There's a nice article in The Sun this morning about the Orioles' new pitching coach, Rick Kranitz, aka the guy who replaced Mazzone.
The whole thing is a good read, but here are a few bits that stood out to me:
On why Mazzone was let go:
"Leo had a certain philosophy, and for that relationship to continue, you really had to make a commitment to teach that philosophy from Rookie ball on up," Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said. "Leo has a tremendous track record, and I thought he did a good job here. But we as an organization were not willing to commit to [his philosophy] the whole way through."
Mazzone wanted all pitchers to pitch the same way:
"You knew it wasn't going to work," Hernandez said. "Leo was telling them to do it when they couldn't pitch that way. Some lefties can't pitch down and away. For young guys, Rick's a much better fit. He goes with what the guy wants to do."
..."I never felt like I completely related," [Garrett] Olson said. "Kranitz has done a great job of incorporating everyone. I don't think his style just fits some and not others. I think he's doing a good job of fitting [the] mold for everybody. Leo had a certain style, and it needed to work for you. I like to go inside on hitters, and I think other people feel the same way."
Kranitz tries to find what works and polish it:
...Said Florida Marlins catcher Matt Treanor: "In a lot of places, you see [pitching coaches] trying to switch somebody. Rick took their individual styles, and the only thing I saw where he would change something is if he saw something that was going to hurt a guy."
He's certain to have one fan on the staff at least:
Feeling good about oneself is always part of the battle, particularly with a young pitcher. Cabrera's 2005 numbers were respectable, if not particularly impressive (WHIP 1.43, K-BB ratio of 1.8-1). Then Mazzone came in and (maybe) told him he had to pitch a different way. For two years, his walks and ERA increased, and he pitched less and less effectively. Could this truly be a case of having the wrong teacher for a certain kind of pupil?
Indeed, Mazzone was oft quoted as saying (I'm paraphrasing here), "until you can throw low and away for a strike, nothing else matters." I think it's possible that there might be some talented guys on the Orioles who can't master that pitch, but could get it done with some other ones. Right now I'm sold on this being a better approach to pitching than some kind of "one-size-fits-all" philosophy.
Time will tell.