Orioles may have competition for Willis

Orioles may have competition for Willis
October 25, 2013, 12:00 pm
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Seattle Mariners pitcher Aaron Harang (39) talks with pitching coach Carl Willis (48) and catcher Humberto Quintero (35) during the second inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Safeco Field.

(Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports)

If the Orioles want to hire Carl Willis as their pitching coach, they may have competition from the Chicago Cubs.

Eric Wedge, for whom Willis has coached in both Cleveland and Seattle is being interviewed for the Cubs’ job according to The Chicago Sun-Times.

While San Diego bench coach Rick Renteria is considered the favorite, Wedge has managed 10 seasons in the major leagues with Willis his pitching coach throughout.

Willis was one of four outside candidates who interviewed this week. Former Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee, Texas bullpen coach Andy Hawkins and Atlanta minor league pitching coach Dave Wallace were the others.

Renteria has also interviewed in Seattle, and it’s conceivable that Willis could stay with the Mariners, though the Durham, N.C. resident is eager for a job closer to home.

Willis is also considered close with Boston bench coach Torey Lovullo, who may interview with Chicago after the World Series. Lovullo was manager of Cleveland’s Triple-A Columbus team for part of the time Willis was Indians’ pitching coach.

Cincinnati, Houston and Philadelphia also have openings, but Willis hasn’t been mentioned for those. Dubee spent the last nine years with the Phillies.

The Nationals are reportedly naming Matt Williams as their manager, but pitching coach Steve McCatty is seen as staying on.

The Reds named pitching coach Bryan Price as their new manager this week, but haven’t yet named a replacement for him.

On Thursday night, Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations complimented the group of candidates, saying the team was going to continue its research. He hopes to have a new pitching coach by next week.

Last week, manager Buck Showalter mentioned four internal candidates to replace Rick Adair, who left the team for personal reasons in mid-August, and isn’t returning for next season.

Bill Castro, who moved from the bullpen to replace Adair when he left, Norfolk pitching coach Mike Griffin, Scott McGregor, who took Castro’s place as bullpen coach and Rick Peterson, the team’s director of pitching development, have not been formally interviewed.

Castro’s contract expires at the end of the month, and could be moved back to the bullpen or to another position in the organization. He’s been with the team for the last two years.

Griffin has been with the organization since 2008. He’s spent the last five years as the Tides’ pitching coach. McGregor, a longtime Orioles pitcher, has been with the organization in a variety of roles since 2002, and Peterson, who’s coached for Oakland, the New York Mets and Milwaukee has just finished his second season with the team.

Showalter said that the new pitching coach will have input on the selection of the bullpen coach.