Amid the Major League Baseball postseason, the next most-followed, baseball-related storyline among Philadelphia Phillies fans is the future status of the team's coaching staff — including that of manager Gabe Kapler.
On Friday, MLB.com's Todd Zolecki reported that the Phillies have told Chris Young that he will not return next season as pitching coach, and that he has been reportedly offered an opportunity to remain in the organization in another role.
With Charlie Manuel expected not to return as hitting coach, the Phillies will at least have to replace two coaches — if not more pending on the fate of Kapler. Other coaches on the major-league staff have been told they will return, but per Zolecki it is "unclear who and how many."
Zolecki lists three candidates that could replace Young: former New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway — who was relieved of his duties on Thursday — as well as former Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee and recently dismissed Pittsburgh Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage.
Prior to joining the Mets, Callaway served as pitching coach for the Cleveland Indians from 2013 to 2017. He oversaw a staff that included notable arms Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco, and Corey Kluber.
With the Pirates, Searage worked 17 years as a minor-league pitching coach and since 2010 as the major-league pitching coach.
Dubee spent 12 seasons (2002-13) in the Phillies organization, including the last nine as pitching coach. In 2012, Phillies starting pitchers led all MLB teams in innings (1033.0) and strikeouts (918), while issuing the fewest walks (231).
Young spent just one season as Phillies pitching coach, after replacing Rick Kranitz who now is with the Atlanta Braves. Zolecki notes:
Philadelphia dealt with a rash of injuries in the bullpen, but its rotation stayed mostly healthy and struggled, finishing ninth in the National League in strikeout rate (21.6 percent); 10th in xFIP (4.59); 11th in ERA (4.64) and walk rate (8.3 percent); 13th in fWAR (7.6) and home runs per nine innings (1.61); and 14th in FIP (4.91). By contrast, the 2018 rotation ranked third in FIP (3.76); fourth in strikeout rate (24.1 percent), walk rate (7.6 percent), xFIP (3.77) and WAR (14.0); sixth in home runs per nine innings (1.07) and 11th in ERA (4.12).
Before the Phillies decide among the rumored candidates that include Callaway, Dubee and Searage, the organization must first decide whether Kapler will return for a third season as manager. It is expected that decision, in particular, could come by the end of this coming week.