Mariners might need a New Hitting Coach
The Mariners’ management has some spots to fill this offseason, some that may be predictable at this point and others that could be determined by players’ decisions as free agents.
Starting Pitchers: Currently, the team has six (or possibly seven) starting pitchers for five slots. Free agent Chris Flexen has been excellent for Seattle and likely is already attracting attention from other teams. Sadly, let Chris Flexen go.
Bullpen: Matt Brash is a wild card. He could be a starter, but had great success in the bullpen and will likely stay there after embracing the role in 2022.
Short Stop/Second Base: Scott Servais is interested in a shortstop who will play second base. Since the team already has a great shortstop in J.P. Crawford, I suggest retaining free agent Adam Frazier for 2nd base if he wants to stay. According to Statcast, Frazier is rated 8th out of 39 MLB players at 2nd base for Outs Above Average and in Runs Prevented.
Right Field: I hope that the Mariners offer Mitch Haniger an attractive contract. If he and/or management decide otherwise, Jared Kelenic is a right-field player. Play first-choice Haniger or second-choice Kelenic in right field.
Left Field: When Jesse Winker has been unable to play, Sam Haggarty has played well in his place. Split the position between Winker and Haggarty.
Carlos Santana is a free agent. He provides leadership, is a strong first baseman when needed, hits home runs, and runs the bases with amazing speed. Keeping Santana might mean letting go of another player from the list of 40. Unless Santana has a great offer elsewhere, sadly choose between Santana and another player once that second player is identified.
Hitting Coaches Mariners’ management, we know that our players can hit, but why they did not hit more regularly in the regular season is a mystery. To what extent does the responsibility for the scoring drought lie with the hitting coaches? I looked at the Rainiers’ hitting coach and at the coaches, if named, for the other American League West teams just to learn a bit about these positions.
Jarret DeHart is Hitting Coach and Director of Hitting Strategy for the Mariners and Tony Arnerich is a Hitting Coach. De Hart has never played professional baseball but came to the Mariners’ organization with college baseball experience only. Tony Arnerich did play professionally, but primarily on A or A+ teams.
I remember hearing that players moving from the minor leagues to the majors have to adjust primarily to better pitching. My question is, does a hitting coach need to have more experience in the major leagues in order to coach MLB players well?
Brad Marcelino is the hitting coach for the Tacoma Rainiers. Marcelino has extensive experience as a player for Great Britain between 1999 and 2018, has shown success hitting and scoring, and is in the Great Britain Baseball Hall of Fame. I believe Marcelino coached Cal Raleigh who subsequently became a homerun-loving catcher. Might Marcelino be a good candidate?
My recommendation is that the Mariners’ management, if they do not already have the top-hitting coaches, seek them out.