The Phillies announced Friday that they’ve hired Caleb Cotham as their new pitching coach, replacing the recently retired Bryan Price. Cotham was reported to be the front-runner last week.
It’s been a rapid ascent to this position for Cotham, who is still just 33 years of age and as recently as 2016 was pitching in the big leagues. He retired shortly thereafter and was quickly hired as an assistant pitching coach with one of his former teams, the Reds. Cotham’s extensive work with Driveline Baseball opened him up to myriad ways in which data and technology could be implemented as a means of improving velocity and optimizing pitching arsenals. When the Reds hired Driveline’s Kyle Boddy a year later in 2019, Cotham added “director of pitching” to his title with the Reds organization.
Despite his youth, Cotham’s growing knowledge of cutting-edge technological advancements in pitching development has made him something of a rising star on the coaching ranks. He reportedly interviewed with multiple clubs this winter. Cotham’s familiarity with Phillies skipper Joe Girardi, his manager with the 2015 Yankees, surely couldn’t have hurt his chances at landing the job in Philadelphia.
“Caleb has many strengths as a pitching coach that we believe will help him excel with our staff,” Girardi said in a statement within today’s press release. “He has a very good feel for evaluating pitchers and getting them back on track when things start to go wrong. The pitchers in Cincinnati were very complimentary of his game-planning ability and knowing how to play to each one of their strengths. Caleb is a tremendous competitor whose experience as both a major league pitcher and major league coach will enhance our staff.”
The loss of Cotham gives the Reds some work to do on their coaching staff. Boddy, the organization’s pitching coordinator and director of pitching initiatives, noted at the end of a congratulatory Twitter thread that he is “not throwing [his] hat into the ring” to replace Cotham. Boddy added that Cotham’s presence with the organization “helped to attract considerable coaching talent” from outside the organization and that the Reds have “a lot of great directions to investigate.”