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The Great Bill Castro

I cannot think of a bullpen coach, past or present, who has gotten more accolades than Bill Castro.  So it's only fitting that MLB.com join the fun, not-so-subtly suggesting that Castro will be a ML pitching coach, perhaps soon:

Brewers bullpen coach Billy Castro returned this week from his stint with the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. He hopes the experience was not his last as a pitching coach.

"I think I'm ready for it," said Castro, 54, who has made it clear in recent seasons he would like a chance to be a pitching coach in the Major Leagues.

Castro mentions an interesting dynamic in the article: it'll be tough for him to get a job (and it has been tough for him to get interviews) because he's been with the Brewers so long.  If Mike Maddux were to up and leave (no, don't say it! don't even suggest it!), Castro would probably get some strong consideration, but GMs and managers generally hire who they know.  And an association with the Brewers of the 1990s is hardly the sort of thing one brags about on their calling card.

After reading this article, I got curious: who are bullpen coaches, anyway?  I always had this image of a bullpen coach as a glorified bullpen catcher.  In fact, I feel completely idiotic admitting this, but for the first couple of years I followed the Brewers, I thought Castro was a former catcher.  That's why I thought he'd probably not get a shot as a pitching coach: most PCs are former pitchers.  Of course, Castro was a long-time ML pitcher, and a very very good one for a few years in the late 70s.

Some bullpen coaches may be using the job as a stepping stone: former closer John Wetteland is serving in that role for the Nats.  But in other organizations, it goes to the proverbial grizzled vet, like Bobby Dews, the Atlanta bullpen coach, who sounds like he might have more stories to tell than the entire Brewers coaching staff put together.  So, it would appear that teams look for vastly different things for the job; some people use it as a way to get back in the game and maybe work toward a job as a pitching coach, while others--like Dews--are hanging around after a very productive life in baseball.

All that said, I really have no idea whether Bill Castro would be a good pitching coach.  Frankly, we don't know a heck of a lot about what makes a good PC.  We all say that Mazzone is great (and JC Bradbury proved it), we suspect Mike Maddux is very good, but it seems a foggy science, at best.  And if we can't quantify the impact of a pitching coach--a field where seemingly helpful guys like Rick Peterson may sometimes make horrific decisions--how on earth can we judge whether a bullpen coach would make a good PC?  I suspect we can't, and for a long, long time, GMs will be forced to make hiring decisions the way they always have: interviewing and going with their gut.

Right now, nobody's gut is saying "I want me some Bill Castro!" but as Bill is quoted saying in the article, maybe when Manny Acta gets a managing job (which, apparently, will happen in the next few years, if ESPN commentators are to be believed) that'll be his connection.  For his sake, I hope he gets his shot.  For our sake...well, I'd say our bullpen is much better with him than without him.