Braves pitching coach McDowell could go to Phillies (UPDATED)

Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell hasn’t signed his new contract and there’s a distinct possibility he could leave for a more lucrative offer from the National League East-rival Phillies, or another team.

Contracts for Braves coaches expired at midnight Thursday, and the rest of manager Fredi Gonzalez’s coaching staff signed one-year deals for 2014. McDowell’s pitchers had a major league-leading 3.18 ERA in his eighth season as Braves pitching coach.

It’s believed the Phillies were prepared to make a two- or three-year offer with a salary considerably higher than his proposed 2014 salary or previous salaries. McDowell, 52, pitched for the Phillies for two seasons during a 12-year playing career.

“Roger has been offered a contract to return next year,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said in an email. “All our other coaches are signed for next year.”

If McDowell leaves, one name mentioned as a potential replacement is Rich Dubee, the man McDowell would replace in Philadelphia. The Phillies didn’t renew Dubee’s contract after the 2013 season.

Dubee’s salary was believed to have been about $360,000 with the Phillies, and McDowell’s just over $200,000 with the Braves.

Braves pitchers have lowered their team ERA in each of the past five seasons and ranked among the majors’ top five annually in that period. They also led the majors in bullpen ERA (2.46) in 2013.

It wasn’t known whether the Braves were prepared to improve their offer to McDowell after he met with the Phillies, but Wren said Friday night that he and McDowell would continue discussions. Earlier in the week the Braves lost respected minor league pitching coordinator Dave Wallace, who left to become Baltimore’s new pitching coach.

Roster moves: The Braves added a pair of relievers from Triple-A Gwinnett, left-hander Ryan Buchter and right-hander Wirfin Obispo, to their 40-man roster. Both needed to be protected before the December Rule 5 draft. Buchter had a 2.76 ERA and five saves in 51 appearances, with 103 strikeouts and 51 walks in 62 innings. Obispo, 28, had a 3.53 ERA in 54 appearances, with 70 strikeouts and 35 walks in 63 2/3 innings.