The Rays have signed pitching coach Jim Hickey to a three-year extension, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Hickey’s previous deal ran through the 2016 campaign, but Topkin writes that, presumably, the new deal replaces that one and offers Hickey a raise. Under Hickey, the Rays have continually turned out one of the best pitching units in all of Major League Baseball despite a huge amount of turnover due to the team’s payroll constraints and difficulty retaining players as they become more expensive via arbitration and free agency.
A few more notes on some prominent coaching positions throughout the Majors…
- The Diamondbacks have hired Mike Butcher as their new pitching coach, according to a team press release. Butcher has spent the past nine seasons as Mike Scioscia’s pitching coach in Anaheim, but the Angels announced recently that he would not return for a 10th season. Butcher will replace Mike Harkey, who was fired by the D-Backs following the 2015 campaign.
- Pat Murphy, who served as the Padres’ interim manager following Bud Black’s dismissal in San Diego, will become the Brewers’ bench coach, reports Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Murphy will join manager Craig Counsell in Milwaukee, whom he coached more than 20 years ago at Notre Dame. Milwaukee had interest in adding Murphy to its coaching staff prior to his hiring in San Diego, Lin notes. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt said earlier this month that adding Murphy to the coaching staff was a strong possibility for the Brewers.
- The Tigers have narrowed their search for a pitching coach to a handful of candidates, including recently reassigned Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty, reports MLive.com’s Chris Iott. McCatty has previously served as Detroit’s pitching coach, and he’s joined among the finalists by former Tigers pitcher A.J. Sager, Iott hears. Detroit is closing in on a decision, per Iott.