KANSAS CITY -- The Indians pride themselves on being forward thinkers behind the scenes. That is true as much for evaluating and developing players as it is for members of the organization's Minor League coaching staff.
"Our organization does a great job of developing coaches," pitching coach Mickey Callaway said.
Callaway and first-base coach Mike Sarbaugh -- former Minor League coaches for the franchise -- both credit a program implemented by Cleveland a couple year ago for preparing them for their respective interviews to join manager Terry Francona's staff this year. During a recent Spring Training, the Indians held mock interviews for many of their coaches so they would be primed for potential opportunities down the road.
Sarbaugh, who is in his first season with a big league staff, said it was a valuable concept.
"I thought it helped a lot," Sarbaugh said. "Before I got this job, I hadn't gone through an interview in about 15 years. You knew it was practice, so you didn't feel the pressure of, 'Did I really knock it dead?' When I went through it back then, I thought it helped when I interviewed with Terry. It helped you get your thoughts in order."
Indians director of baseball operations Derek Falvey, who is in Kansas City with the team, said the program was spearheaded by general manager Chris Antonetti, assistant general manager Mike Chernoff and vice president of player development Ross Atkins. Falvey and Carter Hawkins, the Tribe's assistant director of player development, also helped with the mock interviews.
The coaches were split into groups based on their roles within the farm system and they fielded questions specific to their area of expertise. The mock interviews were not held this past spring -- due to the bulk of the staff being the same from a year ago -- but the club will likely continue the program in the future.
"We tried to do it as a professional development opportunity for our Minor League coaches or coordinators," Antonetti said. "So, in the event they had the opportunity to interview for a Major League job, they weren't going through it for the first time."
Callaway, who jumped from being Cleveland's Minor League pitching coordinator in 2012 to Francona's pitching coach, felt he benefited from the program.
"That was a big tool in getting me prepared," Callaway said.