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Diamondbacks, Phillies name new pitching coaches

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Two teams with openings at the pitching coach position closed them today: the Arizona Diamondbacks hired Matt Herges and the Philadelphia Phillies hired Bryan Price.

Herges, 49, replaces Mike Butcher, who was fired at the end of September after serving four years on the job. Herges, you will recalls, pitched for 11 seasons in the majors and most recently served as the Giants’ bullpen coach.

Price, 57, replaces Chris Young, who was fired when Gabe Kapler was dismissed. Price has a substantial track record as a big league pitching coach, running the staffs of the Reds from 2010-13, the Diamondbacks from 2006-09, and the Mariners from 2000-05. He also was the Reds manager between 2014 and 2018, going 279-387 in parts of five seasons.

As is usually the case with pitching coaches, odds are that the next time you hear about them in this space is when they are fired. If you hear about them before that it’s either because they did something really, really bad or because they appeared on a reality show or something. It’s not the most glamorous gig.

Rays’ Erik Neander named Executive of the Year

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At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.

Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.

The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.

At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).