Of all the reported candidates for the Orioles now vacant pitching coach position, the one with the highest profile is Rich Dubee.
Dubee is 56 years old, and a native of Brockton, Massachusetts. Dan Duquette, the Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations, is 55 and is from Dalton, Massachusetts, some 150 miles away.
Two decades ago, Dubee was a minor league pitching coach in the Montreal Expos organization when Duquette was the general manager.
From there, Dubee moved on to Florida in the Marlins’ early years, and was their major league pitching coach from 1999-2001. A year later, he joined the Phillies organization, and became Philadelphia’s major league coach for the 2005 season.
Dubee and Charlie Manuel were extremely close. After Manuel was fired, it was obvious to many observers that Dubee would soon follow. New Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg will have his own pitching coach for next season.
The Dubee-Manuel partnership was an extremely successful one. Five division titles, two pennants and a World Series win. This year was the first season that Dubee had to suffer with a losing team since his time with the Marlins.
Dubee had an unusually long drink from the trough in Philadelphia,
and it wasn’t only the big names who thrived under him.
Yes, he had Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt. They had great success under Dubee.
Halladay threw two no-hitters in 2010, and won 40 games that year and in 2011. Lee threw half of his 12 career shutouts in 2011, and this year, a bad one for the Phillies, struck out nearly seven times as many batters as he walked. He has a five-year, $120 million contract. Hamels earned a seven-year, $153 million contract on his watch. Oswalt was 7-1 with a 1.74 ERA after he was acquired from Houston in 2010.
It’s not only the big names who put up big numbers under Dubee. At 35, Jon Lieber won 17 games in 2005. Brett Myers and the late Cory Lidle both won 13 that year. Jamie Moyer won 14 games at age 44 in 2007 and 16 games at 45 a year later. J.A. Happ had a 12-4 record in 2009 and hasn’t come close to equaling that elsewhere.
Dubee’s success has translated to the bullpen, too. He converted Myers to a reliever when the Phillies needed him there and moved him back to the rotation. Aaron Fultz had his best year in the bullpen in 2005 under Dubee. Higher profile names such as Brad Lidge and Billy Wagner had great years, too.
Joe Blanton, Clay Condrey and Ryan Madson had good fortune, too.
There’ll be plenty of talk of how well Dubee did with Philadelphia, but he also helped mold a staff in Florida that won a World Series two years after he left.
As a young pitcher, Brad Penny won 10 games in 2001. A.J. Burnett won 11, and Dubee was Josh Beckett’s first major league pitching coach. Even though Ryan Dempster wasn’t with the Marlins when they won in 2003, he did win 14 and 15 games in Dubee’s last two years.
That’s quite a resume, but how will that translate to the Orioles?
The younger pitchers should be impressed with his work with those marquee names. I’m sure Duquette and manager Buck Showalter are, too.
He was given unusual independence in Philadelphia, where Manuel, a hitting guru, allowed him free rein. Dubee wouldn’t get as much latitude in Baltimore.
Showalter likes working with coaches he’s familiar with, but he can be wowed by someone with an impressive resume. He loved working with Orel Hershiser in Texas, and quotes him to this day.
On Friday, Showalter acknowledged that he didn’t have a lot of experience hiring pitching coaches himself and said that Mark Connor would probably still be with him had his health not forced him into a less demanding job. Connor left two months into the 2011 season and Rick Adair took over.
Showalter would have preferred to have Adair continue, but after he left the team for personal reasons in August, it just wasn’t possible.
It will be interesting to see if Dubee and Showalter bond this week. There will be other interviews, both internal and external, but none seem to have the qualifications that Dubee does.
With a few other openings in baseball, Dubee may have other suitors. The Orioles hope to have their pitching and bullpen coaches chosen by the end of the month.