Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Rays’ Eiland named Royals’ pitching coach
Posted Oct 25, 2011 by Roger Mooney
Updated Oct 27, 2011 at 09:38 AM
Dave Eiland, who spent last season as a special assistant on Andrew Friedman’s staff, was hired by Kansas City to be the Royals’ pitching coach.
“I wouldn’t have left the Rays for any job, any pitching coach’s job for that matter. It had to be the right fit, and obviously I felt and know in my heart that Kansas City is the right fit for me and my family, as well,” Eiland said. “In 25 years in this game, I’ve never been around such bright knowledgeable baseball people and human beings, as well. It wasn’t easy to leave there because they have something special going on there from ownership to Andrew Friedman, who I answered to and who I can’t say enough about, and the product on the field with Joe Maddon and the coaching staff.”
Eiland, 45, had been the pitching coach of the Yankees from 2008 to 2010. He replaces Bob McClure, who was fired by the Royals the day after the regular season ended
His duties with the Rays including scouting the top pitchers eligible for last June’s draft, evaluating the pitchers in the Rays farm system and providing input on those pitchers at the major league level. But Eiland said he is a pitching coach at and he yearned to get back in uniform.
“I always wanted to get back on the field. That’s where my heart is and that’s where my passion is. Fortunately I have this opportunity now.”
The Dade City native and Zephyrhills resident will take over a young Royals pitching staff believed to have plenty of upside. That staff will be fed by a farm system considered the tops in baseball.
“They have some good, young power arms at several levels,” Eiland said. “Some are already in the big leagues and some are knocking on the door.”
Eiland said the Royals approached him about the job and were “aggressive” in their pursuit. He said the two sides reached and agreement over the weekend, and the Royals made the announcement today during the off-day between Games 5 and 6 of the World Series.
That he enjoyed his work with the Rays last season allowed Eiland to be picky when it came to pursuing a job as a pitching coach.
“Absolutely, it was,” he said. “I had the luxury because I was going back in the same capacity this coming year, but this opportunity presented itself, and it just felt right. It feels right in my head and feels right in my heart. There were only a handful of places I would have left Tampa to go to and this was one of them.”