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Daily coverage of the Mariners during the season and all year long.

November 1, 2010 at 2:50 PM

Mariners eye Durham, Datz for coaching positions; Ichiro wins Fielding Bible Award

Some news on the coaching front to tell you regarding the Mariners. We know already that Carl Willis will be named pitching coach any day now, since he and new manager Eric Wedge have a longstanding relationship. Larry Stone wrote about it two weeks ago, so there’s no suspense here. When the team has the rest of the staff in place, Willis will be announced.
Here are some other names to consider. Sources say the team has already spoken to former Chicago Cubs first baseman Leon Durham for the hitting coach job. Durham was the hitting coach for Class AAA Toledo in Detroit’s system last year.
Former Phillies hitting coach Milt Thompson has also been looked at for the job.
Seattle began last year with Alan Cockrell as hitting coach, then replaced him with Alonzo Powell from the AAA staff.
Another coach the Mariners are eying is Jeff Datz, the bench coach in Baltimore last season and likely to be bumped from that post — interestingly enough — by Don Wakamatsu for next year. Datz was a bench coach in Cleveland for Wedge, but, prior to that was his third base coach as well.
Third base has been a bit of a coaching conundrum for Seattle the past two season. Bruce Hines manned the hot corner coaching-wise in 2009, but was not invited back on staff. Mike Brumley opened this past season coaching third, but then was replaced partway through by Lee Tinsley.
You get the feeling the M’s would like to upgrade their coaching at third, which could mean they’d target Datz for that spot rather than bench coach. I still say former AAA and interim M’s manager Daren Brown makes the most sense as a bench coach, given his relationships with a significant number of young players who will suit up for the team in 2011. We’ll see.
On to the players, we see that Ichiro today was honored with the Fielding Bible Award for the third time in his career. Ichiro got the nod in right field.
Photo Credit: Jerry Wachter/SI

Unlike the Gold Glove awards, chosen by coaches and based largely on reputation, the Fielding Bible Awards are picked by a panel of experts relying heavily on new-wave statistical analysis for defense.
Among the panelists were Fielding Bible author John Dewan, sabermetrics guru Bill James, and columnists Peter Gammons and Joe Posnanski. Said Dewan of Ichiro: “He made three home-run-saving catches last year, saving five runs for the Mariners.”
The Mariners saw shortstop Jack Wilson and center fielder Franklin Gutierrez both win Fielding Bible Awards last year. But Wilson was hurt for most of 2010, while Gutierrez was beaten out by Michael Bourn of the Houston Astros.
Here is the full list of winners. There is only one award at each position in all of baseball,unlike Gold Gloves, which honor players in each league.
1B Daric Barton (A’s)
2B Chase Ultley (Phillies)
3B Evan Longoria (Rays)
SS Troy Tulowitzski (Rockies)
LF Brett Gardner (Yankees)
CF Michael Bourn (Astros)
RF Ichiro (Mariners)
C Yadier Molina (Cardinals — first unanimous winner)
P Mark Buehrle (White Sox)



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