Leo Mazzone has accepted a contract, in principle, to become the next pitching coach of the Baltimore Orioles.
ESSENTIAL READING: an outstanding essay written by former Baltimore Colt Bill Curry (Johnny Unitas' center) about what a talent Mazzone is, and how Baltimore is a great sports town.
Atlanta has asked for a prospect in return, but this is a non-issue, as the Orioles can wait until Nov. 15 (when Mazzone's contract expires) to formally sign him. Confirming rumors and inside information that he would come to Baltimore to help his best friend, manager Sam Perlozzo, this move is the best signing since the acquisition of Miguel Tejada in free agency in December 2003.
The New York Yankees desperately wanted Mazzone as their pitching coach, and were in negotiations with him as well. Apparently, they were never a serious contender.
Under Mazzone, the Atlanta Braves have had the number one or number two league ERA, excepting two seasons, in every year since 1992. They finished first in league ERA last year. The Mike Flanagan-led front office has gotten off to a blazing start, as free agent pitchers have expressed a desire to work with Mazzone, leading to the possible signings of A.J. Burnett or Kevin Millwood.
In other words, the Orioles will have the best pitching coach in all of baseball.
Look for young, talented pitchers like Daniel Cabrera and Erik Bedard to really improve next season.
Hopefully this is the start of the most drastically successful winter since before the 1996 season.
Official Orioles Mazzone news release