The Diamondbacks introduced new pitching coach Mike Butcher this afternoon. Butcher comes to Arizona after nine years as the pitching coach for the Los Angeles Angels, having left on good terms. "It was a mutual decision, it was just time to move on," he said. The pitching coach job in Arizona was one he really wanted. Butcher has lived in Arizona since 1990 (his wife's family owns several restaurants), so he has somewhat followed the team. Butcher sees the potential here "looking at this young pitching staff and knowing that the hitting was there and the defense was there." He spoke with other managers about Arizona, and with the Hall of Fame-calibre front office that they have, Butcher is confident that they can put a great product on the field.
Butcher's history with manager Chip Hale goes back to when both were managing in the minor leagues. Hale said, "You're always looking at other organizations and how other guys work, and even back when I was in Missoula and he was in Butte, I was impressed with the way Butcher worked with his pitchers." Butcher, for his part, loves the style of play, the aggressiveness, and the leadership that Hale brings to the team.
The biggest thing that stood out to General Manager Dave Stewart and Hale was Butcher's plans for the starting pitchers. "Certainly, when you're interviewing, you want to hear [location, going deeper in games, eliminating the home run] mentioned," said Hale, "and he's been able to get that done in Tampa and Anaheim. He's taken young, 'okay' pitchers - Garrett Richards, Tyler Skaggs, Matt Shoemaker - and turn them into one of the best staffs in the league." Butcher had a clear plan of action for each individual staring pitcher in the Arizona rotation. "Starting pitchers should have plans designed and made for them as individuals," something that Stewart said didn't exist last year. "To be honest, I'm not too sure the starting pitchers were going in with any plan of attack... I don't know whether they were all doing the same thing, or all doing nothing," Stewart said. "I just wanted more out of the staff."
The nucleus of good, young pitchers in Arizona will improve with progression and maturity, Butcher said, but that doesn't mean Arizona is content to just sit still. Stewart made it clear that the organization will look for help from a veteran pitcher, one who can win, give the team innings, and provide leadership to the pitching staff.