Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A double graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
Hogs feel good about future with pitching coach Hobbs
Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn speaks to pitching coach Matt Hobbs against Eastern Illinois Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019, during the seventh inning at Baum-Walker Stadium in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE Two days after Arkansas pitching coach Matt Hobbs met with the New York Yankees about a coaching vacancy, Razorbacks coach Dave Van Horn said Friday he expects Hobbs to coach at Arkansas “for a long time.”
Van Horn confirmed a D1Baseball.com report Wednesday that Hobbs interviewed in New York. Van Horn did not say whether Hobbs was still in the running for the Yankees' pitching coach job and deferred questions about the process to Hobbs.
Hobbs was in his office at Baum-Walker Stadium on Friday but a team spokesperson said he was not available for an interview.
“Matt has been contacted numerous times over the last couple of years, even when he was at Wake Forest, by professional baseball, and it’s kind of the same this year,” Van Horn said. “I just basically said, ‘Matt, you need to go on one of those.’ He really doesn’t have a desire to leave Arkansas. For Matt to leave the University of Arkansas, they would have to really, really take care of him financially, probably to the point where most Major League teams wouldn’t do that. I’m sure he’s told them that. I’m not going to get into dollar amounts, but you’re talking life-changing-type money.
“I feel like Matt Hobbs is going to be our pitching coach for a long time and for him to leave here they’re going to have to compensate him in a big-time way.”
Hobbs’ three-year contract calls for him to be paid $230,000 in the upcoming season and he could be paid in excess of $312,000 after bonuses.
There is no online database of salaries for MLB pitching coaches, but a USA Today survey in 2018 found that some MLB managers were paid as little as $700,000 per year. The Yankees’ Aaron Boone is paid $1.15 million per year, according to the report.
"Big league teams can do whatever they want," Van Horn said. "If they want to pay you a million dollars a year they can. They can give you whatever. As of right now, I feel we're going to have Matt Hobbs here for a long time."
This is the second consecutive offseason Arkansas’ pitching coach has been interviewed by an MLB team. Wes Johnson was hired by the Minnesota Twins last November, which created the opening for Hobbs to be hired by the Razorbacks.
Arkansas recorded a 3.90 ERA and fell just shy of a school record with 615 strikeouts in 66 games in Hobbs' first season.
Johnson was the first college position coach to ever go straight to an MLB dugout. His Twins pitching staff had a turnaround in his first season, improving its ERA from 22nd to ninth in MLB. The Twins won the American League Central division and lost to the Yankees in the AL divisional round.
D1Baseball.com has reported the Yankes are interested in speaking with several college coaches about the vacancy created when longtime pitching coach Larry Rothschild was fired last week.
Michigan pitching coach Chris Fetter has reportedly interviewed with the Yankees, and Arizona pitching coach Nate Yeskie and TCU pitching coach Kirk Saarloos have turned down opportunities to interview, according to D1Baseball.com.
“They’re trying to learn from college baseball coaches,” Van Horn said of MLB teams. “Hats off to our colleges for being ahead of the game a little bit.”
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