10/23/12 12:15 AM ET
Rockies name Wiley director of pitching operations
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
"They have a lot of guys that I like, guys with a lot of talent," Wiley said. "I think they can be good. If all of them are mentally tough enough, that's what we've got to find out."Wiley, 64, has long been connected with general manager Dan O'Dowd. Wiley worked as the Orioles' pitching coach in 1987, when O'Dowd was an assistant in player development and scouting for the club. Wiley served two stints as the Indians' pitching coach (1988 to 1991 and 1995 to 1998) while O'Dowd was a key member of the front office. Wiley also was the Rockies' senior director of player personnel in 2000, O'Dowd's first year as GM, and special assistant for player personnel in 2006 and 2007, when his voice was instrumental in building a pitching staff that took the team to the World Series in 2007. He also was pitching coach for the Marlins in 2008 and 2009 before moving to the team's front office. Wiley has an idea of the type of pitching style that can succeed but said that a one-size-fits-all policy would be a mistake. "I've never liked coaches that had a cookie-cutter approach, because how can you find a Dan Quisenberry or a Kent Tekulve if you do that?" he said. By season's end the Rockies had backed away from the four-man rotation but announced that a pitch count would exist in some form. Wiley will have much to do with setting such policy, but he said that the idea of controlling the workload or how many times pitchers face a lineup -- a key component of the Rockies' philosophy -- is not revolutionary. "A lot of teams do that, but the difference here was we had so many young pitchers at one time," Wiley said. "Some pitchers, you let them face a lineup a third time and don't have any concerns. But some others, you try to reduce that to give them a chance at success. "When I was with Cleveland, we had Orel Hershiser and Dennis Martinez closer to the end of their careers, and we usually didn't have them go more than five or six innings. It's something you do with pitchers at the very beginning of their careers or when they're much older." Wiley has begun talking to Doug Linton, the team's Minor League pitching coordinator, about policies that can be instituted throughout the Minor League system. In addition to being involved in the hiring of the pitching coach and discussing his thoughts with whomever is hired, he will have meetings with the Rockies on personnel matters going into the Winter Meetings and eventually gain a feeling for the pitchers themselves. The new program also will include exercises to build mental toughness, which Wiley believes is as important as any physical characteristic.
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.