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Posts Tagged ‘Jose Rijo’

Bryan Hoch reports that the Yankees have signed Larry Rothschild as their new pitching coach, replacing the summarily dumped Dave Eiland. ESPN’s Wallace Matthews reports Rothschild has a three year deal, worth $2 million.

I’m  not certain this represents a significant upgrade. The move admittedly has me scratching my head, especially in light of some better options (like Scott Aldred and Leo Mazzone) still available.

Quick recap of Rothschild’s career: he pitched a very ugly 7 games over parts of two season with the Tigers in the early 1908’s (career WHIP: 1.9; career K/9: 1.1), after being a rule 5 draft pick . He surfaced in 1990 as the Red’s bullpen coach, being promoted to pitching coach for Cincinnati for 1992 and 93. He then worked as a minor league instructor for the Braves before resurfacing as the Marlins pitching coach from 1995 -97. He served from 1998 – 2001 as the first manager in Tampa Bay’s history and has been the Cubs pitching coach since 2002.

My concern is that the Yankees signed a guy with a big name in baseball circles, but not necessarily one that fits the Yankee pitching staff well. Rothschild is known for stressing strikeouts from his pitchers – not necessarily a great idea when your staff has AJ Burnett, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and David Robertson, all pitchers known for getting in trouble while nibbling for K’s when a ground ball would do just fine. And despite all of those strikeouts his teams have captured over the years, they really haven’t shone when the pressure was on or been great at keeping runners off base. Consider the 2003 Cubs: despite setting a NL record with over 1400 strikeouts, the staff WHIP was 1.3; relatively pedestrian. The Cubs had a staff ERA of 5.71 during that postseason. Let’s also not forget that Rothschild is a pitching coach noted for blowing out pitchers arms: Jose Rijo, Rob DibbleMark Prior and Kerry Wood all suffered career-altering arm troubles on Rothschild’s watch.

For now, I’ll withhold final judgement until I see how this pans out. If he can get AJ and Joba straightened out without ruining the rest of the staff, then Rothschild was the right hire. But right now I think this move is dicey.

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