Sources: Phillies on verge of hiring new pitching coach


The Phillies appear to be on the verge of hiring a new pitching coach.

Cincinnati Reds assistant pitching coach Caleb Cotham has emerged as the clear frontrunner, according to multiple baseball sources.

Cotham, 33, has been with the Reds for two seasons. He started off as their assistant pitching coach in 2019 and was elevated to assistant pitching coach and director of pitching entering the 2020 season.

Cotham has a chemistry with Phillies manager Joe Girardi. He pitched in the majors, breaking in with Girardi's 2015 Yankees. He appeared in 35 games over two seasons with the Yankees and Reds.

Cotham emerged as the clear favorite over a field of at least a half-dozen candidates. According to sources, the Phillies interviewed their current assistant pitching coach Dave Lundquist, minor-league pitching coordinator Rafael Chaves, former World Series-winning pitching coach Rich Dubee, Astros bullpen coach Josh Miller and others.

Cotham has a background in data and new technologies stemming from his experience with Driveline and the Bledsoe Agency, where he was director of pitching before joining the Reds. He is a protege of Derek Johnson, who was the pitching coach at Vanderbilt University and with the Milwaukee Brewers before joining the Reds in 2019. The Reds' 2020 staff included Cy Young-winner Trevor Bauer, who praised Johnson and Cotham for their work. Reds GM Nick Krall said this week that Cotham had interviewed for two big-league pitching coach jobs. 

Cotham would replace Bryan Price, who stepped down after one season, and become the Phillies' fifth pitching coach in five seasons. Bob McClure, Rick Kranitz, Chris Young and Price have held the job since 2017.

It's unclear how the Phillies will structure the rest of their pitching instruction. They have an opening for bullpen coach after Jim Gott's contract was not renewed.

The Phillies are also looking for a new head of baseball operations after Matt Klentak was stripped of his general manager's title in October. The Athletic reported on Friday that the team could begin conducting interviews for that position next week. Earlier this fall, owner John Middleton said it could take anywhere from a month to the bulk of the 2021 season to fill the position. That was followed two weeks ago by club president Andy MacPhail saying the club had begun to identify potential candidates.

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