Throughout all the excitement the suddenly hot O’s have generated, some much needed attention has been taken away from the rest of the coaching staff. They are just as responsible for the horrific showing of the Orioles the last few years, and it’s never too soon to start cleaning house as far as I’m concerned.
I can’t think of one good thing Rick Kranitz has done to/for the pitching staff during his tenure that would merit another year here. I do know the O’s pitching staff is tied for 2nd to last in team ERA this year, were last in 2009, and were again 2nd to last in 2008. Shouldn’t there be some sort of improvement? One can only blame young pitchers for so long. As a pitching coach you have to at least make the young guys better, and that’s not even being done. It sometimes feels like we’re just watching the O’s coaching staff ruin every single one of our young arms, to the point where they’re not even suited for the bullpen by the time they’ve been run through our system. I don’t think you can give him credit for the “success” of Jeremy Guthrie either. I’ve always been of the opinion that JG was on the cusp of being a stud when we got him, and he just hasn’t really improved. He’s still where he was in 2007, on the cusp of being really good (and getting terrible run support).
Which brings us to a sensitive subject, Terry Crowley. I personally have been a huge fan and supporter of the Crow for years. The team batting statistics for the last few years haven’t been as bad as our record would suggest. Top half of MLB in Runs Scored and Team Batting Average on a pretty consistent basis. I’d go so far as to say that he is one of the best hitting coaches out there. Unfortunately, the developement of Matt Wieters as a top tier slugger is at a halt, Nick Markakis’ power is way down, and Adam Jones looked like he was getting no help whatsoever early in the year on the low/outside or eyeball-high fastballs. Maybe Jones and Wieters are putting too much pressure on themselves. And Markakis is certainly just trying to get the ball in play rather than pull as much, his league leading 38 doubles is a testament to that. Clearly there needs to be another bat in the middle to protect these guys. But like everything else, a finger has to be pointed, and it ends up pointed at Crowely.
If Buck really wants to show the O’s fanbase that he’s committed to turning the team around, he’s going to have to come together with AMac and assemble a new, fresh coaching staff with no ties to this current losing period. It’s fine to ride the year out with who’s there now, but the time is now to start looking around for perfect compliments to Mr. Showalter.
Wouldn’t it be great to hear that a call’s been made to Greg Maddux for the next pitching coach? This is wishful thinking, but with the styles of Matusz and Arrieta being so similar to his, it would be incredible. Odds are Buck will bring in Mark Connor as a pitching coach instead because, well, that’s what he does. I suspect we’ll also start hearing Eddie Murray’s name again being floated as the next hitting coach, not sure how I’d feel about that. Oriole Way but with a bad attitude? I guess you’d just take the good with the bad there. Now that Don Wakamatsu has been fired from Seattle, he certainly seems like a good candidate to be one of the new coaches, possibly bench, assuming he doesn’t get picked up by another club. He and Showalter seem to have a good working relationship, and were together for years in Texas.
Sorry, I know we’re all riding high on the wave of the newfound success and may not want to think about this right now, but I don’t want this wave to crash and find the same people washed out in Sarasota this spring…