The insufferably long wait is over.
An unnamed "source with knowledge of the process" informed Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News late Sunday evening that the Texas Rangers were expected to announce the signing of Mike Maddux as their new pitching coach as early as tomorrow, conveniently coinciding with the onset of the general managers' meetings at the luxurious St. Regis Resort at Monarch Beach in Dana Point, California.
Brewers general manager Doug Melvin, who had just days before reiterated his belief that Maddux -- a six-year veteran of the Milwaukee organization -- would remain in place under newly appointed manager Ken Macha, confirmed the news, telling the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Texas had "overwhelmed" Maddux with a multi-year offer. Grant speculates that the deal will lock up the 47-year-old pitching instructor through 2011, if not longer.
Andy Hawkins, who began the 2008 season as the Triple-A Oklahoma Redhawks pitching coach and finished as the Rangers' interim pitching coach, is now the odds-on favorite to claim the vacant bullpen coach's spot. Minor league pitching coordinator Rick Adair had previously been mentioned as an internal candidate to square off against former Athletics and Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson (who will probably now interview to be Macha's pitching coach) for the role, but this development ensures he'll remain exactly where he is.
Maddux has been described by Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus as a "strong-willed coach" with the ability to make quick and effective fixes. He is often credited for the remarkable turnarounds of Derrick Turnbow, Danny Kolb and Francisco Cordero, the latter two of whom flourished immediately after coming to the Brewers from the Rangers.
Additionally, southpaws Chris Capuano and Doug Davis have previously lavished praise upon Maddux, with Capuano citing Maddux's vast wealth of pitching knowledge, and Davis noting that Maddux enabled him to "shorten [his] arm path," facilitating his emergence as an above-average Major League starting pitcher after the Rangers lost him via waivers in April 2003.
For what it's worth, the esteemed Jeff Sackmann of Brew Crew Ball -- and creator of the superb Minor League Splits -- wrote in June 2006 that Rick Helling's employment of a new cutter was the brainchild of Maddux; Helling went on to post a 2.39 ERA in 49 innings for the Brewers in 2005 and a 4.11 ERA in 35 innings in 2006, prolonging his once-fading career by two years. It's certainly not a stretch to think that Maddux's instruction was a significant factor in the revival of Helling.
We'll find out soon enough what compelled Texas to select Maddux over the similarly qualified Peterson, but I'll issue this one-line assessment in the meantime: so far, so good.