CLEVELAND (92.3 the Fan) – Carl Willis was not the sexy hire as Cleveland Indians pitching coach, with friend of Terry Francona and former Red Sox Manager John Farrell floating about. Both Willis and Farrell were familiar to Francona, but Willis was familiar to Indians pitchers.
That particular familiarity went both ways for the man who served as Tribe pitching coach from 2003 to 2009.
“There were other opportunities, but those opportunities didn’t include the names Kluber, Bauer, Carrasco,” Willis told reporters on Thursday.
The 56-year-old had four suitors for his services, but the quality of the Indians staff was what Willis said pushed him over the top.
Manager Terry Francona said there was a sense of urgency to get somebody on board because of the competition to sign pitching coaches this off-season.
During his first stint in Cleveland, Willis molded the likes of CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee into Cy Young winners. He also served as pitching coach at Triple-A Columbus in 2015 before joining Farrell’s staff in Boston.
Francona said the team has begun looking for candidates to fill the job of former assistant hitting coach Matt Quatraro, who joined former bullpen coach Kevin Cash as third base coach in Tampa Bay.