The Indians have a coaching staff. It’s a mix of guys that have been in the Indians system and guys Francona has worked with. The guys behind our guys next season:
Sandy Alomar, Bench Coach: We know him, we love him. He brings a wealth of playing experience to the table, plus he knows our organization inside and out. I’m glad he decided to stay, but I won’t fault him when he is hired as a manager by another team. (And we all know he will be.)
Mickey Callaway, Pitching Coach: Played from 1996-2009, including stints with Tampa Bay, Texas, and Anaheim. He was with the Angels for their 2002 World Series win. He was with the Angels He’s moved quickly up the Indians coaching ladder, working as pitching coach for Class A Lake County in 2010, Class A Kinston in 2011, and as the Indians Minor League Pitching Coordinator in 2012. I like his combination of playing experience and the fact that he’s spent the last few seasons in the Indians minor league system so he has first-hand knowledge of many of the young arms in the pipeline.
Kevin Cash, Bullpen Coach: Played from 2000-2011, including playing parts of 8 seasons in the majors catching for Toronto, Tampa Bay, Boston (under Francona), Houston, and Tampa Bay. He also played for Brad Mills in Houston. He retired at the beginning of 2012 and was hired as an advance scout for the Blue Jays. One of the big pluses with Cash is that he played recently, giving him deep knowledge of batters currently in the league.
Brad Mills, Third Base Coach: Spent the last three seasons managing the Houston Astros (and we know how that turned out) and has managed or coached at the major league level for a total 14 seasons. He also worked for Francona in Philadelphia and Boston. I have mixed feelings about Mills. Manny Acta was offered the Houston job but turned it down to coach us. There are similarities between the two in that they both managed very young teams with front offices that made some bone-headed trades. He has a good baseball mind–then again, so did Manny and a long friendship with Francona. It’s not that I don’t trust anybody coming from Houston–our record wasn’t much better–but there is that fine line between wanting to surround yourself with people you know and with whom you’re comfortable and making too cozy of a nest for yourself.
Mike Sarbaugh, First Base Coach: Has been with the Indians organization since 1990 as a minor league player, coach, and manager. He spent the last three seasons managing the AAA Columbus Clippers (who won back-to-back International League and AAA champions in 2010 and 2011). This is Sarbaugh’s first season on the major league staff. Hooray for promoting from within.
Ty Van Burkleo, Hitting Coach: Has coached at the major league level for five years. He served as the hitting coordinator in Houston’s player development system from 2011-2012 and spent the last month and a half of the 2012 season as the Astro’s hitting coach. He’s also worked as the A’s hitting coach, Mariners bench coach, and Angels hitting coordinator. Van Burkleo also played professionally for 15 years, including 14 major league games for California and Colorado and two seasons in Japan. I’m not sure how I feel about Van Burkleo. Houston did well the last five weeks of the season (going .481 in September vs. .185 in August and .111 in July)–is that because he was the hitting coach or Mills was no longer the manager?