Mariners Reportedly Set to Hire Andy McKay as Farm Director


The Seattle Mariners front office under Jerry Dipoto is beginning to take shape, and they appear to have filled their player personnel director vacancy. Chris Gwynn resigned from the job on Oct.8, and Bob Dutton of The News Tribune is reporting that the M’s are set to hire Andy McKay to run their farm system.

McKay is currently the peak performance director in the Colorado Rockies organization. That may sound like a strange job title, but McKay essentially serves as the club’s sports psychologist. He has been working closely with the major league team and the minor league affiliates in recent years.

Hiring McKay as the Mariners’ farm director is a creative decision for Dipoto. Not surprisingly, jumping from a sports physiologist to player personnel director is rare. It had been assumed that Dipoto would bring Scott Servais with him from Anaheim and install him as the M’s new farm director. However, it now appears that Servais will instead be hired as a special assistant to the GM.

Despite his unorthodox road to Seattle, McKay does have plenty of experience working with young ballplayers. Prior to being hired as the Rockies’ mental coach in September of 2012, McKay spent 13 seasons as the Sacramento State University head baseball coach. He also coached in the prestigious Cape Cod and Northwoods summer leagues before joining the Rockies.

This hire illustrates the premium placed on the mental side of the game by Dipoto. Obviously, the new Mariners’ GM is blaming a lack of maturity for the disappointing results from the M’s prospects in recent years. Developing young athletes has changed greatly over the last decade, and McKay will not only be expected to cultivate talented baseball players but also quality young men.

Dipoto has retained a surprising amount of Jack Zduriencik’s staff. Jeff Kingston, who served as the interim GM before Dipoto was hired will be back with Seattle in 2016. Special assistants Roger Hansen and Ken Madeia will also be back with the M’s next season. Much of the scouting department remains intact, as Tom McNamera will once again be in charge of amateur scouting and Tom Allison will run the pro side. Tim Kisser has been retained as the Mariners’ international operations director.

Andy McKay may be an unconventional hire, but he could ultimately prove to be a great selection by Jerry Dipoto. Getting top prospects Alex Jackson and D.J. Peterson back on track will be McKay’s first test. Both players struggled mightily in 2015, but there is still hope they can become solid big leaguers in the near future.

McKay is expected to officially be hired when Dipoto returns from California later in the week. It should be interesting to see what McKay is able to do this season.

Next: Mariners Interview Jason Varitek for Managerial Vacancy

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