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Goldberg to the Guardians

(Kayla McMillen)
December 22, 2023

Watch the full interview Listen to Marco LaNave and Jimmy Farmer's full interview with Brad Goldberg It seemed to be a normal process. Brad Goldberg sat for a couple of job interviews. After those interviews, he received a phone call and was offered the job. But as normal as this

Watch the full interview

Listen to Marco LaNave and Jimmy Farmer's full interview with Brad Goldberg

It seemed to be a normal process.

Brad Goldberg sat for a couple of job interviews.

After those interviews, he received a phone call and was offered the job.

But as normal as this process may seem, the job was not a usual one, it was to become the new bullpen coach for the Cleveland Guardians.

“Our new manager Stephen Vogt called me and said ‘we liked to offer it to you’ and that was a pretty good phone call,” Goldberg said. “Interview, get the call back after a few interviews with some other folks in the organization, and pretty easy to say yes to that one.”

Goldberg’s ascension to the big-league coaching staff comes three years into his time with the Guardians organization.

After a six-year professional playing career and 11 career Major League games for the White Sox in 2017, Goldberg returned to his alma mater, Ohio State, where he spent two years as the Director of Pitching Development.

Goldberg joined the Guardians organization in 2022 as the pitching development coach at the Guardians Arizona Complex before spending 2023 as the pitching coach for the Akron RubberDucks.

“You’d like to think that an interview doesn’t get you a job internally,” Goldberg said. “It’s your work and your relationships and how you treat people and how the players have been affected.”

And for Goldberg, his work in 2023 really showed off his ability to work with pitchers in changing roles.

The 2023 RubberDucks finished the season with the second-best team ERA in the Eastern League. During the season, Gavin Williams (three April starts) and Joey Cantillo (six starts between April and May) were the only starters not to pitch out of the bullpen either as a reliever or in a piggyback role at some point.

Tanner Burns, who spent his entire career as a starter, transitioned to the bullpen after 14 starts to open the year. As reliever, Burns was dominating going 3-1 with a 2.73 ERA, one save and 31 strikeouts in 15 games. Burns allowed just three earned runs over his last 11 appearances.

“We started the year with some high-profile starters, we found our way with guys changing roles, getting a bunch of different experiences, but the whole time we stayed a unit and we stayed uber competitive on the pitching staff,” Goldberg said. “I thought we had a great culture and that’s a credit to the players, and I thought a lot of guys made great strides.”

And Goldberg won’t be going from Akron to Cleveland alone as RubberDucks manager Rouglas Odor will also be joining the Guardians coaching staff as the third base coach and infield coach, which gives fans of the Guardians some familiar names after an offseason of change saw a new manager and two other new coaches come to Cleveland from outside of the organization.

But despite the new faces on the coaching staff and in the manager’s office, the goal remains the same, win.

“We want to have a collaborative atmosphere,” Goldberg said. “We want to win games and we want to put our players in the best position to do that and we want to have a good time doing it. We are going to challenge our players because we want them to get better every day and that is going to challenge us as a staff. At the same time, we want to enjoy ourselves and the competition and have a really high culture.”

As the dust starts to settle from the coaching staff announcement and winter will give way to spring, Goldberg is starting to prepare for 2024 and part of that is leaning on the past bullpen coach experiences of Vogt and bench coach Craig Albernaz.

“I have already chatted [Vogt] up about ideas that he has, things that he saw that he likes or things that he has seen that didn’t work like he would like,” Goldberg said. It’s something that I have already undertaken is asking [Vogt and Albernaz] about their experiences and how we can have the best plan for our players.”