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Tim Belcher is reportedly in as pitching coach. Here's Lastoria's take


Quick Thoughts On Belcher

Posted by Tony at 12:16 PM


Without any comments from Mark Shapiro or Manny Acta yet on the hiring of Tim Belcher as the Major League Pitching Coach, here are some quick thoughts on the hiring off the top of my head:


- When assessing the pitching coach possibilities, I think it was a foregone conclusion that that job was going to be filled from within. As a result, a lot of the focus was on Triple-A Columbus pitching coach Scott Radinsky and minor league pitching coordinator Dave Miller as the top candidates to fill the job. In hindsight this was very narrow thinking, and I like many others in the media completely forgot about Tim Belcher and Jason Bere and their roles as special assistants to the Indians Baseball Operations Department.


- Like Radinsky and Miller, Belcher fit the mold of someone who was very familiar with all the young talent up and down the Indians system having observed and also worked with them all many times over his eight years in the organization. He was a teacher and helped facilitate the development of the young players like Radinsky and Miller, but what set Belcher apart from Radinsky and Miller is his experience working in the big league environment. Having done a lot of advanced scouting and player evaluation at the big league level recently he was probably more in touch with the demands at that level.


- Bere and Belcher shared a lot of the same duties as special assistants to baseball operations, with Bere a little more ingrained with the minor league guys and development whereas Belcher was used a little more in player decisions at the minor/major league level and also evaluation of players in the minors/majors inside and outside the organization.


- From what I understand a lot of times Belcher was GM Mark Shapiro’s “eyes” in evaluating and observing the pitching in the system, particularly in the upper levels of the system at Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus.


- It looks like with this move that Miller likely remains as the minor league pitching coordinator, but it is still unclear where Radinsky will fit. There is a possibility he could be a bullpen coach, or very well return to Columbus and assume his pitching coach duties again. There is also the possibility that Radinsky could leave the organization for a big league job or minor league coaching job elsewhere.


- The hiring of Belcher may bring to light who they may be looking at as their hitting coach. I still believe they will go outside the organization and fill the role, but if they do happen to fill the role from within it seems very possible that Ellis Burks could be named to the position. Like Belcher, Burks was a special assistant to the Baseball Operations Department and had the same responsibilities as he assisted in the facilitation of instruction and development at the major league and minor league level. Just like Belcher, Burks assisted Shapiro in player decisions and his primary duty was to evaluate position players, particularly the outfielders. If he does not end up the hitting coach, he could still end up on Acta’s staff as an outfield coach.


- In the end I like many Indians fans was surprised by the announcement this morning that Belcher was named the big league pitching coach. But while I was surprised, I was not shocked as given a few minutes to take it in the hiring certainly makes a lot of sense. He brings with him a lot of success and experience as a big league pitcher, and more importantly he also has experience with instruction, evaluation, and developing young talent. I still may have preferred Radinsky, but I understand that they probably wanted a guy with more experience recently working at the big league level.

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  • 2 weeks later...

From our boy Anthony C Here are some additions to Acta's new staff


Three more named to Acta's staff

Manny Acta has made three more appointments to his coaching staff.


Tim Tolman will be coming aboard as the bench coach, Scott Radinsky has been promoted from Triple-A pitching coach to big league bullpen coach, and Steve Smith is joining the Indians as Acta's third base and infield coach.


Tolman has previous ties to both Acta and the Indians. He served as Acta's third base coach with the Nationals in 2007 and 2008. He spent last season as a Minor League instruction coordinator for the Mariners. He was with the Indians as a Minor League field coordinator from 2003-06 and, prior to that, spent 12 years working in the Astros' player development system.


Radinsky was passed over for this bullpen coach position a year ago, when the Indians hired Chuck Hernandez to replace Luis Isaac. Now, Radinsky, who has 557 Major League relief appearances under his belt, joins the staff after spending three years as pitching coach at the Triple-A level.


Smith is a new face to both Acta and the Indians. He spent a total of 11 seasons serving as the third base and infield coach for the Mariners (1996-99), Rangers (2000-06) and Phillies (2007-08). Charlie Manuel dismissed him after the Phillies won the World Series title in 2008. Smith had been suspended twice for on-field incidents.


With pitching coach Tim Belcher also in tow, there are just two prominent jobs remaining on Acta's staff -- hitting coach and first base coach.



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I don't know much about Steve Smith but a quick google search gives us this reaction to his firing in 2008 - from Philliesnation.com:


November 5th, 2008 at 4:42 am


Steve was the weak link in the coaching staff. He blew too many calls and just didn’t have the aggressiveness to hold up or send runners: seems like Shane stopped at third too often and Pat chugged past more times than were prudent.




# Jim D. Says:

November 5th, 2008 at 8:56 am


thank god




KM Says:

November 5th, 2008 at 10:55 am


The Phillies could sign Sabathia, Teixeira, Ibanez, Burnett, Lowe and every other top free agent available, and this would easily be the best move of the offseason.




# KM Says:

November 5th, 2008 at 10:57 am


I’d rather have Vukovich’s corpse in there directing runners at third(poor taste i know).




Oooookay then. To be fair, there were a few Smith supporters in that thread too. And as we all know, Internet message boards are the places to go to find unbiased, learned opinions! Let's hope Mr. Smith has a ton of opportunities for us to judge his decision making with runners rounding third next year.







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