FanShot

Confirmed: Dave Eiland Is Our New Pitching Coach

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From the article (posted at 11:09 last night): "I want all of my starters to still be on the mound when they play, ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’ for the seventh-inning stretch," Eiland said. "You do watch pitch counts, but we’re going to be of the mind-set that we’re pitching into the seventh and beyond." ...Does this mean we're going all Nolan Ryan/TX Rangers in our pitching philosophy? "It just felt right," he said. "The conversations we had, we were on the same page with a lot of things. This is a team that’s going to make some noise as we move forward in the next year or two." ...It's nice to have someone around who's excited about our team's future. Whatever that means. "He answered all the criteria that I was looking for," manager Ned Yost said. "He has a great knowledge of pitching mechanics. He’s very well-prepared in terms of formulating game plans." Specifically, Yost wanted a pitching coach who had spent extended time in the majors with mediocre stuff — believing such experience sharpened a candidate’s attention to mechanics, preparation and detail. This is fine---to a point. What does it say about his ability to communicate and inspire? In other words, how exactly does this make him a good coach. Sure, the ability to empathize is implied---as well as perhaps the ability to communicate with mediocre pitchers. But what about communicating with pitchers who have good stuff? Eiland spent five years as a minor-league pitching coach in the Yankees’ organization before becoming their big-league pitching coach. That followed a 10-year playing career in which he was 12-27 with a 5.74 ERA for the Yankees, Padres and Devil Rays. ...Confirmed on hiring a mediocre former big league pitcher. Finally, I'm most concerned about getting a coach who preaches pitching to contact. From what I've observed watching the game and thinking about pitching coaches, the best---meaning Dave Duncan, Mike Maddux, Leo Mazzone, etc.---all tell their pitchers to trust their stuff and not be afraid of contact. Other thoughts? Is this a good hire? Will he bring out the best in guys like Duffy, Hochevar, etc.? My overall thesis on the Eiland hiring is this: This is the hire that makes or breaks Dayton Moore's term as GM. Despite the great drafts and highly-rated farm system, as well as the on-the-field success of the major league club's offense this season, the job Eiland does determines whether Moore's contract is renewed. You have to have on-the-field success with your drafted pitchers, or your farm system must be judged a failure in the end. - TL

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