While much of the focus this week has been on the continued managerial search by the Mariners, the team has already quietly gone about removing two members from last season’s coaching staff.
The Mariners fired bench coach Robby Thompson early last week, while they have also told third base coach Jeff Datz he is welcome back in a scouting role, but not in the big league dugout. Datz has yet to tell the Mariners whether he will accept the re-assignment or leave the organization.
All of the coaches were under contract through the 2014 season and the Mariners have said previously that they would be re-evaluating their roles both before and after the new manager is hired. So far, pitching coach Carl Willis, hitting coach Dave Hansen, first base coach Mike Brumley and Daren Brown — who replaced Datz at third base in-season while the latter underwent cancer treatments — have yet to learn their fates.
Willis interviewed for the vacant Baltimore Orioles pitching coach job, but lost out to Dave Wallace.
No reason for Thompson’s firing has been given, though he was close to former Mariners manager Eric Wedge — who informed the team at season’s end that he would not be seeking to extend his contract beyond this year. Among those being considered for the jo of replacing Wedge is Mariners broadcaster and former catcher Dave Valle.
He joins a list of coaches from other teams who have also expressed interest. The Mariners plan more formal interviews of a shortlist of candidates in Seattle next week and could have the new field boss in-place before the GM meetings in Orlando Nov. 11-13.
Valle is believed to be the long in-house candidate for the job. Contrary to rumors, assistant GM Ted Simmons did not apply, nor did Brown or Thompson.
In other news, the Mariners, as expected, declined their options on outfielder Franklin Gutierrez and pitcher Joe Saunders.More