Braves part ways with pitching coach McDowell after 11 seasons
The Atlanta Braves parted ways with one of their longest-tenured instructors Friday, when the club informed Roger McDowell - their pitching coach for the last 11 seasons - that his contract option for 2017 will not be picked up.
"Roger is a terrific coach and an even better person," general manager John Coppolella told MLB.com's Mark Bowman. "We wish him and his family nothing but the best in the future."
McDowell, who himself made 723 relief appearances throughout a 12-year playing career, had served as Atlanta's pitching coach since 2006, guiding staffs that helped the Braves to three playoff berths and a division title in 2013.
"He got it," four-time All-Star Tim Hudson, a member of McDowell's first staff with the Braves, told Cory McCartney of FOX Sports last year. "He understood the battles guys went through every day and the struggles that guys may experience on a day-to-day basis and it was awesome. He was a guy that was really in your corner."
This past season, with the Braves in rebuilding mode, their inexperienced staff was inconsistent, posting a 4.51 ERA (109 ERA-) and 1.35 WHIP amid a strong performance from right-hander Julio Teheran and growing pains from the remainder of the rotation.
Before finding a replacement for McDowell, however, the Braves will focus on filling their managerial vacancy. Brian Snitker, who served as interim manager after Fredi Gonzalez was fired early in the 2016 campaign, is considered among the top candidates to land the job, as is former San Diego Padres manager Bud Black.