I’m not surprised by Tuesday’s announcement that Charles Nagy has been fired as the Diamondbacks’ pitching coach. Coaches come and coaches go, and the staffs of teams that finish .500 and blow nine game leads are rarely extended the luxury of returning in tact.
However, what I do find curious is why Ian Kennedy was traded if Nagy was to shoulder the blame for the team’s pitching woes.
Two years ago, Kennedy was the staff ace and a 26-year-old Cy Young contender with so bright a future GM Kevin Towers wanted to contractually extend the righ-thander long after his first season of free agent eligibility. Two disappointing seasons later, he was being shipped to San Diego in the middle of a playoff push for a left-handed specialist, a Double-A closer and a bag of sand.
The organization clearly wasn’t serious about its own postseason fortunes. Otherwise, a trade would have been completed that brought over more than a mediocre left-handed specialist to aid the cause, especially when the team already had one.
Tony Sipp (designated for assignment): 4.78 ERA in 56 appearances for the D-backs.
Joe Thatcher (acquired): 6.75 ERA in 22 appearances for the D-backs.
If it had been decided that of all the Diamondbacks’ coaches, Nagy was the weak link, wouldn’t it have been worth giving a new pitching coach the chance at resurrecting Kennedy’s once-promising career before shipping him off for spare parts?
Kennedy did post his best two months of the 2013 season while in a San Diego Padre uniform.
Kennedy w/ ARI: 3-8, 5.23 ERA, a 1.42 WHIP
Kennedy w/ SD: 4-2, 4.24 ERA, a 1.34 WHIP
Yes, Petco Park in San Diego is pitcher-friendly. But there is a chance that another voice, another set of eyes might have had an influence.
Why not give one the chance in Arizona?
Perhaps Kennedy is unfixable. After all, he’s allowed more hits than innings pitched the last two seasons, he finished 2013 with the tenth-most home runs allowed, and his ERA was fifth worst among qualifying starters this season.
But at age 28, and under contract for another season, why not see if he can be saved rather than make the hasty decision to rid the organization of a growing frustration that could come back to bite them wearing the uniform of a division rival?
Makes me think there was more behind the trade…
– He wasn’t liked?
– Kevin Towers didn’t want to deal with his agent, Scott Boras, if Kennedy did turn it around?
– Kennedy wasn’t perceived as being “gritty” enough for Gibby’s taste?
All I know is that a once-promising pitching staff of the future has gone to shambles.
And I, for one, refuse to heap all the blame on Charles Nagy and Ian Kennedy.