Thursday, November 21, 2013

Bob McClure named Phillies pitching coach

After a search that lasted nearly eight weeks, the Phillies finally named Bob McClure as their pitching coach for 2014. 

If you judge a pitching coach by the success of his staff...well, McClure isn't going to wow anyone. He spent six seasons as Royals pitching coach (2006-11) and five months of the 2012 season as Red Sox pitching coach. None of those teams had a winning record, and his last job ended with an in-season firing after a pretty public rift with manager Bobby Valentine.

Clearly, the Royals were at a huge competitive disadvantage during his tenure because of budget restraints, but there was a large body of work for the Phillies to investigate as it pertained to McClure's ability to groom young pitchers like Zack Greinke, Luke Hochevar and Joakim Soria. The organization considers the capability of preparing their inexperienced relief prospects to be consistent performers in the majors a top priority. 

The Phils also announced that bullpen coach Rod Nichols and bullpen catcher Jesus Tiamo would return in those capacities. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Marlon Byrd Returning To Philly

According to multiple reports, the Phillies have agreed to terms with veteran outfielder Marlon Byrd on a two-year deal to be the right-handed-hitting outfield bat with pop they needed after Delmon Young and John Mayberry Jr. failed miserably at providing it in 2013.

Byrd, 36, seemed to have his career come to a dubious end in 2012 when he struggled, then received a 50-game suspension for PED use. Yet somehow he revived his career in 2013 with a standout season with the Mets he parlayed into a deadline trade to the playoff-bound Pirates, where he helped them end a two-decade-long postseason drought. Byrd hit .291 with 24 HR, 88 RBI and a career-best .843 OPS.

The commitment to another aging veteran indicates a belief that some younger player — Darin Ruf or, if the Phillies commit to a position switch, top hitting prospect Maikel Franco — will be capable to filling that need on a regular basis at some point in 2015. The report, first mentioned by WYSP, is that the contract will be for two seasons.

The Phillies remain on the prowl for a starting pitcher who can serve as a workhorse behind Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, and a set-up reliever.