Thursday night, former Phillies pitcher Scott Mathieson and current Phillies writer Mandy Housenick had a very interesting exchange on Twitter. Mathieson suggested that bullpen coach Rod Nichols take over Rich Dubee’s job as pitching coach, and Housenick added that Ryan Madson and Brett Myers had similar opinions on Nichols. Earlier this season, MLB Network’s Mitch Williams also suggested that Dubee get replaced. Roy Halladay, among others, defended Dubee.
But maybe Mathieson and Williams are on to something. Dubee has been in the Phillies organization for 12 years, and nine with the major league team. It could be time to replace him, as Williams said, if only to get a new voice in the ears of the Phils’ pitchers. The starters are doing exceptionally well, and the emergence of Kyle Kendrick as a solid part of the rotation is outstanding, considering where he came from.
But the bullpen is another story. It ranks last in the NL in ERA (4.58) and walk rate. Many young arms have struggled lately–Phillippe Aumont, Michael Stutes (possibly due to injury), and Justin De Fratus come to mind. Maybe Dubee just isn’t reaching the young guys like he wants to. And if (Rod) Nichols is beloved as much as Mathieson suggested, replacing Dubee with him seems like a no-brainer. The younger arms–the ones that need coaching the most–would have a new coach and a chance at a fresh start. The benefits would be great.
What would the cons be? In my eyes–nothing. Charlie Manuel‘s contract is up at the end of the year, and I think that, barring something unexpected, he won’t be re-signed by the club. Manuel and Dubee are good friends, and it would be hard to imagine Manuel leaving without Dubee. I think it would be the right move to let go of most, if not all of Manuel’s coaching staff at the end of the year.
I’m not saying that the Phillies should do a mid-season coaching move like they did with Milt Thompson. There is no need for a “shock” move to light a fire under the players with a playoff berth unlikely. But a change could be what benefits the Phillies most in the coming years, and the end of this season is the perfect time to do it.