NOVEMBER 15: The Phillies are indeed hoping to finalize a deal with Cotham in the next week, hears Jon Heyman of MLB Network (Twitter link).
NOVEMBER 14: Reds’ assistant pitching coach and director of pitching Caleb Cotham is the leading candidate to take over as the next pitching coach of the Philadelphia Phillies, per Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia. Salisbury names Cotham as the “clear frontrunner.”
Cotham, 33, pitched for two seasons at the major-league level, making his debut for manager Joe Girardi and the New York Yankees in 2015. Girardi likely has significant sway in this hiring decision as the manager of the Phillies, especially since they continue to search for a new head of baseball ops. The Phillies, however, aren’t the only team that Cotham has spoken with this offseason.
Speculatively speaking, Cotham’s experience with Driveline Baseball could be a selling point for data-interested hurlers, as well as the organization on the whole. One such hurler happens to be the top starting pitcher on the free agent market. It’s easy to connect the dots between a potential Cotham hire and NL Cy Young Trevor Bauer – just as we do between Cotham and Girardi – but that’s two steps down the line. If a connection is all it takes to sign Bauer, after all, the Reds would still be in pole position. The Phillies have, however, shown a willingness to spend for starting pitching on the open market in recent years with the additions of Jake Arrieta and Zack Wheeler. Still, if Cotham does indeed turn out to be their hire, it will be on his own merit.