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The Coaching Cycle


It was 10 November 2008 and ESPN, by way of the Associated Press (they apparently didn't have better things to associate with), released details on the Mariners; managerial search, which was into its first round of interviews. We know how it ended up. About a week later, it was Don Wakamatsu and that was that.

However, I recently became curious about what'd happened to the other six named possibilities. As a refresher, here were "The Magnificent Seven" and their jobs at the time:

Joey Cora (White Sox 3rd base coach)
Chip Hale (Diamondbacks 3rd base coach)
DeMarlo Hale (Red Sox 3rd base coach)
Brad Mills (Red Sox bench coach)
Jose Oquendo (Cardinals 3rd base coach)
Randy Ready (Padres minor league manager)
Don Wakamatsu (Athletics bench coach)

There were so many third base coaches! I suppose that's a manager-in-training job in baseball. Does that mean Jeff Datz could be a manager someday in the future? Would that even be allowed? Anyways, that's who the seven were and where they were. Where have they gone since then?

Joey Cora went on to be interviewed the following year by Milwaukee, but the job went to Ron Roenicke. Cora stayed in Chicago where he had been employed since 2003 and as bench coach since 2006. Cora was fired along with Guillen at the end of 2011 and both now work for the Miami Marlins, as head (Ozzie) and bench (Joey) coach again.

Chip Hale ended up being hired as the third base coach with the Mets for the 2009 season and was a candidate for their manager position after Jerry Manuel was fired after 2010. Instead, Hale is now the bench coach with the Oakland Athletics.

The other Hale, DeMarlo, continued 2009 as the third base coach for the Red Sox and after that year was moved to the bench coach role. Hale was again a managerial candidate the following season, for Toronto. Hale stayed with Boston through 2011 and is now the third base coach for the Orioles, having successfully fled to a better organization (ha!). The Red Sox bench coach before Hale, Brad Mills was named the manager of the Astros after the 2009 season.

Jose Oquendo is still the Cardinals' third base coach. Besides Seattle, he was interviewed for a head coach job with the Padres, Mets and Cardinals. It's worth bringing up that Oquendo was specifically mentioned by Brendan Ryan in his Q&A with David Laurila at FanGraphs as someone who really helped him with his defensive approach.

Randy Ready, who was managing the Portland Beavers at the time, was named the hitting coach of the Padres at the trade deadline of 2009 and remained there through the 2011 season, after which he was fired. He lasted longer than Wakamatsu did though, who was fired by the Mariners on 9 August 2010. Wakamatsu spent 2011 and is currently the bench coach for the Blue Jays.

In conclusion, here's the same list of seven and their current jobs

Joey Cora (Marlins 3rd base coach)
Chip Hale (Athletics bench coach)
DeMarlo Hale (Orioles 3rd base coach)
Brad Mills (Astros head coach)
Jose Oquendo (Cardinals 3rd base coach)
Randy Ready (unknown)
Don Wakamatsu (Blue Jays bench coach)

Sometimes baseball feels static and everlasting. Ichiro and Felix, the Mariners can't hit and we hate our manager. Change occurs of course, but it does not occur with uniformity or regularity. There were seven people leaked as candidates to be named the first manager of the Mariners under Jack Zduriencik. That was way back in the middle of November 2008. We are well into the fourth baseball season since that time and looking back I found it jarring how little life has changed for those seven people. Maybe it's just with baseball coaches, but sometimes I feel so damn stuck.