On the heels of the big fat egg laid by the Mariners this season, significant coaching changes are coming to Seattle. Once considered a team that was going to challenge for the American League West crown (and a few experts even picked them as AL Champs), the Mariners were named the MOST underachieving team by a panel of experts on the MLB Network.
Despite adding Nelson Cruz, Robinson Canoe, and a handful of other highly touted players and some good prospects, Seattle sputtered to a 4th place finish in the AL West, ahead of only the Oakland A's. The A's were expected to founder, as they lost or traded away 6 of their All-Star players who led them to the playoffs. But the Mariners were expected to compete. The only team considered to perhaps be a bigger let-down than Seattle would have been the Washington Nationals, who many said would win the World Series. This despite the performance of Felix Hernandez and Cruz, who was among the league leaders in home runs.
After a 76-86 record that left them 12 games out of first place, Seattle announced the following changes:
SEATTLE, Wash. – Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto announced today that Lloyd McClendon will not be returning as Mariners manager in 2016.
Among the coaching staff, batting coach Edgar Martinez and infield coach Chris Woodward have been invited to return to the big league staff. Pitching coach Rick Waits and coach Chris Prieto have been invited to return to the Mariners organization.
Bench coach Trent Jewett, third base coach Rich Donnelly, outfield coach Andy Van Slyke and bullpen coach Mike Rojas will not be returning to the Mariners organization in 2016.
Will these changes help? Don't know. MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds, who was a four-time All-Star and Gold Glove infielder for the M's in the 1980's and 90's (and one of their few bright spots back then) described watching Seattle in their last three games this season this way. They'd called up just about most of the AAA roster from Tacoma:
"This is hard to watch...man they're a bad baseball team." He went on to say that despite one maybe two prospects that had been called up, there aren't any real young players how make you go "wow" and think they're going to be future stars.