Are The Pittsburgh Pirates Cutting Coaching Staff?


The Pittsburgh Pirates fired two coaches.  The Pitching Coach and The Bench Coach.  Two jobs opened.  The Assistant Pitching Coach took the Pitching Coach job.  Two jobs still open-Assistant Pitching Coach and Bench Coach.

The Bench Coach job was filled by the Minor League Roving Guru.  Two coaching positions still open.

So who takes the Assistant Pitching Coach job?  Who takes the Minor League gig?

Neal Huntington and Greg Brown mumbled something today during the radio show about the team being mature enough now that they simply need to produce.  Now please keep in mind, we were listening closely and trying to comprehend what the organization was thinking.  This is just our opinion. 

They backed off their press release reading statements to say that it was not meant to be misunderstood as leaving players to figure it out on there own.  The Pirates will still be coaching up their players.  The Pirates will still focus intently on instruction.  The fact that other clubs don’t have an outfield-specific instructor was mentioned. 

The whole show was a bit of a mess for me.  It sounded like Huntington is comfortable without having the same number and experience level of coaches on the staff.  Perhaps it was just me not understanding the entire premise, but I was left very confused. 

Especially when it appears very obvious to us that this team needs more instruction.  A lot more instruction on some of the basic fundamentals of the game.  The team could also use some more vocal coaches at first and third.  How many times have you seen Coach Garcia and Coach Beasley not move their lips as the players make very poor decisions? 

Ok, we will admit it.  We had some love for Joe Kerrigan.  We liked how hard he worked.   We liked the fact that he looked like he had a drink or two.  We liked that he seemed to be a hurricane when he arrived last season.  We liked the pitching dummies.  We liked the preparation.  We liked his knowledge of the game.  We liked his resume and his experience.  His work ethic.  The way he ran to the mound when his pitchers were in trouble.   He worked religiously, wait…. we already said that.  Twice. 

For the most part, we aren’t crazy about the talent the Pirates put on the pitching mound during his tenure, but you get what you get when you are one of the few men in the world who are paid to be a Major League Pitching Coach. 

The bottom line is Kerrigan didn’t get it done.  He needed to go.  Third Boss called it last Thursday.  He was talking about Brad Lincoln’s failures.  I stood up for Kerrigan and told him I’m not a big believer in Lincoln.  It’s on record.  But nevertheless, there were many more problems off the field in his actions with the organization and John Russell that contributed to his head being rolled today. 

JR loves sunflower seeds.

The pitching was terrible.  It still is.

The Pirates now have Ray Searage who coaches more “with his gut.”  Great. 

The Pirates now have Ray Searage who loves changeups.  Really?  Then why didn’t Brad Lincoln have a good one?  Who is teaching the pitchers a changeup?  Yeh, check that out closely.  There are some great quotes out there on it.  But think hard about this, because we couldn’t come up with anyone…..has there been a pitcher coming through the Pirates system with a great change? 

It’s so confusing to me.  Neal Huntington said so many interesting things today on his radio show.  Check out my Twitter if you missed them, we grabbed a few, but not all of them.  He shocked us when he was very clear that the interim tag could go away if Searage produces. 

Well, here is something to consider.  Wasn’t Searage supposed to assist Kerrigan this season?  The pitching got worse.  If it has anything to do with coaching, wouldn’t two coaches have to improve the staff?  It isn’t about the coaches.  Unless Searage was just a plant.  A guy who wanted the big job.  I seriously doubt that was the case.  It’s about the talent.  The Bucs starting pitching talent isn’t there, or isn’t receptive to coaching, or both.

Much is being made about Kerrigan using stats more than mechanics.  Much is being made about Kerrigan not worried about holding runners on base.  It just makes me laugh, because last season the pitchers were better, did the talent get worse?  Or stop listening to Kerrigan?  Or perhaps they just aren’t as good as everyone thought?

The Pirates need to get a Major League Pitching Coach that can make some things happen.  With Stetson Allie and Jameson Taillon watching closely, it’s a move they must make.   With some middle of the rotation starting pitching talent in the Pirates system getting closer to the bigs, it’s a move that needs to be made.   When the Pirates sign Taillon and Allie, a big time pitching coach could certainly help them.

Does Bud Black ring a bell?

We also understand that from the outside, it appears that Kerrigan hasn’t done much to help this pitching staff.  He really hasn’t produced the numbers when you look at it as a whole.  But we just don’t buy it. 

Evan Meek has pitched very well the past two seasons.

The organization needed to give him some true talent.  Look at that scrap heap bullpen this year.  Neal Huntington gets the credit for doing the shopping, but Kerrigan had some input and then did some serious work to help those pitchers.

Nobody credited that to Kerrigan.  Maybe he didn’t deserve credit.  It’s his job.  I know we didn’t give Kerrigan a lick of credit and we suck for that slip.   Remember how bad the bullpen was last year?  Having an additional pitching coach was something we were adamant about, but we felt the job should have gone to Kent Tekulve. 

Having two pitching coaches is a progessive idea.  Not an idea that needs to go away now that ‘players are mature.’  That’s nuts.  Also, since the bench coach is a hefty position does this mean Banister is the future of the team?  The best in the system?  

One can argue, as Huntington so alluded to, that Brad Lincoln was a disappointment due to mechanical changes.  Due to Kerrigan.  Due to things that happened at the ML level.  Ok.  Sure.   But we have repeatedly said Brad Lincoln isn’t a polished player until he can learn a third pitch. 

Lincoln simply doesn’t have one, and Kerrigan can’t be blamed for that fact.   He was trying to help him develop it, but in all fairness, does a pitcher learn his third pitch at the ML level?   Shouldn’t he have that, shouldn’t someone at the AAA level last year been enforcing the fact that it was needed to be successful?  Who was at AAA last year coaching the pitchers?

Is it Kerrigan’s fault that Lincoln gets rocked at AAA when he went back down this year?  Is it Kerrigan’s fault Morton gets rocked at AAA and still doesn’t have the command Kerrigan preaches and teaches?  Yes.  Yes it  is.  He is the coach.  Lincoln’s velocity?  Somehow that is Kerrigan’s fault too?  Yes, yes it is. 

You know what?  Perhaps Kerrigan is better off being away from this select accountability circus “John Russell” is running. 

Another pitching coach needs to be hired by the Pirates.  Especially with a young bullpen.  It should not be Luis Dorante ‘assuming’ the role once again.  Come on.  He was working with the catchers while the Pirates had two coaches.  Ugh. How did that go?   So now because Chris Snyder is on the team, he doesn’t need to work with the catchers? 

The hillbilly logic seems to never end.  It must come from the top.


Speaking of how awful Kerrigan was as a pitching coach…..

Joel Hanrahan had a 7.72ERA when he arrived from Nats Town, with the Bucs last season he had a 1.72ERA.  This is from an excellent piece by fellow Nittany Lion, Rob Biertempfel:

“Before I’d even put on a Pirates shirt or anything, I put my bag down and Joe said, ‘Come here.’ He took me in the video room, pulled up my stats and said, ‘This is your problem. Hitters are hitting .340 on fastballs away against you and .150 on fastballs in. You’re throwing to one side of the plate.’ He helped me with that philosophy and he made a mechanical adjustment — my hands were out and up, away from my body, and he brought them down to my belt, where they are now — and that helped.”


Tags: Joe Kerrigan Joel Hanrahan Pirates Blog Pittsburgh Pirates Ray Searage

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