Making a Pitch: Holmes Out, Scott In as Rockies Bullpen Coach
Darren Holmes, a member of the Rockies bullpen in the team's first five years of competition who returned to the organization as the big-league bullpen coach five years ago, has become a casualty of the Rockies disappointing 2019 season.
The team announced Friday that Holmes has been replaced on the coaching staff by Darryl Scott. Scott has worked in the Rockies minor-league system since 2009.
Scott spent the last three years as the organization's "upper level" pitching coordinator, where he focused on Double-A Hartford and Triple-A Albuquerque in addition to stretches with the big-league team, easing his transition to a full-time big-league job in light of having relationships already with the bulk of the staff.
The Rockies also announced that Steve Merriman, who has a strong background in analytics and was the pitching coach at Double-A Hartford in 2019, will replace Scott as the "upper level" pitching coordinator.
Scott, 51, has been a candidate for pitching coach jobs with other organizations in recent years, including the Minnesota Twins last year, and the Boston Red Sox this year. The Red Sox, on Thursday, announced the hiring of Dave Bush to fill their coaching vacancy.
Bridich, who was the Rockies farm director when Scott, 51, first joined the organization in 2009, said he felt Scott's familiarity with pitchers in the organization is important. In addition to his assignments during the season, Scott lives in the Phoenix area, and oversees off-season workouts at the Rockies Salt River Fields complex.
"Darryl has been here for a long time in different roles in our development program," said Bridich. "I personally have been able to work with him and watch him grow. ... He's been a key part of our winter program at Salt River. He not only has a relationship with the coaches and myself, but he has known a number of our pitchers for a long time."
Given the season ended a month ago, the move was a bit surprising, but the Rockies, after back-to-back post-season appearances, are coming off a season in which they had to win the final game of the season to avoid a last-place finish.
The pitching staff was in a constant state of flux, especially an injured-riddle rotation that by season's end did not include any of the five starters on the Opening Day roster.
The bullpen had a 5.14 ERA, the sixth highest in franchise history, and converted 28 saves, the third fewest. Wade Davis, who opened the season as the team's closer, was replaced in that role in August by Scott Oberg, and when Oberg was sidelined in mid-August because of blood clots in his upper right arm, the Rockies turned to Jario Diaz for the ninth-inning work.
The Rockies veteran setup duo of righthander Bryan Shaw and lefthander Jake McGee also struggled, creating the assumption that they may be dealt in the off-season.
“Sometimes you feel like you need a change in voice and just a change in personality and a change in skill-set," Bridich said of the move with Holmes. "It’s not like there was one specific thing that happened. We just feel like maybe it’s time for a fresh start in that role. It’s really not more complicated than that.”