Pitching coach McDowell will stay with Braves

Pitching coach Roger McDowell is staying with the Braves.

McDowell, who has spent eight seasons with the Braves, was targeted by the Philadelphia Phillies to fill their pitching-coach vacancy after he had declined to sign a one-year offer from the Braves. He ended up getting a two-year deal to remain with the Braves.

“I think I speak for our entire pitching staff in saying that we are ecstatic that our organization has brought back the man behind our staff’s success the past few years,” Braves pitcher Kris Medlen said in a text message. “He’s been enormous for my personal development, as well as the rest of our staff.”

Braves pitchers led the majors in 2013 in both overall ERA (3.18) and bullpen ERA (2.46). They have lowered the team ERA in five consecutive seasons, and ranked among the majors’ top five in ERA every year since 2009.

“We are happy that Roger will continue to lead our major league pitching staff,” Wren said Saturday. “Our staff has performed very well under his guidance.”

The Braves’ others coaches signed new one-year contracts before their 2013 contracts expired at midnight Thursday. McDowell, 52, did not, fueling speculation that he might jump to a multi-year contract with the Phillies with a significantly higher annual salary than the approximate $205,000 that he made in 2013 with the Braves.

Financial details of the new contract were not announced and were not immediately available.

The Phillies did not renew the contract of pitching coach Rich Dubee, whose salary was believed to be $360,000 in 2013.

Under McDowell, Braves pitchers lowered their team ERA from 4.56 in 2008 to 3.57 in 2009, 3.56 in 2010, 3.48 in 2011, 3.42 in 2012 and 3.18 in 2013.

“He deserves a lot of the praise,” Medlen said, “and this makes us feel even more excited to get back after it, going forward into 2014.”

An accomplished former relief pitcher, McDowell had a 70-70 record, 3.30 ERA and 159 saves during a 12-year major league career through 1996, including 2-1/2 seasons with the Phillies.

Braves relievers have posted a majors-leading 2.76 ERA over the past three seasons while tying for the fewest home runs allowed (103) in that period.