Dave Eiland, who spent the last year as a special assistant for his hometown Rays , was hired Tuesday as the Royals pitching coach.
"I'm very happy; it's what I do,'' said Eiland. "I wouldn't have left Tampa Bay for any pitching coach job. It had to be the right fit, and Kansas City felt like a very good fit.'' Also, Dan Feinstein, the Rays director of baseball operations, has left to rejoin the A's, where he will be director of professional scouting and baseball development.
Eiland, 45, grew up in Zephyrhills and pitched parts of 10 seasons in the majors, the last three with the Rays . He went into coaching after retiring, working his way up through the Yankees system to be their major-league pitching coach for three seasons being let go after the 2010 season.
Eiland spent this season as a scout and minor-league instructor with the Rays . His goal has been to get another job as a big-league pitching coach, and the Rays granted permission for him to interview with Kansas City, and he agreed late Sunday to a two-year deal. Had Eiland not gotten a big-league job, he likely would have returned to a similar position in the Tampa Bay organization.
Though he wanted to get back to the big-league level, Eiland said it was still difficult to leave the Rays .
"In 25 years in the game, those were some of the smartest, brightest, sharpest baseball people I've been around,'' Eiland said. "It's really hard to leave. I can't say enough about them and the opportunity they gave me, Stu (Sternberg, principal owner), Andrew (Friedman, executive VP), Joe (Maddon, manager) and Hick (Jim Hickey, pitching coach). I really appreciate it.''
Feinstein served as an assistant to Friedman, handling issues such as contract negotiations, arbitration and rules interpretation. He spent 10 years with the A's in a variety of roles from 1994-2004, including video coordinator and an assistant in amateur scouting. He then went to the Dodgers as coordinator of baseball operations before joining the Rays . He is a native of Lafayette, Calif., and a graduate of UC-Davis.
Said Feinstein, in a statement: "My time with the Rays is something I will always cherish. I'm grateful to have worked with incredibly talented people and to have shared in the Rays success. At the same time, I'm excited to return to the Bay Area and serve an organization that, like the Rays , is progressive and innovative in all aspects of its baseball operation."
Said Friedman, in a statement: "Dan has been an integral part of the growth and development of our baseball operations department over the past six seasons. We are incredibly grateful for his time here and wish him great success in Oakland in his new role." Posted by Marc Topkin at 1:19:20 pm on October 25, 2011