An old familiar face is returning to Cleveland to his old position on the Indians coaching staff.
Carl Willis, who was the Indians pitching coach from 2003-2009 is returning to the organization in the same role as he’s replacing Mickey Callaway, the new manager of the New York Mets.
Willis has been a pitching coach for 14 years in the major leagues and has great success everywhere he’s been.
Starting out with the Indians in 2003, he helped develop the young trio of pitchers: CC Sabathia. Jake Westbrook and Cliff Lee who were the key part of the Indians success during the mid 2000s.
Sabathia won the Cy Young Award in 2007 and Lee backed it up with a Cy Young Award of his own in 2008. Westbrook has his ups and downs during his tenure in Cleveland but from 2004-2006, he won at least 14 games with the organization.
Willis moved on to Seattle starting in 2010 where he once again pitched another Cy Young Award winner in Felix Hernandez and also had some success with Jason Vargas who won 14 games for Seattle in 2012.
For the last few seasons, he was the pitching coach for the Boston Red Sox and once again had success with another Cy Young Award winner in Rick Porcello as well as having some incredible pitchers in David Price and Chris Sale.
Fortunately, Boston was eliminated from the postseason because of their pitching as Cleveland and Houston knocked them out in the first round the past two seasons which led to former Red Sox manager John Farrell and Willis’ dismissal by Boston.
Willis will now get to come to Cleveland with an established pitching staff and bullpen that’s been great the last several seasons.
He gets his hands on another Cy Young winner in Corey Kluber as well as some young arms that have had success and potential for even greater success in Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer, and Mike Clevinger among others.
I like the hiring and think it’s one of the best options the Indians could have hired to fill Callaway’s position due to the long, successful track record Willis has accomplished over his career.
With him being only 56 years old, another potential stint of great coaching could lead to a potential managerial role in Willis’ future if he plays his cards right.