Maddux embraces another opportunity with Rangers

November 29th, 2022

ARLINGTON -- Mike Maddux said it doesn’t seem that long ago that he was commanding a Rangers pitching staff at The Ballpark in Arlington, but it’s been a long seven years in Texas without him.

Maddux was the Rangers’ pitching coach from 2009-15, making him the second-longest-tenured pitching coach in club history behind Tom House (1985-92). During that time, Texas collected back-to-back American League pennants in 2010 and ‘11 and made two additional postseason appearances. The Rangers also posted four consecutive seasons of sub-4.00 team ERAs from ‘10-13 under Maddux, and they have not done so since he left.

“He’s obviously been the most successful coach in Rangers history, in my opinion, and I think that all of his attributes and skills are going to serve us extremely well,” said general manager Chris Young.

Now, after stops in Washington (2015-17) and St. Louis (‘18-22), Maddux returns to Texas, looking to revive a pitching staff that’s endured struggles in recent seasons, including a 4.22 ERA this past season. So after a successful run with the Cardinals, whose pitching staff ranked tied for ninth in MLB with a 3.79 ERA in ‘22, why come back?

“That’s a point to where I think this team is,” Maddux said. “It has a lot of promise and a lot of good young players, some very good players currently on the team, with a Silver Slugger at first base, second base and shortstop that are looking really good. … There’s a couple of real frontline pitchers. Martín [Pérez] had a really good year, [Jon] Gray’s got a lot of promise and they’ve got some young prospects on the way. So I think it's a healthy organization right now. And I get to sleep in my own bed, bottom line.”

Being able to return to the Dallas-Fort Worth area full-time, where Maddux and his family own a house, is no doubt a plus, but he embraces the opportunity to work with a pitching staff full of potential.

Texas’ pitching corps in 2022 was largely carried by Pérez, an AL All-Star with a 2.89 ERA, and Gray, who posted a 3.96 ERA despite struggling with injuries. No other Rangers starter had an ERA under 4.00, with young pitchers like Dane Dunning, Glenn Otto and Cole Ragans rounding out the rotation during the last few months of the season. The club also has Top 100 Prospects per MLB Pipeline in Jack Leiter (No. 45) and Owen White (No. 59), along with Rangers No. 10 prospect Cole Winn, knocking on the door of their MLB debuts.

Maddux doesn’t think he’s changed much in the time since his first stint with the Rangers, but he believes he’s been able to adapt as the game has changed around him.

“There's so much information out there nowadays that you have to adapt to that information,” Maddux said. “You have to adapt to the player to get through to the player. You have your convictions, and I have my convictions that I'd love to pass on. But we can use a lot of information to communicate those convictions to younger players. That's been one of my challenges in this game, is to learn that language so that I can translate them into my convictions and just try to pass on wisdom.”

His convictions remain simple, even as analytics surround the game.

“Command the fastball and change speeds,” Maddux explained. “You’ve got to be able to pitch with your fastball. You’ve got to have the one pitch for a strike. You’ve got to lay your heart and soul out there, and you’ve got to believe that you can do it, and you’ve got to be convicted in what you do.”

That wisdom has led Maddux, who is the brother of Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux, to almost 20 years of big league coaching experience. He coached Max Scherzer to two National League Cy Young Awards during his time with Washington under then-manager Dusty Baker.

Maddux noted his excitement to work with yet another likely future Hall of Fame manager in the newly hired Bruce Bochy.

“I look very forward to [working with Bochy],” Maddux said. “His track record is … look, I worked with [Ron Washington], who was fantastic. Dusty Baker, fantastic. And you look at Bochy’s record, it’s better than both of those guys. So I'm looking very forward to working with Boch.”