The improvement of the Orioles pitching staff this year was impressive. The season-ending team ERA of 3.90 was sixth-best in the league, one year after the Orioles were 14th and last in that stat in 2011.
The Orioles’ team ERA of 3.73 after the All-Star break would have ranked third in the league if they had maintained that number all year.
Two men named Rick - Adair and Peterson - had a lot to do with that. Adair had pitchers improve on his watch at the big league level and Peterson took some pitchers that were demoted to the minors and helped them return to Baltimore to help the team. Not to mention the pitching program he implemented for all O’s minor leaguers.
Now Peterson could be leaving the O’s after just one season as director of pitching development. The Boston Red Sox and new manager John Farrell will interview Peterson for their pitching coach position.
While Peterson has declined interview requests about the Boston job, there are indications that if offered the position he will very likely accept the job.
Peterson is certainly not looking to leave Baltimore. He indicated that in this interview with me a few days ago. But the Boston job would put him back in a big league dugout and is considered a move up from his current post.
Plus, Peterson has a 25-year friendship with Farrell. He was Farrell’s pitching coach when he pitched in the Cleveland organization for Double-A Waterbury in 1986 and Triple-A Buffalo in 1987.
It says a lot about Peterson that a former big league pitching coach in Farrell wants to talk to him about serving as his pitching coach in the pressure-cooker that has become the Red Sox.
Peterson’s interview, I have heard, has not yet been officially scheduled due to the storm that is about to hit the East Coast. But expect that interview to take place sometime over the next several days.
Peterson can be a controversial figure. Not everyone agrees with his teachings and some don’t seem to appreciate the confidence he brings to his job.
I’ve probably talked to him this year as much as any reporter that covered the Orioles and found him to be quite confident in his teaching and his ability, and I liked that. He also knows not every pitcher or coach will agree with him.
A reporter can’t know for sure how truly effective a coach or staff member is. Some pitchers I talked with late this year were careful to dispense credit to both Ricks so as not to offend or shortchange either one. That was probably not only the politically correct thing, but the smart thing to do.
Both Ricks should get credit, as should the players first and foremost, for the huge improvement O’s hurlers made this year.
I’ve heard from many fans that don’t want to see Peterson leave and think it will be a blow to the Orioles. That is likely very true, but so is the fact that the Red Sox may be closing in on hiring him as their next pitching coach.