Mariners bullpen coach Norm Charlton is among the latest round of casualties from the team’s 2008 coaching staff. Charlton was contacted over the weekend by new Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu and told he would not be back in 2009.
“I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t tell you I’m disappointed,” he said. “I felt I worked hard and did the best I could with the job.”
Early word is that Rick Adair, a former Mariners minor leaguer and a minor league pitching coach and coordinator with Cleveland, Detroit, San Diego, Toronto and Texas, will replace Charlton as bullpen coach.
“Mr. Wakamatsu told me that, in fairness to his pitching coach, he wanted to be able to bring in his own bullpen coach,” Charlton said. “I understand that. That’s how it works sometimes.”
Charlton will wait until after the Thanksgiving holiday and then contact Pedro Grifol, the Mariners’ new director of minor league operations, about a job within the orgnanization. If that doesn’t work out, he may explore a broadcasting opportunity with KIRO and their new all-sports station — set to launch in April.
The team has yet to name a pitching coach, bullpen coach, or first base coach. Charlton’s comments about Wakamatsu wanting to help his new pitching coach by bringing in a handpicked bullpen coach appears to solidify rumors that Atlanta Braves special assistant Dom Chiti will get the pitching coach job.
Chiti was a Texas Rangers bullpen coach until this past fall, working closely at times with Adair, that team’s minor league pitching co-ordinator. There appears to be an obvious match here.
My sources tell me that Jose Castro will be retained as hitting coach. I spoke to Castro earlier today and he said he had yet to be told anything one way or the other.
Castro may be telling the truth. Two sources in Atlanta told me this afternoon that the Mariners had yet to contact the Braves for permission to talk to Chiti. That means the rest of the coaching staff might not be finalized until tomorrow, or, much more likely, after the Thanksgiving holiday. So, Castro and Chiti might have to wait a bit for Wakamatsu’s calls.
On the other thing, these deals are usually negotiated through back channels before teams are officially contacted for permission. I’d say, on a hunch, that Chiti already knows he’s got a job waiting for him in Seattle. And that there’s a better-than-average chance Castro already knows he’s coming back. Who cares? They will both likely be here.
So, right now, I’d say it’s:
Adair — bullpen coach
Chiti — pitching coach
Castro — hitting coach
At first base, I hear there are at least two candidates for the job, so we won’t know for certain just yet. As Larry Stone reported earlier, Ty Van Burkleo is coming in from the A’s and is going to be Wakasmatsu’s bench coach.