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Quick Thoughts On Belcher

November 6, 2009
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Without any comments from Mark Shapiro or Manny Acta yet on the hiring of Tim Belcher as the Major League Pitching Coach, here are some quick thoughts on the hiring off the top of my head:
  • When assessing the pitching coach possibilities, I think it was a foregone conclusion that that job was going to be filled from within. As a result, a lot of the focus was on Triple-A Columbus pitching coach Scott Radinsky and minor league pitching coordinator Dave Miller as the top candidates to fill the job. In hindsight this was very narrow thinking, and I like many others in the media completely forgot about Tim Belcher and Jason Bere and their roles as special assistants to the Indians Baseball Operations Department.

  • Like Radinsky and Miller, Belcher fit the mold of someone who was very familiar with all the young talent up and down the Indians system having observed and also worked with them all many times over his eight years in the organization. He was a teacher and helped facilitate the development of the young players like Radinsky and Miller, but what set Belcher apart from Radinsky and Miller is his experience working in the big league environment. Having done a lot of advanced scouting and player evaluation at the big league level recently he was probably more in touch with the demands at that level.
  • Bere and Belcher shared a lot of the same duties as special assistants to baseball operations, with Bere a little more ingrained with the minor league guys and development whereas Belcher was used a little more in player decisions at the minor/major league level and also evaluation of players in the minors/majors inside and outside the organization.
  • From what I understand a lot of times Belcher was GM Mark Shapiro’s “eyes” in evaluating and observing the pitching in the system, particularly in the upper levels of the system at Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus.
  • It looks like with this move that Miller likely remains as the minor league pitching coordinator, but it is still unclear where Radinsky will fit. There is a possibility he could be a bullpen coach, or very well return to Columbus and assume his pitching coach duties again. There is also the possibility that Radinsky could leave the organization for a big league job or minor league coaching job elsewhere.
  • The hiring of Belcher may bring to light who they may be looking at as their hitting coach. I still believe they will go outside the organization and fill the role, but if they do happen to fill the role from within it seems very possible that Ellis Burks could be named to the position. Like Belcher, Burks was a special assistant to the Baseball Operations Department and had the same responsibilities as he assisted in the facilitation of instruction and development at the major league and minor league level. Just like Belcher, Burks assisted Shapiro in player decisions and his primary duty was to evaluate position players, particularly the outfielders. If he does not end up the hitting coach, he could still end up on Acta’s staff as an outfield coach.
  • In the end I like many Indians fans was surprised by the announcement this morning that Belcher was named the big league pitching coach. But while I was surprised, I was not shocked as given a few minutes to take it in the hiring certainly makes a lot of sense.  He brings with him a lot of success and experience as a big league pitcher, and more importantly he also has experience with instruction, evaluation, and developing young talent.  I still may have preferred Radinsky, but I understand that they probably wanted a guy with more experience recently working at the big league level.

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