After being rejected by Pete Vuckovich, Roger McDowell, and Jim Benedict for their pitching coach vacancy, the Phillies have moved on to their next target. According to Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, the club interviewed Mariners pitching coach Carl Willis for the job yesterday.
Willis has been the Mariners’ pitching coach since taking over for Rick Adair in August of 2010. He interviewed for the Orioles’ pitching coach job before the team settled on Dave Wallace last month. New Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon has yet to announce who will be on his staff, so Willis isn’t assured of having a job next season.
The Phillies cut ties with longtime pitching coach Rich Dubee in October after the team’s pitchers finished 27th in the majors with a 4.32 ERA this past season.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that talks between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Association concerning pace of play changes have stalled, which makes it more likely that commissioner Rob Manfred unilaterally implements the changes he seeks. Those changes include a pitch clock and a restriction on catcher mound visits.
Manfred said, “My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players. But if we can’t get an agreement, we are going to have rule changes in 2018, one way or the other.”
The players have made several suggestions aimed at reducing the length of games, such as amending replay review rules, strictly monitoring down time between innings, and bringing back bullpen carts.
It is believed that MLB is proposing a pitch clock of 20 seconds. If a pitcher takes too long between pitches, he will have a ball added to the count. If the hitter takes too long, then he will have a strike added to the count.