Remember the other day when I said that I didn’t really care who was fired at this point, as long as their name was not Sandy Alomar, Jr.? That I was secretly hoping people would start getting the axe? I was a little afraid that the end of the losing streak may prove that jobs were safe…for now. However, the Indians just announced that they’ve fired pitching coach Scott Radinsky and replaced him with the pitching coach from Columbus, Ruben Niebla, as “interim coach.” Radinsky was promoted from bullpen coach prior to the season as Tim Belcher stepped down, and didn’t even last a full season in the job.
As I also mentioned the other day, I’m always hesitant to place a lot of blame on coaches since they can’t hit or pitch for players. From where I was sitting though, Radinsky seemed to be a complete disaster. The Indians became one of the worst pitching staffs in the American League this season, and even typically reliable pitchers like Justin Masterson have been uneven and erratic. I have to think that hitting coach Bruce Fields may not be far behind. When Chris Antonetti recently claimed that Manny Acta’s job was safe, he refused to give that same vote of confidence to Radinsky or Fields. I actually thought the Indians were a bit too quick to fire Jon Nunnally as hitting coach last season, and Fields’ ability to turn the offense around isn’t that surprising. I can’t imagine that Fields keeps his job, when the offense appears to be far worse than it was under Nunnally’s tutelage.
Niebla has spent the past two seasons (2011 and 2012) as the pitching coach in Columbus, taking over for Charlie Nagy when he left to assume the pitching coach position with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Niebla pitched professionally in the Los Angeles Dodgers and Montreal Expos systems from 1995-2000, and joined the Indians Player Development System in 2001. I’d love for the Indians to lure Nagy away from the Diamondbacks, but that may not be realistic. In the meantime, I’m willing to keep an open mind about Niebla, who did oversee a 2011 Clippers staff that posted their lowest team ERA since 1992 at 3.94.
At least Radinsky has a career backup plan if he doesn’t end up as a pitching coach with another organization. He’s also the vocalist in the punk rock band Pulley.