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Hot Stone League

Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

October 26, 2011 at 2:42 PM

Mariners retain entire coaching staff for 2012

UPDATE THURSDAY 7:17 A.M.: I was wrong — this news did not stop speculation about Wedge managing the Red Sox.

The Mariners just sent out a press release announcing that Eric Wedge’s entire staff will return for the 2012 season. That includes bench coach Robby Thompson, pitching coach Carl Willis, hitting coach Chris Chambliss, first-base coach Mike Brumley, third-base coach Jeff Datz, bullpen coach Jaime Navarro, and bullpen catcher Jason Phillips.

“Having the staff return next season is another positive step as we continue to build our Major League team, and organization, to where we want it,” general manager Jack Zduriencik said in a team-issued release. “It is a group of hard-working professionals.”

“I feel we made progress this season,” Wedge said in the release, “and this group was a big part of it. They work hard, they understand the game, and they are willing and able to teach, while being unwilling to accept less than full effort. We did a good job creating a mindset here last season, and we are looking forward to improvement in 2012.”

This should put an end to any lingering speculation about possible Red Sox interest in Wedge for their managerial vacancy. It’s obvious from the quote above he’s not going anywhere, which I felt all along was the case.

This is a good move. The Mariners need to build some stability, and they can’t keep changing coaches. They’ve gone through a revolving door’s worth of pitching and especially hitting coaches over the past decade.

Here are their hitting coaches since 1998:

1998: Jesse Barfield

1999: Jesse Barfield

2000: Gerald Perry

2001: Gerald Perry

2002: Gerald Perry

2003: Lamar Johnson

2004: Paul Molitor

2005: Don Baylor

2006: Jeff Pentland

2007: Jeff Pentland

2008: Jeff Pentland/Lee Elia/Jose Castro

2009: Alan Cockrell

2010: Alan Cockrell/Alonzo Powell

2011: Chris Chambliss

That’s 11 different guys in 14 years, including one stretch, from 2002 through 2006, of five in five years. That’s a lot of new hitting theories for players to absorb. The pitching coaching position has been a bit more stable — seven guys in 14 years.

1998: Nardi Contreras

1999: Stan Williams

2000: Bryan Price

2001: Bryan Price

2002: Bryan Price

2003: Bryan Price

2004: Bryan Price

2005: Bryan Price

2006: Rafael Chaves

2007: Rafael Chaves

2008: Mel Stottlemyre

2009: Rick Adair

2010: Rick Adair/Carl Willis

2011: Carl Willis

Wedge’s staff warrants a second year.

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