Did you know that the Indians just hired the lead singer of a punk rock band to serve as their pitching coach? Although in addition to his musical exploits, singer Scott Radinsky was also known as the bullpen coach for the Cleveland Indians.
With the departure of bench coach Tim Tolman and pitching coach Tim Belcher (even though both will remain involved in the organization), the Indians played a bit of coaching musical chairs recently. Sandy Alomar, Jr. will become the new bench coach, moving there from his position as first base coach. There were rumors that several teams were/are interested in Alomar for their vacant management positions; one of those teams was the Chicago White Sox, who recently hired Robin Ventura.
The Indians just announced that former bullpen coach, Scott Radinsky, will take over Belcher’s position as pitching coach. I was a bit surprised by this move, not because I have anything against Radinsky, but because I think I secretly hoped the Tribe could somehow convince Charlie Nagy to return to the organization from the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Radinsky played 11 years in the Majors as a bullpen pitcher, for the Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, and the Cleveland Indians, retiring in 2001 with a career ERA of 3.44. His time with the Indians as a player was easily his least noteworthy – he pitched just two innings, giving up six earned runs. There is a reason behind the poor performance, as he injured his elbow and required Tommy John surgery.
As for his coaching career, Radinsky started as a pitching coach in the Indians’ organization in 2005 with the Class-A Lake County Captains. He moved quickly through the organization, as he became the pitching coach with the Double-A Akron Aeros in 2006, and moved to Triple-A Buffalo in 2007. He remained at the Triple-A level as the team moved from Buffalo to Columbus; he became the Indians’ bullpen coach in 2010. He’s obviously quite familiar with the organization’s young pitchers and has had success with them at every level of the Tribe’s system.
So that now means that the Tribe still needs a bullpen coach and a first base coach. I really hoped to see Mike Sarbaugh rewarded for his success at the minor league level (including back-to-back national titles in Columbus) but he did not earn a promotion to the Major League coaching staff. Both hires come from within the organization though – Dave Miller will take over as bullpen coach while Tom Wiedenbauer will be the new first base coach (he will also oversee the outfielders and work on base running with the team).
For the past ten years, Miller served as the Indians minor league pitching coordinator. He has spent 19 years with the team in various positions – coach, scout, and instructor. Miller pitched for a number of years in the Baltimore Orioles minor league system in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Wiedenbauer served as the Indians minor league field coordinator in 2011. He played one season as an outfielder with the Houston Astros in 1979 (he was drafted by the team in 1976). He remained with the Astros organization for the next 35 years as a minor league player and coach, until he left for the Indians prior to the 2011 season.
Of all three hires, I’m most pleased with Radinsky. He knows the staff well, did a nice job with many of these pitchers at the minor league level and also guided a 2011 Indians bullpen that went 27-21 with a 3.71 ERA and 38 saves. (The 3.71 ERA was the fifth best in the American League this season). The strong bullpen was a big part of the 30-15 run at the beginning of the season, and a major reason that the team’s performance during the summer was not even worse.