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 Post subject: Smizik Again/Is Kerrigan A Difference Maker?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:47 pm 
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Kerrigan No Difference Maker

By Bob Smizik

The notion out and about, and supported by general manager Neal Huntington, that recently hired pitching coach Joe Kerrigan will be a difference maker for the Pirates in the upcoming season is just another example of the malarkey team officials have been throwing at the fans for the better part of a decade.
If Kerrigan were a difference maker, he wouldn’t be earning a salary in the low six figures, he’d be earning a salary in the low seven figures. If he were a difference maker he would have been a pitching coach last year instead of working in broadcasting because teams would have been pleading for his services.

The truth of the matter is that few, if any, pitching coaches are difference makers, as much as some fans might believe that.

The universally acknowledged best pitching coach of the current era is Leo Mazzone, who ran the great Atlanta Braves staff from 1990 through 2005. Mazzone had three probable Hall of Fame pitchers on his staff during those years in Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz.

After the 2005 season Mazzone left the Braves of his own choice to work for the Baltimore Orioles. In two seasons under Mazzone, the Orioles pitching staff finished 29th both times among 30 MLB teams in earned run average. And this after being 23rd the year before Mazzone arrived.

This is not to suggest Mazzone isn’t an excellent pinching coach, It is to suggest it’s a lot easier to be good at your job when you have Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz.

We’re not suggesting either that Kerrigan isn't a good pitching coach, even if he didn’t work in that capacity for the 2006, 2007 and 2008 seasons. He’s probably more than competent.

But he’s not a difference maker.

Kerrigan was the Philadelphia Phillies pitching coach in 2003 and 2004. In those season the Phillies finished seventh and ninth in ERA in the National League. The year before Kerrigan came the Phillies were sixth.

It was around this time last year that Jeff Andrews was being hailed as a difference maker because of the special relationship he had with many of the Pirates young pitchers. Andrews was fired after one season.


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 Post subject: Re: Smizik Again/Is Kerrigan A Difference Maker?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:52 pm 
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Much as I hate to say it, Smizik makes some reasonable points here. And he forgets to mention that Colburn was going to be a difference maker, too.


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 Post subject: Re: Smizik Again/Is Kerrigan A Difference Maker?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:54 pm 
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Say it with me now:

I say ban him anyway and keep the $50.

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 Post subject: Re: Smizik Again/Is Kerrigan A Difference Maker?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:54 pm 
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Bob = fail yet again

Dave Duncan is a serious difference maker. This guy turns borderline pitchers into servicable players almost on a yearly basis.


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 Post subject: Re: Smizik Again/Is Kerrigan A Difference Maker?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:59 pm 
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Kerrigan certainly could make a difference. But I agree with Smizik in that the Pirates are overselling the point. Probably because they have so little else to sell.


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 Post subject: Re: Smizik Again/Is Kerrigan A Difference Maker?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:08 pm 
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Smizik wont be happy til the Pirates are contenders or the Nuttings are gone...

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I say keep the $50 and ban him anyway...

For those jumping ship, we'll keep the bandwagon warm for you...


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 Post subject: Re: Smizik Again/Is Kerrigan A Difference Maker?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:12 pm 
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LtCol Kojak Slaphead wrote:
Say it with me now:

I say ban him anyway and keep the $50.


For fun I googled "I say keep the $50 and ban him anyway"...we're the 6th link on Google...

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I say keep the $50 and ban him anyway...

For those jumping ship, we'll keep the bandwagon warm for you...


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 Post subject: Re: Smizik Again/Is Kerrigan A Difference Maker?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:28 pm 
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nad69dan wrote:
Smizik wont be happy til the Pirates are contenders or the Nuttings are gone...


Me too, actually. :)


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