Tuesday, October 21, 2008

More thoughts on Kerrigan

I think that Joe Kerrigan is a really good hire as the Pirates' pitching coach, if we can get that out of the way. Charlie has a nice rundown of the pitchers he's worked with, and he did an especially nice job with the young pitchers in Montreal, then followed Pedro Martinez and Dan Duquette to Boston where he worked with, among others, Derek Lowe. It's nice to have a guy with a good track record, but I mostly like hearing things like this:

Kerrigan, 54, will watch videotape of the final six weeks of Pirates games.

"Then I'll hunker down and give each guy a profile of things we'll stress in minicamp [in January]," Kerrigan said. "For example, if [Ian] Snell had trouble with left-handers, I'll look at all the at-bats left-handers had against him."

Sometimes, bringing in a guy that's an outsider to the process can be beneficial. He's got no history with any of these guys and that means that he's got no bias. Jeff Andrews had worked with most of the Pirate pitchers in Indianapolis, which gave him a bunch of preconcieved notions of what the pitchers should be doing based on what they did in the past. Kerrigan can come in fresh and tell the pitching staff what they need to do based on what they've been doing, not based on any thing else. I think this is a good thing and given Kerrigan's track record, I think he's a good guy for the job.

What I'm also very interested in here is the politics behind this move. Why would Kerrigan come back to coach for the Pirates, of all teams? There's not an obvious relationship between him and Russell (though who knows, everyone seems to know everyone in baseball) and it seems kind of strange for the front office to go straight over the manager's head to hire a pitching coach. Huntington is the only member of the front office or coaching staff quoted in the PG's story and he seems to know Kerrigan from Montreal, so that's likely the connection. And everything that's said about Kerrigan seems to fit the organizational model that Huntington's implementing, especially his penchance for "breaking down data" while studying pitchers. I'm not trying to imply anything here, I'm simply trying to get a feel for how this team is being run. It's interesting to see a hire like this made without even a quote from Coonelly, who seems to have his hand in everything. Just one more insight into the management of the club.