Tigers dismiss pitching coach Bosio

June 27th, 2018

DETROIT -- The Tigers terminated the contract of pitching coach Chris Bosio on Wednesday for insensitive comments made toward a team employee in violation of company policy.
Bullpen coach Rick Anderson, who filled in for Bosio during a medical absence earlier this season, will take over as pitching coach for the remainder of the year. Roving pitching instructor A.J. Sager will serve as bullpen coach through the Tigers' next road trip, which ends next Wednesday. Triple-A Toledo pitching coach Jeff Pico, a former pitching coach with the Reds, will take over as bullpen coach from there.
General manager Al Avila would not specify the comments or to whom they were directed. Avila said the comments were brought to his attention on Tuesday and were investigated by baseball legal counsel John Westhoff, among others. Avila said he informed Bosio of the decision Wednesday afternoon when he reported to the ballpark.
"First and foremost, I have to take seriously what the comments were, and the action we took was appropriate," Avila said. "We felt that obviously it was the right move, and that's the most important thing for us. Secondary is what's going to happen to the pitching, and we feel more than confident with the experience of Rick Anderson and Jeff Pico to lead the way the rest of the season."
The Tigers also issued the following statement on Bosio:
"Effective immediately, the Detroit Tigers have terminated the contract of pitching coach Chris Bosio for his insensitive comments that violated Club policy and his Uniform Employee Contract. The organization holds all of our personnel to the highest standards of personal conduct both on and off the field. We have zero tolerance for this type of behavior. The Club will have no further comment on this matter."
Asked about the seriousness of the comments, Avila said, "For me and our organization, we felt that this was a much-needed move."
Manager Ron Gardenhire said he did not witness the comments made by Bosio, nor did he factor into the decision. Given what took place, though, he said the organization had to act.
"We have that class in Spring Training. We go through everything," Gardenhire said. "It's not one you can say, 'I don't want to go to.' It's something that we went through this spring, what you should say and how you handle situations and everything. It's the way of the world today. We all know this. This organization acted quickly. It's just the way it is, and it's a really sad deal."
Players were informed of the move on Wednesday afternoon.
"I think a lot of us had heard rumors of what had taken place," reliever Alex Wilson said. "Especially this morning when I showed up, you could just tell that something was different. A different feeling in the room."
The Tigers hired Bosio last fall after he parted ways with the Cubs following six seasons as their pitching coach. His hiring was seen as a major boost for a team entering a rebuild based around a group of talented young arms, both in Detroit and the Minor League system. He set a tone almost immediately after his hire, watching video on every pitcher. He emphasized in Spring Training that he wanted pitchers to work quickly and efficiently.
"I want to go on the record to say that he's been a good pitching coach," Avila said. "He definitely was a good pitching coach."
Bosio has had heavy say over the pitching staff, from throwing schedules and rotation plans to rehab. In many cases this season, Gardenhire referred to Bosio's schedule for the rotation order.
"I had a great relationship with Bos," Gardenhire said. "We were working good together. He was a good pitching coach here. Outside of that, that's it. It's business here, and that's what we do. Everything else that's happened is out of my control."
Anderson will reprise the pitching coach role he held under Gardenhire with the Twins from 2002 to 2014.
"Andy's a great pitching coach," Gardenhire said. "He's very knowledgeable, good at running the bullpen. The whole package, like Bos. It's the same. These guys are veteran guys that have been there and done it. They're different, but yet they both have a great understanding of baseball, so we just have to move forward here. This is a tough situation."
Said Wilson: "Rick and Bos are two totally different minds. The tempo and aggressiveness that Bosio put in place is huge. We have to keep that. We saw dramatic impacts on what that can do for us. Moving forward, I think Rick is a little more approachable person for a lot of the guys. For me, I had a great relationship with Bos personally."
Reaction from the Cubs to Bosio's dismissal was similar. While Bosio was considered an old-school type of pitching coach, the appreciation for the work he put in went through the organization.
"It's sad, it's very sad," manager Joe Maddon said. "I feel bad for him and his family. He did a lot of great work for us for so many years. That's a tough situation to be in."
As for Bosio's personality, Maddon said, "He was Bos. He's a blunt object. There's difficult conversations, but we didn't have that issue."