The Coaching Carousel

Since the end of the regular season, there has been a veritable carousel of coaching changes that have occurred around baseball. Now with the off-season just a couple of weeks old, we’re beginning to hear names associated with various jobs around the league.

The Arizona Diamondbacks are heavily involved having placed several coaches on the carousel themselves. I thought it might be interesting to look at what we know right now.

Today Diamondbacks manager AJ Hinch announced that he has completed defining the candidate pool he would like to speak to regarding openings on his staff for first base coach and third base coach.

ajhinchHe refused to name any potential candidates and set the timeline that he expected to begin interviews shortly with hopes of making a decision in early November. He was adamant in saying that the hiring decisions were his and that General Manager Josh Byrnes would not be making the decisions.

That statement seemed out of place to me and I wonder how much influence Byrnes is giving Hinch in this process. Hopefully Hinch is empowered to hire whomever he wants without having the Baseball Operations staff meddle in the process.

Displaced third base coach Chip Hale is working the phones reaching out to colleagues to let them know his availability. Given Hale’s coaching track record I would expect to see him back in uniform perhaps in a minor league manager role before Spring Training 2010.

Lorenzo Bundy is not actively pursuing a new position right now. Shortly after his dismissal he underwent surgery so he will be resting for a bit before mapping out his future career goals.

Last week it was rumored that former Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin had applied for the Houston Astros manager job. He joins former Diamondbacks interim manager Al Pedrique as candidates.

Former Houston Astros manager Phil Gardner called the Astros to recommend Melvin for the job. While on the phone he inquired whether Houston would consider rehiring him. Kudos to Garner for giving Melvin a vote of confidence but it’s kind of messed up to then ask the team if they would hire him instead.

Melvin’s former pitching coach Bryan Price is no longer unemployed. Word surfaced over the weekend that he had signed on to be the pitching coach for Dusty Baker and the Cincinnati Reds. Given Baker’s coaching style and usage of pitchers Price may live to regret that decision. Price will be reunited with former Diamondbacks pitcher Micah Owings who Price had all but given up on in Arizona. It will be interesting to see how that one plays out.

The Diamondbacks signed bench coach Kirk Gibson to a two-year deal to come back as Hinch’s right-hand man. They also expressed commitment to bullpen coach Glen Sherlock wanting to have him back for 2010. So far though no contract has been granted to Sherlock making you wonder what is holding that up?

Sherlock is the only coach to have been with the Diamondbacks since their inaugural season. It would be difficult to imagine anyone else working with the catchers or managing the bullpen for the Diamondbacks. Hopefully we’ll see Sherlock for years to come in a Diamondbacks uniform.

So for the next few weeks expect to see the horses going around the carousel as coaches reach out trying to grab that elusive golden ring. Hopefully the Diamondbacks will find the right people for the jobs. The last thing any of us want is for them to hire a couple of carnies.


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