The Orioles have hired Atlanta Braves pitching coordinator Dave Wallace as their new pitching coach. Wallace replaces Rick Adair, who took a personal leave of absence in August.
Wallace has served as a pitching coach for four major league teams - the Houston Astros (2007), Boston Red Sox (2003-06), New York Mets (1999-2000) and Los Angeles Dodgers (1995-97). Overall, Wallace has worked in professional baseball since 1981, serving as a major league coach, minor league coach and front office executive with six organizations.
Wallace spent the past four seasons as the Braves minor league pitching coordinator, overseeing the progress and development of the organization’s minor league personnel. Prior to joining the Braves he worked for two years (2008-09) as a special assistant to the general manager of the Seattle Mariners.
The Orioles interviewed Wallace, 66, on Wednesday, the fourth outside candidate along with former Philadelphia Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee, Seattle Mariners pitching coach Carl Willis and Texas Rangers bullpen coach Andy Hawkins.
“Dave Wallace is an experienced veteran pitching coach and he’s an excellent teacher,” said executive vice president Dan Duquette. “He gets a lot out of his pitchers and his teams are known for throwing strikes and keeping the ball in the ballpark. I think he’ll be a real positive addition.”
A former right-handed pitcher who made 13 major league appearances with the Phillies (1973-74) and Toronto Blue Jays (1978), Wallace spent 20 years in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization from 1981-97 and 2001-03. He spent his final three seasons in Los Angeles as the senior vice president of baseball operations, overseeing the club’s minor league operations and consulting on major league baseball operations.
Wallace will be manager Buck Showalter’s fifth pitching coach.
“I’m excited,” Showalter said. “He’s pretty impressive. You bring up the topic of pitching coaches in today’s game, Dave Wallace is one of the three mentioned. His track record ... I’ve known of him. We’ve always been competing with each other, whether it’s the Mets and Diamondbacks in the playoffs or the Red Sox and Rangers. This guy’s got some resume and I’m excited to have him.
“It was tough. We started with around 12 guys and narrowed it down to three or four. When we got through with the process, we looked at each other and said, ‘Wow, that’s some list.’ It’s unusual to have so many quality guys. I applaud Dan for being aggressive. We couldn’t make a bad call. But we felt with our needs and where we are, Dave fit the best.”
Showalter noted how pitchers such as Zach Britton, Brian Matusz and Tommy Hunter - among others - will benefit from a coach with a “fresh set of eyes.”
“It’s going to be great to get another set of fresh eyes. Evaluation and teaching. I really look forward to the wisdom of Dave Wallace,” he said.
“He’s doing this for the right reasons. This guy was interested in us as much as we were in him and that was good to see.
“I know Atlanta took a hit today losing him. He’s one of the best teachers in baseball. He’s solid. And the other guys were solid as hell, too. It was tough. Brady (Anderson) and Dan and I had an idea what we were looking for. This just fit best for what we needed.
“He’s a quality human being. I woke up this morning knowing Dave was coming on board and that was pretty cool. And Peter (Angelos) did what he had to do. Dave was making great money with Atlanta. He’s not coming here for free and we had to pony up, and Peter was here for us again. He didn’t bat an eye.”
Showalter said Wallace will have a lot of input on the selection of a bullpen coach. Bill Castro, who began the season as bullpen coach before replacing Adair, and Scott McGregor will be given consideration.
“He’ll probably end up making the majority of the decision,” Showalter said. “He knows what he’s going to need from that position. And it could be an in-house guy. I’m going to present in-house candidates and see what he has to say.
“I look forward to him getting his arms around our pitching staff as soon as possible. If I’m Britton or Matusz or anybody getting a fresh start with this guy, I’d be pretty excited.”