The Minnesota Twins will be searching for a new pitching coach after dismissing Neil Allen. Who are some of the best options?
After dismissing Neil Allen, the Minnesota Twins will be conducting a pitching coach search this offseason. While the front office discussed some of the things they would be looking for in a pitching coach on Tuesday, there doesn’t seem to be an internal candidate to match that criteria. So who will they turn to?
Let’s start with one option that was on the table when Allen was hired:
Willis is a very intriguing career story, and one that Minnesota Twins fans remember well. He was originally drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 1983 in the 23rd round, but he threw well enough to earn his way to the majors by 1984. However, after spending at least part of the 1984-1986 season in the major leagues, Willis started a time where he seemed to bounce around the league, first to the White Sox in 1988 (where he did see a brief major league call up). He then was with the Angels AAA club in 1989 and the Indians AAA club in 1990 before the Twins picked him up in 1991. He quickly earned his way to the big leagues, where he was a vital part of the bullpen on the Twins’ World Series championship team, winning 8 games out of the bullpen and throwing 89 relief innings. After two more great seasons, Willis struggled through injury in 1994 and was released in 1995, pitching in the minors with the Angels that season before retiring.
Willis has become a very well-regarded pitching mind in his post-playing career. He was the pitching coach for the Cleveland Indians from 2003-2009. He then spent most of the 2010 season as the Mariners minor league pitching coordinator until they fired their pitching coach, and he was promoted to the Mariners pitching coach, where he served until 2013. He worked in various minor league roles, working his way back into the Cleveland Indians organization, where he worked with Derek Falvey while Falvey was with the Indians. In early 2015, Willis was hired by the Boston Red Sox to be their pitching coach. He’s served in that role ever since.
With the upheaval of the manager in Boston, Willis may be looking for a new position as well, and with his previous history in Minnesota and with Falvey, this could be a good fit. He was a finalist when the Twins hired Allen previously, and he’d seem to be a logical top choice.
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