By Shannon Drayer
A quick note on the Mariners’ coaching staff: General manager Jack Zduriencik and manager Lloyd McClendon have been working on putting the staff together and I would expect to hear early next week just who will be joining McClendon on the bench.
I would not expect to see the return of any of Eric Wedge’s coaches. Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times reported Friday afternoon that pitching coach Carl Willis has been fired.
Despite the fact that Willis worked well with all of the pitchers and had a good relationship with Felix Hernandez — who has had five different pitching coaches in his big-league career — his association with Wedge could set up an odd dynamic under new leadership. It would appear Zduriencik and McClendon are opting for a fresh start.
Willis and the other coaches were under contract through next season, so it is not just a matter of letting them walk. First-base coach Mike Brumley has been hired by the Cubs as an assistant hitting coach while third-base coach Daren Brown and hitting coach Dave Hansen are scheduled to interview with the Reds. Former third-base coach Jeff Datz has been offered a scouting position with the Mariners but has not yet made up his mind whether or not he will accept it.
As I mentioned in my post Wednesday, names I have heard that McClendon could be interested in bringing to Seattle include former Tigers coaches Rafael Belliard and Andy Van Slyke, Tigers Triple-A hitting coach Leon Durham and Double-A hitting coach (and former Mariners hitting coach) Gerald Perry.