Trent Jewett is currently the bench coach for the Seattle Mariners. Let's learn about him!
As an undergraduate in college, he was a catcher for the North Texas Mean Green at the University of North Texas. He was undrafted out of school, but ended up signing with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. Jewett didn't make his debut as a professional baseball player until the age of 23, when he suited up for the Gulf Coast League Pirates (Pittsburgh's Rookie league affiliate) in 1987.
Despite being more than three years older than his average Rookie teammate, Jewett struggled to swing the bat, slugging a meager 0.256 during his first season of professional ball. Unfortunately, this season would represent the highpoint of his offensive production. Although he appeared in almost 250 minor league games during his four-year career (making it as high as AA in 1990 during his last season), he was never able to figure out how to consistently swing the bat. His final batting line in 360 minor league plate appearances was a woeful 0.172/0.256/0.210.
It should be noted that the fact that he stuck around as long as he did suggests that he was probably a pretty good defensive player and/or game-caller... but that's largely just speculation on my part. (It turns out that the internet doesn't have a lot of information regarding the defensive performance of single-A catchers from the 1980s who never made it to the big leagues. Weird, right?)
After hanging up his catching gear in 1990, Jewett began a long career of managing in the minor leagues. He got his first gig in 1992 (at the tender age of 28) as the manager of the Welland Pirates (Pittsburgh's short-season single-A affiliate). He was quickly promoted each of the next four seasons (from A- to A to A+ to AA to AAA!), becoming the manager of the Calgary Cannons in 1996. He continued to manage the Pirates' AAA affiliate until 2008 (seeing them move from Calgary to Nashville to Indianapolis), taking a hiatus from the position between 2000 and 2002 to serve on Pittsburgh's MLB coaching staff as their third base coach (where he served under Lloyd).
After the 2008 season, the Pirates cut ties with Jewett. Shortly thereafter he joined the Nationals organization. He managed their advanced-A and AAA teams in 2009 and 2010, respectively, before joining the Nationals in 2011 to serve as a base coach. After the conclusion of the 2013 season, Jewett interviewed for the managerial position for the Nationals (a job he had also interviewed for back in 2006), but that job was ultimately given to Matt Williams. For the 2014 season, Jewett joined the Mariners, reuniting with his buddy Lloyd. Jewett also got the opportunity to serve as the acting manager of the M's last season for two games while Lloyd was attending his daughter's wedding. (The Mariners lost both of those games; however, to be fair, in the first game Felix gave up four home runs and in the second M's hitters were simply shutdown by Stephen Strasburg.)
The Pirates minor league system during the late 80s wasn't particularly deep, but Jewett did play alongside Orlando Merced (1988 Augusta Pirates) and the great Moises Alou ('88 Augusta Pirates and '89 Salem Buccaneers).
- In 1995, Jewett led the Carolina Mudcats (Pittsburgh's AA affiliate) to the Southern League pennant. That team featured future All-Star Jason Kendall.
- Some other established major league players who received tutelage under Jewett include Aramis Ramirez, Jose Bautista, Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, Bronson Arroyo, and Stephen Strasburg.
- During his 17 years as a manager in the minor leagues, Jewett accumulated 1,178 victories. Although that's nowhere near the minor league record for managerial wins (2,530 by Stan Wasiak), it's still a lot W's.
- In 2007, in a survey of minor league managers, Jewett was named the "Best Manager Prospect" in the International League.
- In 2015, Jewett is changing his uniform number to #45 because J.A. Happ is selfish and wants the number that Jewett wore last year (#33).
On the one hand, it's a bit sad that Jewett never got a chance to fulfil his dreams of playing in the big leagues. However, he has had a very successful career as a coach/manager at every level of baseball and I'm happy that's he been able to contribute to the current success of the Mariners. Thank you, Trent.