The Arizona Diamondbacks want to take back the inside portion of home plate.
During a conference call Tuesday to explain the decision to let go of pitching coach Charles Nagy and first base coach Steve, D-backs general manager Kevin Towers said the team’s unwillingness to throw the ball inside played a role in the move to part with Nagy.
“I want somebody that’s going to get our pitching staff to take that plate back, at least that inner-half of the plate back,” he said. “It’s something I think we’ve lost.”
Towers added that at Chase Field, especially, pitching inside is a necessity. But, he said, as much as the coaches can ask and tell their pitchers to throw inside, at some point it comes down to the players wanting to do it.
“To me, it’s not necessarily the pitching coach. It’s trying to get our pitching staff to believe it’s an important part of the game and to be able to execute it,” he said.
However, the decision to move on from Nagy did not necessarily come as a surprise. Though they entered the season with high expectations, the starting rotation appeared to underachieve and the bullpen struggled to hold leads.
“We had a few of our pitchers regressed and looking at the staff as a whole, specifically since 2011, I think we’ve had more pitchers that have probably regressed than actually gotten better,” Towers said.
Diamondbacks pitchers combined to post a 3.92 ERA this season, which ranked 17th in all of baseball. They tied for the league lead with 29 blown saves, and allowed the fifth-most home runs.
It was an all-around uninspiring performance, and one that ultimately cost the pitching coach his job.
“I shared with him areas with things where I was not pleased with what went on with the staff,” Towers said, adding he did not want to get into specific details. “Just philosophical, we probably weren’t exactly on the same page and there’s areas that we would like to see change with our pitching staff and really kind of a different voice and maybe a different way of doing things.”
The D-backs will begin searching for a replacement immediately, and Towers said there are certain traits he and manager Kirk Gibson will be seeking.
“Certainly want somebody whose well-rounded, who can supply leadership to the staff,” he said. “I think I made it very known I think, as a staff, sometimes the pitching staff takes on a little bit of the personality of the leadership.
“The clubs that I’ve had that have had success, we’ve been a tough staff. We’ve been a staff that we’re not going to get knocked around. When we go in and face clubs it’s going to be uncomfortable at-bats for them.”