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Mariners announce brand new staff

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It's a new staff for Lloyd McClendon, and there's a lot of familiar faces.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

The Mariners have put together a whole new staff for Lloyd McClendon. I don't know exactly how you evaluate coaches, and I won't even make an attempt to make any sort of declarations on whether or not these are good hires, especially since a lot of them don't have a ton of Major League experience. Still, there's a lot of fun names here.

The hitting coach will be Howard Johnson, which fills my late 80s baseball fan heart with glee. Johnson, or HoJo, as he should only be referred to, had been the hitting coach in Tacoma. He gets the call to the bigs after just a year with the Rainiers. The first base coach is Andy Van Slyke, who was first base coach with the Tigers until 2010, and is generally thought of around baseball as one of the "good guys" - Twitter has been abuzz with joy that he's back after a hiatus.

Both Van Slyke and HoJo were on the 2001 Hall of Fame ballot, and neither of them received a single vote. That has absolutely nothing to do with their hires, but is a decently interesting piece of trivia.

The second minor league promotion belongs to Rainiers manager John Stearns, who will jump up to 3rd base coach. Mike Rojas is the bullpen coach, moving over from the same position within the Tigers organization, where he manned the bullpen staff under Jim Leyland.

The whole house is being cleaned, and Carl Willis is out as well. Rick Waits is the new pitching coach after the organization decided to fire Willis, who was still under contract for 2014.  Waits is another minor league promotion, as he had been serving as a minor league pitching coordinator for the Mariners. Strangely enough, Waits was the guy the Mariners hired to replace Willis, who Wedge selected from the same role as his pitching coach in 2011. Waits spent a bunch of time with the Mets in many roles, but this is his first stint as a Major League pitching coach at age 61.

Finally, Chris Woodward is going to be the infield coach, which is kind of awesome. Woodward spent time with the Mariners in 2009 and 2010, and has been a member of the Seattle Mariners more recently than Griffey. Grit, you guys.

Who knows if these people are good coaches, but they are new. New is different, and different means irrational hope. The 2014 Mariners are starting to be a real thing, now they just need new players.

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