Manuel defends Dubee: 'I'll stand behind him until I die'

Manuel defends Dubee: 'I'll stand behind him until I die'
May 4, 2013, 6:15 pm
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Mitch Williams is paid to be brutally honest and critical. A studio analyst for MLB Network, Williams is on TV for hours a few times per week on “MLB Tonight,” a nightly show that analyzes the day’s events and offers live look-ins to major-league games.

Sometimes his comments are poignant -- last season he was one of the first national voices to offer a logical Cole Hamels trade in the event an extension couldn't be worked out. Hamels to Los Angeles for Mark Trumbo, Williams suggested.

But sometimes his comments are off-the-wall, ludicrous, said either without forethought or with the intention to be sensational. You never hear Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee criticized. At least you didn’t until Friday morning, when the former Phils closer went on 94 WIP and ripped a pitching coach he never played for (see story).

Dubee brushed Williams’ comments aside on Friday, and on Saturday Charlie Manuel vehemently defended his close friend and colleague.

“I’ll stand behind him thick or thin, until I die,” Manuel said.

“I don’t want to get involved in what people say, but at the same time I want to tell you this. I’ve been here for nine years. I’ve had two pitching coaches in the big leagues. I’ve had two good pitching coaches. Rich Dubee has been a lot to us. He has definitely been a part of our success here. He is a tremendous worker. He’s a great communicator. I totally trust him.

“My thinking about baseball is a little different from other people. I see some pitchers that we’ve run through here, and we’ve had them in 55, 60 games, something like that. We’ve had pitchers that leave us -- I’m talking about quite a few -- that never show up in the big leagues, and we got mileage out of 'em, and I look right back at Dubee.”

It’s certainly true. J.C. Romero’s best days came in Philly. Same with Scott Eyre. And Aaron Fultz, Geoff Geary and Clay Condrey. J.A. Happ was significantly better with the Phillies than he’s been since leaving. Vance Worley is off to a horrendous start in Minnesota.

Those are seven players at all different points in their careers who thrived under Dubee and have struggled elsewhere. Dubee obviously isn’t the only reason, but Manuel believes he’s a main reason middling guys such as these found their way while playing in red pinstripes.

There’s also Dubee’s well-publicized work with Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Kyle Kendrick. Halladay credits Dubee with teaching him a changeup that allowed him to pitch the two best years of his career in 2010 and 2011. Under Dubee’s tutelage, Hamels and Kendrick also added new pitches that allowed them to progress. Throw Ryan Madson in with that group, as well.

Williams’ comments were baffling, and they seemed reactionary. Phillies pitchers struggled in April. But Dubee wasn’t the one walking batters for Hamels, throwing first-pitch balls for Halladay or meatballs in Cleveland.

“I think to be a leader you’ve got to delegate jobs to your coaches,” Manuel said. “I lean on Rich Dubee quite a bit, you’ve probably heard me say that before. We play a part, and we communicate on pitching decisions that we make. He’s a tremendous communicator.

“He’s a tremendous pitching coach. He’s a team player. He’s all about our organization. He’s all about us winning, all about us getting better. He breaks down our scouting reports. He organizes our spring training. He does about everything you possibly can do.”