Thursday, October 20, 2005

MLB News: Orioles hire Leo Mazzone as pitching coach

Tired of waiting for the change that may spark the Orioles to a winning season? Thought all hope was lost when they re-hired Mike Flanagan and Sam Perlozzo, then started talking to Jim Duquette about him joining on to continue the two-headed general manager system? Well, it's been a while for O's fans, but there is now reason for optimism.

The Orioles have reached an agreement on a three-year deal that would bring Leo Mazzone from the Braves to the Orioles. (AP article.)

Leo Mazzone, who had said a couple years ago that he wanted to be Sam Perlozzo's pitching coach (and that was before Sam Perlozzo ever got a managing job), brings years of success and the "Mazzone Effect" to a team that hasn't had a winning season since 1997. conducted an analysis of every pitcher that pitched at least one year under Mazzone, and compared their stats with him as their pitching coach to their stats without him. "The verdict: having Leo Mazzone as a pitching coach lowered a pitcher's ERA by a little more than half a run." Now that's a nice testimonial.

And it is much-needed on a team with a wealth of young, talented pitchers (Erik Bedard, Daniel Cabrera, Bruce Chen) that may be in the running for a big time starter in the offseason. This "big time" starter, though, would also likely be someone with a ton of potential that as of yet has not been completely realized. A.J. Burnett and Jeff Weaver are the names that top that list. However, Kevin Millwood had a lot of success when with the Braves, and this hire may make Baltimore an attractive place for him.

"It would probably make anyplace more attractive to a pitcher," an agent of a member of this year's free agent pitching crop told The Washington Post.

This is exciting news heading into an offseason during which Peter Angelos has vowed to spend money to bring the Orioles back into contention.

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