiring is not official and both Showalter and MacPhail have declined to comment on the record until the entire 2011 staff is in place. Should Allenson not be on Showalter’s staff, he has been offered a position managing Triple-A Norfolk, which is where he started last season.

*Also, the Orioles have agreed to terms with Minor League free agent Mitch Atkins. A right-handed pitcher who spent time with the Cubs last season, Atkins will also get an invite to big league Spring Training.