The Orioles turned over their pitching staff to a new face Oct. 29, announcing the hiring of Dave Wallace as their pitching coach.
Wallace, 66, has a wealth of experience working with pitchers at both the major league and minor league levels. He served as pitching coach for Dodgers (1995-97), Mets (1999 and 2000), Red Sox (2003-06) and Astros (2007). He has also served in a front office capacity as a special assistant to the general manager for the Mariners (2008-09) and senior vice president of baseball operations for the Dodgers (2001-03). For the past four seasons, he has worked as the minor league pitching coordinator for the Braves.
Of the 10 years Wallace has served as a major league pitching coach, his teams have made the postseason seven times, including the 2004 World Series champion Red Sox.
"I think we helped the Orioles today by adding a solid veteran leader in Dave Wallace," general manager Dan Duquette said. "Dave is the kind of teacher that not only will help our pitchers learn their job, but Dave will also help other pitching coaches in the organization learn their job better. That's the track record that he's established throughout the industry in helping develop winning pitchers and winning teams along the way."
Wallace replaces Rick Adair, who left the team in August to tend to his ailing father and confirmed this offseason that he wouldn't be returning. Wallace becomes the Orioles' fifth pitching coach under manager Buck Showalter, following interim pitching coach Bill Castro (2013), Adair (2011-13), Mark Connor (2011) and Rick Kranitz (2010).
Wallace said he's looking forward to working with the Orioles' stable of young pitchers.
"I think that you never stop teaching when it comes to baseball, especially young pitchers," he said. "And I have an affinity to help young pitchers. That's always been a great pleasure to see these guys come along. You study them, you learn their personalities, let them learn to trust you, understand that there's a communication that needs to go on."
Wallace said that it wasn't an easy decision to leave a cushy job for a perennially successful team in Atlanta, but the chance to work with Duquette and Orioles manager Buck Showalter was too good to pass up.
"There's a couple of people running this organization that I have respected from afar for a long time," Wallace said. "I've had the pleasure of being across the field from Buck on occasion, and certainly front office-wise I know Dan's reputation ... and have a tremendous amount of respect for them and the Orioles' history. It's a fantastic baseball town. It's a great place to be. Those two guys, I know what they do, I know their work ethic and I know the respect that they command in the game."
During his introductory news conference, Wallace offered a straightforward philosophy about pitching, which he said he hoped to instill in the Orioles' staff.
"It's commanding the baseball," he said. "It's not controlling it. You need to command the strike zone. You need to throw a secondary pitch in the right situations and then have the competitiveness and understanding and preparation to not only exploit weaknesses but [know] how to utilize your strengths."
Wallace assured that developing pitchers would be a collaborative effort throughout the organization.
"Obviously there are some pitching coaches in the organization who have had these guys, especially the ones that have come up through the organization," he said. "So you bring them in. You incorporate them. You engage them. You make the player understand that not one of us has the answer, but I think collectively, we'll do the best we can to get the right answer to help these young guys out.
"It's a team effort. I think everybody has to put their egos aside and figure out what's best for the player, because that's ultimately our job. So I love having other pitching coaches around. ... I embrace the young pitching coaches coming up with new, innovative ideas. And I think that's part of our job. We've got to bring all those people on board for the right reason, which is to make the players better."
With the hiring of Wallace, the Orioles now have one vacancy -- bullpen coach -- remaining on their coaching staff.