Last Tuesday, the Seattle Mariners hired recent MLB-retiree Tim Federowicz as the new manager of the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers. Federowicz is replacing Kristopher Negron, an ex-Mariner who led the Rainiers to an outstanding 73-47 record this season; Negron shined in his first season as the Rainiers’ manager with his player-oriented approach, and was quickly promoted to the MLB club to serve as the Mariners’ first base coach.
Federowicz is following in Negron’s shoes as a first-time manager given the reigns to the Rainiers, and his hire is further proof that the Mariners have a desire to connect their top prospects with relationship-centric leaders who have significant experience in both the minor and major leagues; Negron racked up 1,439 games in the minors, while Federowicz played in 878 minor leagues games.
Tim Federowicz played the majority of his professional career as a catcher in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ system, posting 443 career plate appearances spread throughout eight seasons at the major league level. Catchers often transition fluidly into managing careers due to their extensive knowledge of pitch sequencing, game planning, and strategy; when you’re involved in every single pitch, it’s natural to develop a vast understanding of the game over time.
The Rainiers are expected to have another strong season in 2022, with top prospects Julio Rodriguez, George Kirby, Matt Brash, Brandon Williamson, and Juan Then all poised to spend a significant chunk of time at the Triple-A level next season. Mariners fans are generally hopeful that those players will have immediate success in Tacoma and receive a swift call-up to the big leagues, but Seattle will most likely give each of them (besides Rodriguez, potentially) plenty of time to develop in AAA before making the massive jump to MLB.
Federowicz will also inherit a strong class of A and AA players who hope to appear in Tacoma next season, so there will be no shortage of pressure on his shoulders to help groom Seattle’s next generation of top talent as his managing career gets underway.