Young’s pitch has been well-received
A’s coach jumps to front of list
Athletics pitching coach Curt Young turned down a contract offer from Oakland that included a substantial raise on Sunday, saying he wanted to pursue other opportunities in baseball.
He interviewed with the Red Sox a day later and has emerged as the leading candidate to replace John Farrell on the coaching staff.
Major league sources said the Sox have already reached out to several candidates but came away impressed by their initial conversation with Young. The 50-year-old Young guided the Oakland staff to a 3.58 earned run average this season, lowest in the American League.
Young pitched 10 years in the majors, going 69-53 with a 4.31 ERA. A lefthander, he spent the bulk of his career with Oakland.
Young became a minor league pitching coach in 2000 and was promoted to Oakland’s major league staff in 2004.
Sox manager Terry Francona was Oakland’s bench coach in 2003 and got to know Young then. Francona is also good friends with former Oakland manager Ken Macha, who had Young on his staff for three years.
On Monday, Francona said it wasn’t a prerequisite that he know the next pitching coach personally but that it would help the ease the transition after Farrell left to become manager of the Blue Jays.
Under Young, Oakland pitchers had the most quality starts in the American League this season and allowed the lowest OPS by opposing batters. The low-budget Athletics also constructed a solid bullpen.
Young’s decision came as a surprise to his pitchers.
“Obviously, Curt meant a lot to all of us, and we wish him well wherever he goes,’’ closer Andrew Bailey told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Someone is getting a great coach.’’
Dallas Braden told the paper, “This came as a complete shock. He’s been that accessible, everyone’s-favorite-uncle figure, a guiding light for us. He taught me how to study within the game, what to look for. He always understood my role and put me in the best position to succeed.’’
Young’s biggest competition could come from Sox advance scout Mike Cather, pitching coach for Double A Portland from 2007-09. The team also plans to interview minor league pitching instructor Ralph Treuel, who had stints on the major league staff in 2006 and 2001.
Ortiz, who attended the Heat-Celtics game, said he remained confident he would be with the team next season.
“We’re going to talk next week,’’ he said.
If the Red Sox do not exercise their option, they could sign Ortiz to a new deal. Otherwise, the All-Star designated hitter would become a free agent five days after the World Series.
Ortiz hit .270 with 32 home runs and 102 RBI this season.