Diamondbacks fire pitching coach Mike Butcher

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The Arizona Diamondbacks just announced that they have fired pitching coach Mike Butcher. Well, they have “parted ways” with him, anyway, which could mean that his contract is simply up and isn’t being renewed. Either way: Arizona will have a new pitching coach next season.

Butcher had been the Snakes’ pitching coach for the last four seasons. This year the club ranked 12th in the majors with a 4.25 ERA, with neither their starters nor their relievers constituting major outliers in either direction. They were fourth overall on that category last year, however and third in 2017 so I suppose the trend isn’t great. Counterpoint: they were dead last in Butcher’s first year. I guess he was a genius until he wasn’t. Or maybe losing Patrick Corbin to free agency and trading away Zack Greinke hurts your pitching staff.

Such is the life of a pitching coach. A guy who is rarely credited as much for his successes as he is blamed for his failures. And, sometimes, especially when the guy was originally hired when there was a different manager in the dugout, communication issues or philosophical differences trump results. It’s a tough gig.

The Dbacks are retaining all of their other coaches.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.