Herges: Relationships with D-backs’ pitchers key for trust, success

Nov 5, 2019, 7:35 PM
Matt Herges #77 of the San Francisco Giants poses during the Giants Photo Day on February 21, 2019 ...
Matt Herges #77 of the San Francisco Giants poses during the Giants Photo Day on February 21, 2019 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)

When the Arizona Diamondbacks were searching for a new pitching coach, the candidate they hired actually called them.

“I said listen, Torey. I don’t know what’s going on with me, I’m kind of in limbo like all the other coaches in San Fran but I will tell you I’m interested in working with you and that’s how it all started,” D-backs pitching coach Matt Herges told Burns & Gambo on 98.7 FM on Arizona’s Sports Station on Tuesday.

Herges spent the last two years as the bullpen coach for the San Francisco Giants. With the Giants on the hunt for a new manager with, they told Herges he was free to shop around, and that’s how he landed with Arizona.

During his playing days, he pitched 11 major league seasons, almost exclusively as a reliever, compiling a 3.91 career ERA with the Dodgers, Expos, Padres, Giants, Indians, Marlins, Rockies and D-backs.

His stint in Arizona was short lived. He pitched eight innings in seven games for the D-backs where he allowed 12 runs, including four home runs.

“I’m surprised they even considered me for this job after the job I did with them in ’05,” Herges joked.

Herges knew he wanted to be a pitching coach after his days were over. In 2010, Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore talked with Herges after he didn’t make the roster coming out of spring training. Moore wanted Herges to go to the team’s Triple-A affiliate, the Omaha Royals, and act as a mentor for the young players coming up through the team’s system.

Herges would still be on the roster in Omaha, but that season it clicked—he wanted to be a pitching coach when his playing days were over.

“I was fortunate to be able to finish that on my own terms,” Herges said. “A lot of times you’re still trying to hunt down a job and try to hold on but I knew I stunk and I knew I was done.”

As Herges gets settled into his role in Arizona, there’s some familiarity in the organization aside from just seeing the team from the opposing dugout. Bullpen coach Mike Fetters mentored Herges when he was a rookie in Los Angeles.

When it comes to his players, he wouldn’t name any specific pitcher that he’s looking forward to working with, but he said this off season, he’s ready to get to know his arsenal.

“If we don’t have any relationship, there won’t be any trust. If there’s no trust, they’ll have no interest in what I have to say,” Herges said.

Herges said he plans to meet with all the pitchers to build those relationships, whether that’s meeting them locally or flying to where their off season homes are. By getting to know them now, he’ll be able to give them the best tools when the 2020 season rolls around.

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