Diamondbacks Pitching Coach Candidate: Bud Black


The Arizona Diamondbacks announced during a press conference on Monday that the team will not be retaining pitching coach Mike Harkey.

Tony La Russa and Dave Stewart held a press conference to discuss their thoughts on this past season and the future of the organization. The decision to move on from Harkey was brought up almost immediately. La Russa said that there was a list of possible candidates already, but no names were given as of yet.

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The decision to move on from Harkey shouldn’t come as a surprise. The 2015 season was full of positives, but the biggest glaring negative was pitching. It was a constant theme throughout the season to see starters last only four or five innings. This piled up and by the end of the season,

Diamondbacks’ starters finished 29th with only 887.1 innings pitched. On top of the low innings mark, Arizona starters carried a 4.37 ERA, which was 23rd in the majors.

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Starting pitchers were giving up lots of runs in short outings, a combination that makes winning games consistently a tough task.

The bad year by the starters had a trickle-down effect on the bullpen as well. Bullpen arms were taxed. With the starters not lasting very long, the Diamondbacks bullpen pitched 579.1 innings. That is the most in the league.

Given the difficult task faced by the bullpen, they did an admirable job with their collective ERA. Arizona’s bullpen finished 13th in the majors with a 3.56 ERA. It’s hard not to think how good the bullpen could have been if they didn’t have to be used in regularly extended outings.

A better rotation could have changed the way the season ended, but those opportunities are now gone. It was a season of learning, and the Diamondbacks learned what they have with their pitchers and coaches. They’ve decided to move on from Harkey, so, who should replace him?

How about former Padres manager Bud Black?

Black was fired midway through 2015 from the Padres. Obviously, he has managerial experience having spent eight and a half years managing the Padres. Before he was a manager, Black was a pitching coach.

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Black was the pitching coach for the Anaheim Angels from 2000-2006 under manager Mike Scioscia. His run in Anaheim included winning the World Series in 2002. Black is a veteran coach and being a former pitcher himself, has an excellent understanding of pitching.

With managerial spots opening up this offseason, Black could be a hard target to land.

If Arizona could grab him, that could make the desert a little more attractive place to help land free agent pitchers. It would also benefit the young arms coming as the pitching prospects near their MLB careers to have an accomplished veteran mind guiding them.

A coach such as Black could improve an area that was severely lacking for the Diamondbacks. The offseason is one day in, and the organization will interview multiple candidates. There is still a long road to go before next season begins, but this offseason will be an interesting one for Arizona as they look to improve their coaching staff and pitching.

Next: Arizona Coyotes: Team Makes Final Roster Cuts

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