During the 2010 season, the Seattle Mariners lost 101 games. Remember that? Remember what it was like to have the Mariners lose 101 games? This year's Chicago Cubs lost 101 games. A difference between this year's Cubs and that year's Mariners is that this year's Cubs were always supposed to be miserable while that year's Mariners were supposed to be playoff contenders. Surprise! They were horrible! During the 2011 season, the Seattle Mariners lost 95 games, which showed some overall progress under a new coaching staff. As such, the entire coaching staff returned for 2012, with public statements of how the coaching staff helped to instill the right culture and send the right messages.
The entire coaching staff will not return for 2013, unless the Mariners are just trying to throw us off of the scent for some reason. I don't know, maybe they're bored without any baseball to do. Here's how the 2013 coaching staff will look:
Manager: Eric Wedge
Pitching Coach: Carl Willis
First Base Coach: Mike Brumley
Third Base Coach/Pear With Glasses: Jeff Datz
Bench Coach: Robby Thompson
Bullpen Coach: Jaime Navarro
Bullpen Catcher: Jason Phillips
Hitting Coach: ????
It seems two years of Chris Chambliss were enough years of Chris Chambliss, as he's the only guy not getting his contract renewed for the next season. The Mariners have made supportive statements to the press and it doesn't seem like there are any hard feelings, and for all we know Chambliss might be fuckin relieved. Two fruitless years of attempting electroshock therapy on Miguel Olivo can really drain a guy. Anyhow, here's how I think this breaks down:
Casual Fan Opinion
how could these losers bring back so many of the coaches fire everybody, and start at the top, the very top
More Learned Fan Opinion
Well, the hitting was the biggest issue, again, so it only makes sense that the hitting coach would be made to pay the price. The numbers suggest he wasn't doing a good enough job.
Most Learned Fan Opinion
We can try to analyze this. We can give it a good go. We don't know nearly enough about how these things work but that isn't going to stop us, when has that ever stopped us before? The Mariners' biggest breakthrough was Michael Saunders, and he famously re-tooled his swing not with Chambliss, but with the brother of Josh Bard, whose name I was told but have since forgotten again. Kyle Seager had a strong season and maybe Chambliss deserves some credit for that. Dustin Ackley never got going and he was supposed to be able to hit .300 while sleepwalking in his jammies. Jesus Montero failed to show meaningful signs of progress. Justin Smoak only heated up after spending time with triple-A hitting coach Jeff Pentland. There was the John Jaso thing, but that seems to have had more to do with just John Jaso figuring shit out for himself.
The Mariners finished with the AL's worst team average, worst team OBP, and worst team slugging percentage. Now, what makes this difficult is that the Mariners posted a .622 OPS at home and a .703 OPS on the road. That was the AL's worst OPS at home by several furlongs, but eighth-best OPS on the road, which is all right. Away from Seattle, Kyle Seager was outstanding, Jesus Montero was pretty good, and even Justin Smoak was acceptable. We might never be able to properly account for the 2012 Safeco Effect, and that makes good analysis challenging. But maybe the Mariners should've just hit better at home? Did Chambliss ever try suggesting that? Seems like the first thing a coach should try to do.
Step 1: "Do better."
Step 2: "Okay, fine, let me show you how to do better."
Begin with simplicity, is all I'm saying. So, countless hitting coaches have been dismissed by countless teams before, and sometimes the arrival of a new guy correlates with improved offense. Sometimes it doesn't and we can never establish causation. The Mariners' raw numbers should go up in 2013 if only because of the different Safeco dimensions alone, but of course what's crucial is the development of the young guys and I guess the evaluation was that Chambliss wasn't doing enough for or with them.
The Mariners want a new voice, and they'll set about trying to find one almost immediately. When they have one and hire one, we'll basically write this very post all over again. This is how it goes. A baseball team is making a change at the hitting coach position. Okay. Godspeed, baseball team.