After apparently being swiped left for the pitching coach position by Bryan Price and Kirk Saarloos, it seems like the Arizona Diamondbacks might have finally found a man to replace Mike Butcher. Nick Piecoro writes that the team will hire Matt Herges for the position. Herges was an 11-year veteran in the majors, including a thoroughly forgettable brief stint with the Diamondbacks as a player. He was traded by San Francisco to Arizona on June 3, 2005 for Doug Devore, but put up a spectacularly bad 13.50 ERA over eight innings of work, and was released barely two weeks later, on June 18. However, he had a 3.91 ERA (111 ERA+) over 567 career appearances for eight different teams.
After retiring from the playing field at the end of the 2010 season, he became a coach in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. He progressed through their farm system until 2017, when he was the pitching coach of their AAA affiliate in Oklahoma City. Herges than moved to San Francisco to become their bullpen coach. At the time, it was seen as “a sign they’ll be more analytics-driven,” with Herges’s role including series advance analysis. However, that’s a role which I think is currently occupied for the D-backs by Dan Haren. But Herges does appear to have an analytic bent, saying of his time with LA, “We coaches had to seek [the metrics] out. I wanted to learn because this is where the game is going.”
With the departure of the retiring Bruce Bochy as Giants manager, it probably makes sense for Herges and the other coaches to be seeking new opportunities. Whoever San Francisco bring in would likely want their own men alongside them. However, there was some speculation Herges might stay on, given a previous connection with Giants’ president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, during his time with the Dodgers. Instead, Herges is now 60% of the way to completing his set of NL West coaching jobs. That’s particularly impressive, as Matt is also one of only two men to have played for all five franchises in the division. Can you name the other? Answer at the end of the article.
In a spirit of full disclosure, I should mention Herges was named in the Mitchell Report on drugs in baseball. Former Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski said he sold the pitcher human growth hormone on several occasions in 2004-05, when with the Giants and D-backs. Matt subsequently admitted to using HGH, saying “I know what I did was wrong, 100 per cent, no excuses, no justification, no rationalization. I screwed up and I crossed the line.” I was amused by his statement of the effects, or lack thereof: “It wasn’t a miracle drug. It didn’t make me throw harder. The one thing I guess is I woke up not as achy. But in terms of baseball, it didn’t do much for me.” Let’s hope Herges can do more for our pitchers!
[Herges and Steve Finley are the two who have played for all five NL West teams]