Could former MLB pitcher Frank Viola become the pitching coach of the Miami Marlins? Is it possible a simple Twitter follow could be the answer to this question?
OK, so here it goes. The staff here at Marlin Maniac, namely Kevin Kraczkowski was doing a simple search of our Twitter page about the Miami Marlins and discovered something interesting. Former Major League pitcher Frank Viola was leaving the Mets organization, per a story on MLB.com. Viola had been a pitching coach in the Mets minor league system at the Double-A and Triple-A level.
That’s not the most interesting thing Kraczkowski found in looking over the Twitter page as Viola’s wife Kathy is now following us. If you have been following us the past few days, you know the Marlins, who finished the season 63-98 just cleaned out so to speak, letting go four coaches from manager Don Mattingly’s staff.
One of them was their pitching coach, Juan Nieves. I know this is a shot in the dark and finally, my degree from college is paying off, but could the two moves, rather three moves, be connected?
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On Monday, I posted a story regarding the news of the firings. All four coaches were in the final year of their contracts with the organization.
"“The Miami Marlins intend to keep manager Don Mattingly on the payroll for the 2019 season, but that does not mean they will retain his coaching staff. The team has announced it has released Juan Nieves (pitching), Perry Hill (first base/infield), Frank Menechino (assistant hitting) and Ty Hill (strength and conditioning).”"
The Viola news isn’t as off base as some may think while reading this article, as he has been instrumental in the development of the young arms on the Mets pitching staff over the past few seasons. Could he work magic in South Florida with the host of young pitchers who have been acquired the past two years?
"As Anthony DiComo wrote, “Popular Mets pitching instructor Frank Viola is leaving the organization after eight seasons, a source confirmed Wednesday evening. Viola had hinted at his intentions in a tweet ‘wishing the Mets organization well,” and thanking “all of the pitchers I’ve had a chance to work with.'”"
The Marlins pitching woes have been the team’s Achilles Heel, even prior to the death of Jose Fernandez in 2016. The organization has attempted to find veterans who have not panned out (Edinson Volquez) and pitchers who have had a modicum of success on the mound (Wei-Yin Chen).
Viola has worked with Mets stars Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz prior to their move to the parent ball club. Is it possible he could help the progress of Sandy Alcantara, Jose Urena, Pablo Lopez, and Trevor Richards?
There is no word yet on whom the Marlins may be considering to replace Nieves on the coaching staff, but this could be a sign. I know we here at Marlins Maniac may be reaching a bit, but with no playoff appearance since 2003 and no winning record from this organization in almost a decade, we will take anything.
Per DiComo, Viola, 58, played 15 seasons for the Twins, Mets, Red Sox, Reds, and Blue Jays, winning 20 games for New York in 1990. His knowledge of the game would be invaluable to the Marlins and makes sense to us here on staff.
Now, we wait and see if the move on Twitter is a message, or it’s just false hope that something so minor could mean so much for the Marlins.