Dubee proud of his accomplishments with Phils

Rich Dubee was let go by the Phillies after last season and now oversees the Atlanta Braves' minor-league pitchers.
Rich Dubee was let go by the Phillies after last season and now oversees the Atlanta Braves' minor-league pitchers. (YONG KIM / Staff)
Posted: February 22, 2014

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - One of them was celebrated upon departure. The other one just left.

They had a day at the diner for Charlie Manuel shortly after the Phillies fired him in August. The first 10 callers to WIP-FM got to worship Uncle Charlie. So did the next 10, and the 10 after that.

Rich Dubee, on the other hand, stayed to the miserable end of the Phillies' 2013 season and was told almost immediately afterward that the team would replace him as the pitching coach.

Manuel, of course, was the Phillies' avuncular manager for nearly nine years, and once he survived his fruitless first two seasons and led the team to a World Series victory and a half-decade of divisional dominance, it was pretty clear how he'd be remembered in Philadelphia.

Dubee reminded Manuel of that when the manager was fired.

"We had a good talk," Dubee said Thursday as he sat in the spring-training home dugout of the Atlanta Braves, the team that now employs him as its minor-league pitching coordinator. "We enjoyed a lot of good times together. Like anybody who gets fired, he was upset.

"I said, 'Chuck, you're going to go out as a rock star. You're not leaving Philadelphia, where people don't think anything of you. They haven't forgotten what you've accomplished here. You're a rock star. People love you.' "

The same cannot be said for Dubee, even though he was with Manuel every step of the way. Part of the reason is because he was the pitching coach and not the manager. It probably didn't help that, publicly, he is a gruff New Englander who sometimes makes you jump through hoops for basic information.

That part is not going to change, and Dubee is perfectly happy with how his tenure went in Philadelphia.

"As a coach, you're a subordinate," Dubee said. "Your job is whatever area you're working in to prepare those players. My gratification was in watching guys play at a high level of performance. As far as my reward, I got 13 years in the big leagues."

The other four came with the Florida Marlins.

"There are a lot of coaches in the minor leagues who are qualified who never got an opportunity, and I felt I was very fortunate when I met Charlie that he liked me and we worked well together," Dubee said. "I got nine good years with him. I never threw one pitch in a major-league stadium [he pitched six seasons in the minors], and I have three World Series rings, so I feel pretty fortunate."

Dubee, 56, interviewed for pitching-coach jobs with Seattle and Baltimore after being fired by the Phillies. He'd like another shot eventually, but he's quite content with his new role with the Braves.

"I will oversee all the pitching in the minor leagues, similar to what I did with the Marlins," he said. "Outside of winning the World Series, it's probably one of the most rewarding jobs. You see high school or college kids come in, and you see them progress through the system, and you see them mature, and you see them get to the big leagues, and it's very gratifying."

Manuel, still adjusting to being at home in Winter Haven, Fla., as spring training goes on all around him, believes Dubee deserves another shot at being a pitching coach. He also believes Dubee deserves much of the credit for the best era in Phillies baseball.

"I think he was definitely under the radar," Manuel said. "He was a tremendous pitching coach and a great communicator. I heard a lot of people criticize him and say he couldn't work with the young pitchers. He was great at that. It might have been one of his biggest strengths."

Former Phillies closer Mitch Williams stirred controversy last season by saying that Dubee failed to recognize a flaw in Roy Halladay's delivery and that the pitching coach was no longer getting through to the pitchers. Halladay, of course, had major issues unrelated to his delivery, and there probably wasn't a pitching coach or manager alive who could have saved the Phillies last season.

Manuel used example after example of guys who had success under Dubee and never duplicated it anywhere else. The list included Clay Condrey and Aaron Fultz.

Dubee felt he had other proud moments.

"I think you go out to help them all," he said. "This will be the first time Cole [Hamels] will have a different pitching coach, so I was there for all of his starts. I think the addition of a splitter to [Halladay] helped him immensely. Kyle [Kendrick] has had great signs of development at times. He had a solid second half two years ago and a good first half last year, and he has to find a way to put both of them together.

"Look at J.C. Romero. We got him as a two-time release guy. He pitched fantastic for us. Ryan Madson emerged as a closer, Brad Lidge had a perfect season. Those are all things you look back on. Those guys are the ones who did it. Your job is to prepare them as well as possible, keep them in the right frame of mind, and they performed tremendously."

Good guidance was important, too, and Rich Dubee does, indeed, deserve a lot of the credit.



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