DENVER -- The Rockies have received permission from the Marlins to talk with longtime Major League pitching coach and front office executive Mark Wiley for a newly created job to oversee the development of pitchers, a club official confirmed Thursday. The meeting, which was first reported by the Denver Post, will take place sometime this month, the official said. Wiley has been a pitching coach in the Majors with the Indians, Orioles, Marlins and Royals, and recently has been working in the Marlins' front office. Wiley also has worked in the Rockies' organization under general manager Dan O'Dowd.
The Rockies just completed the worst of their 20 seasons, at 64-98, and compiled the Majors' worst ERA at 5.22, the worst starting pitching ERA at 5.81, and the worst home ERA at 5.97 -- more than a run higher than the Red Sox, the second-worst home staff. The problems led to an experiment with four starters limited to 75 pitches per outing and hybrids (relievers who threw on a schedule like starters), the abrupt resignation of pitching coach Bob Apodaca because of fatigue, a two-headed pitching coach with Bo McLaughlin in charge of starters and Jim Wright in charge of relievers, and the late-season announcement that the Rockies will go with five starters for most of next year, but that the hybrid role will exist in some form. The Rockies have been vexed by the challenges of pitching at mile-high altitude throughout their history, and internal studies have shown a pattern of fatigue, injury and loss of effectiveness. This year, injuries and inconsistency led the Rockies to go with a mostly young staff, and many of the young arms weren't ready to handle the Majors. This is what led O'Dowd, who relinquished day-to-day Major League duties to his assistant Bill Geivett but continues work on charting a new player development course for the franchise, to seek a pitching guru. Wiley has had two stints with the Rockies. He was senior director of player personnel in 2000, and a special baseball operations assistant from November 2005 through the 2007 season, when the club went to the World Series.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.