The White Sox want Don Cooper back and reportedly offered him a contract extension. He has been their pitching coach since 2002, filled in as manager for two games in 2011.
The Chicago White Sox made a change at manager but will likely keep a key piece of their coaching staff in place. According to Jon Heyman, the organization has offered Don Cooper a contract extension. 2017 will be his 16th season as their pitching coach.
Cooper has been a constant in the White Sox organization since 1988. He replaced Nardi Contreras as pitching coach in 2002. Previously, he worked in the White Sox minor league system. There’s no doubt he’s one of the best pitching coaches in baseball. He even managed two games in 2011 after Ozzie Guillen and Joey Cora left the team.
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It seems puzzling the White Sox would consider replacing Cooper. Clearly, pitching is not their issue. This team is offensively challenged, but they have a decent pitching staff. In fact, Cooper’s pitching staff was a key reason they won the World Series in 2005.
He may wield a lot of power as pitching coach, more than most organizations would allow, but there’s no doubt he’s been successful. You can credit him with helping make Jose Quintana into a potential ace. He has also had a great influence on Chris Sale’s career. With guys like Carson Fulmer and Zack Burdi in the minors, this team has a lot of young pitching talent. Pitching is probably one of the toughest positions to develop, but the organization seems to have very good luck when it gets its hand’s on young pitchers. Also, don’t forget about Carlos Rodon.
Pitching is such a key part to baseball, so who you have instructing them everyday is very important. The organization has been lucky to have a guy like Cooper. He’s well regarded around the league, and his work just speaks for itself.
While you can’t credit the pitching coach with everything, how they handle their pitchers is important. He is even a reason why some believe James Shields could have a bounce-back season. When pitchers come to Chicago, this team is confident Cooper can help them revitalize their career or make changes necessary to be successful.
When it comes to pitching coaches, there are few who do it better than Cooper. This may be outdated, but he was named one of the 50 Best MLB Pitching Coaches in 2012 by Bleacher Report. Cooper does a great job dealing with the pitching staff. I have no doubt they will improve from this season and with new additions, continue to get better.
The starting rotation looks to be in great shape and if they can figure out the bullpen, this team can have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball. Pitching has been a rare area of strength for the Sox and should only continue. If they can put together a potent offense to go along with it, this team can definitely make some noise in the very near future.