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November 1, 2010

Kranitz, Bergesen, Guthrie talk about Kranitz leaving

Rick Kranitz, who spent the past three years as the Orioles' pitching coach, has taken a minor league job with the Houston Astros the day after his Orioles contract expired.

Kranitz, 52, was announced Monday as the Astros' minor league pitching coordinator, joining an organization that includes one of his closest friends, Houston manager Brad Mills.

"First and foremost, I know the people at the top there very well … and it's an organization on the rise," Kranitz said. "They're looking to continue to develop their pitchers and players, and I feel like I am the right guy to do that. It's a very good fit for me."

Rick Kranitz, who spent the past three years as the Orioles' pitching coach, has taken a minor league job with the Houston Astros the day after his Orioles contract expired.

Kranitz, 52, was announced Monday as the Astros' minor league pitching coordinator, joining an organization that includes one of his closest friends, Houston manager Brad Mills.

"First and foremost, I know the people at the top there very well … and it's an organization on the rise," Kranitz said. "They're looking to continue to develop their pitchers and players, and I feel like I am the right guy to do that. It's a very good fit for me."

Kranitz's departure was not a surprise because the Orioles are expected to soon announce the hiring of Mark Connor as their pitching coach. Connor, 61, has been with Buck Showalter at each of the Orioles manager's three previous managerial stops.

Kranitz hadn't heard from anyone in Orioles management for nearly two weeks, and, when his contract expired Sunday, he felt he could no longer keep waiting.

"That's part of the process, honestly, I don't like, the waiting through October," Kranitz said. "It was tough, but I didn't hear anything through yesterday. As my contract expired, I thought it was time for me to move on."

Kranitz was the only big league pitching coach that many of the club's young hurlers knew.

"It's really tough for me," Orioles starter Brad Bergesen said. "Kranny, for me, was so influential. He was such an important part of my development over the last couple of years. I learned so much from him, not just on a professional level, but on a personal one. He knew everything I was going through this year, and he was always there to support and encourage me."

Kranitz came to the Orioles as one of the top assistants in baseball, a season removed from being named Baseball America's Major League Coach of the Year in 2006 for his work with the Florida Marlins' impressive cadre of young starters.

Life was rougher for Kranitz's inexperienced staffs in the American League East. Orioles pitchers finished last or second-to-last in AL ERA in their three seasons under Kranitz. However, the club's 4.59 ERA in 2010 was significantly lower than 2009's AL-worst mark of 5.15. In fact, the 2010 ERA was the Orioles' lowest since 2005.

"We've been able to develop a very good working relationship over the past three seasons," staff veteran Jeremy Guthrie said. "You see a lot of the positives that he brought to the pitching staff with the way a Brad Bergesen threw [in 2009] and at the end of this year and the way a Brian Matusz came up and got acquainted with the big leagues."

The Orioles had an AL-worst 5.18 ERA before Showalter took over Aug. 2. In the following two months, Orioles pitchers combined for a 3.54 ERA, including a 3.16 mark by the starters.

"The numbers speak for themselves through those last 60 games," Kranitz said. "There were a lot of friendships with those young kids, and I am going to miss them. Obviously, it is tough. I feel like some of those guys have really grown and are in a position now where they are going to take off. And I am not going to be a part of that, and, sure, that hurts."

Kranitz is just the second Orioles pitching coach to last at least three consecutive full seasons since 1995. The Orioles have had 11 pitching coaches since 1994, including two separate stints each by Ray Miller and Mike Flanagan.

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Posted by Dan Connolly at 10:08 PM | | Comments (6)
        

Comments

I'm sure Kranitz did a good job with many of the O's pitchers, and that a personal relationship was created that worked well. But, both the coaches and the players know that turnover is inevitable in mlb. With very, and I mean VERY, rare exceptions, managers last about 3 to 4 years, pitching coaches even less. For that matter, pitchers come and go even more frequently than that. I mean Mr. Everything Cliff Lee (about to lose Game 5 tonight) has been with, what, 4 teams in just over two years? Even sure H-O-F-er Greg Maddox pitched with at least 4 teams. If Connor is good, the kids will learn from him, as will the vets. If Buck likes Connor, who am I to question?

I'm sorry to see Kranny go, and am disappointed the O's decision makers didn't communicate with him as his contract ended.

he said the Astros are an organization on the rise.....is that a dig at the O's?????

Joe,

Why do you care? He's gone!
Here's an old article to remind us of his regime!

http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/sports/orioles/blog/2010/07/kranitz_says_pitchers_need_to.html

Doug, it was my impression that MacPhail was friends with Kranitz.
I thought MacPhail and his "Grand Plan"
had Communication at a very high level of importance. MacPhail should have told him where he stood, since MacPhail was probable the main reason Kranitz was here.
I can't wait to see if Kranitz gets the Astros to stand up and be counted!


Buck has the right to find the coaches and staff that fit his ideas and personality. I just wish the O's had the decency to at least let Kranny know that they were not going to offer him an extension as a courteosy.

The Squirrel doesn't usually post so soon after posting, but will make an exception this time.

I see Davey Lopes won't be returning to the Phillies.

http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/11/01/1903099/davey-lopes-tells-phils-he-wont.html

I would "Love" for the Orioles to bring him back! Also, I highly recommend trying to sign Jayson Werth as well!

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.


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