Jim Hickey, long regarded as one of the game’s finest pitching coaches, and Tampa have parted ways, ending an impressive 10-year run.
During his time with the Rays, Hickey helped mold the careers of pitchers like David Price (who won a Cy Young while with the team), Wade Davis, Fernando Rodney (who had an 0.60 ERA in 2012 under Hickey’s watchful eye), and current Rays’ ace Chris Archer, who he helped guide to his first All-Star Game in 2013 thanks to some pointers on his stride.
Hickey was a gifted coach which it came to shaping young talent. He guided multiple rookie pitchers to having 10+ wins in their inaugural seasons. Something the Rays have excelled at over the last decade.
With the gaggle of young pitchers the Braves will be bringing to Atlanta in the coming years, it would make sense to secure a guy like Hickey who, unlike Chuck Hernandez, has a sterling resume.
Hickey is not the only available pitching coach the Braves should pursue. Jim Benedict, who teamed with Pirates pitching guru Ray Searage to revitalize the careers of A.J. Burnett, Francisco Liriano, Vance Worley, Edinson Volquez and J.A. Happ, among others, was fired by the Marlins last week. To get Benedict, the Marlins had pared with pitcher Trevor Williams, who had a decent rookie season with the Bucs this year.
So here’s another test for Braves management. Do they pursue better or stick with meh?
My bet is on the latter.