The Orioles pitching coach search drew to a conclusion on Tuesday afternoon as they announced the hiring of an experienced former major league pitching coach, Dave Wallace, who spent the past four seasons as minor league pitching coordinator in the Atlanta Braves organization.
Wallace was also a pitching coach for four different major league teams at different points from 1995 to 2007, which is another way of saying that five teams have liked him enough to hire him and four teams have disliked him enough to fire him or not continue to use his services as pitching coach. Actually, a quick perusal of his Wikipedia page suggests that each time he moved on, it was as much his choice as anything. Take that with a grain of salt, of course.
He was a pitching coach for the 2000 National League champion Mets and also for the 2004 World Series champion Red Sox. He also spent time with the Dodgers (1995-97) and Astros (2007). From 2001-2003, he was Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations with the Dodgers. The Orioles press release announcing his hire said his duties in that role with Los Angeles included "overseeing the club's minor league operations" as well as "consulting on major league baseball operations."
Wallace replaces Rick Adair, who decided not to return for the 2014 season. Adair's departure came after he took a personal leave of absence to be with his ailing father over the last month of the season, who has since passed away.
The field of candidates included recent Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee, Mariners pitching coach Carl Willis (who was a replacement for Adair in Seattle), and Rangers bullpen coach Andy Hawkins. Just yesterday, Sun reporter Dan Connolly speculated that Willis was the favorite to get the job, but now we know that Wallace will serve on the staff next season.
What does Wallace bring to the table that no one else did? Who knows? The Orioles liked him enough to hire him.
Wallace was also briefly a major league pitcher, making a grand total of 13 appearances over three seasons in the 1970s. He is 66 years old.
The Orioles will hold a conference call later Tuesday night, which will include Wallace, Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette, and manager Buck Showalter, which may shed a little more light on what led the Orioles to settle on Wallace and what he brings to the table, in terms of philosophy and specific expertise.