Cal Raleigh: How Mariners’ new ‘offensive coordinator’ will help lineup

Dec 15, 2023, 8:57 AM

Seattle Mariners Cal Raleigh...

Cal Raleigh of the Seattle Mariners reacts after hitting a two-run home run on Aug. 9, 2023. (Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

(Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

The Seattle Mariners haven’t added much to the MLB roster this offseason, but they have parted ways with a few notable names.

Seattle Mariners’ Cal Raleigh talks: M’s offseason, end-of-year comments

One of those names is third baseman Eugenio Suárez, who is now with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Shortly after that trade, Mariners catcher Cal Raleigh spoke to Foul Territory, a podcast and YouTube show that covers MLB, and said he was happy for Suárez in part because the veteran slugger will be playing in a hitter-friendly park in Arizona in 2024.

What makes that especially interesting is that Seattle’s T-Mobile Park is baseball’s least hitter-friendly park in MLB per Baseball Savant’s park factor metric. So what makes it so hard to hit there? Raleigh was asked about that Thursday during a visit with Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk.

“Obviously early in the year it’s cold. And it’s not always the easiest to hit in the cold and the ball doesn’t carry as far, especially when the roof is open,” Raleigh told hosts Brock Huard and Mike Salk. “So yeah, I mean, that’s basically it. It’s just a little colder. I think (there’s) something about the the wind coming off the sea there. I think it goes the opposite way that we’d like it to go.”

Raleigh then shared some insight into a recent Mariners hire, Brant Brown.

Brown, a former Chicago Cubs teammate of Seattle manager Scott Servais, served many seasons as an assistant hitting coach with the Los Angeles Dodgers, then spent 2023 season as Miami Marlins hitting coach. He comes to the Mariners as both bench coach and offensive coordinator, a new role for Seattle’s staff.

“I don’t know if I’m behind that. It’s more of a football term to me,” Raleigh joked of Brown’s OC title.

Regardless of what Brown is called, Raleigh has a positive view of what Brown brings to the table having talked with him about the upcoming season and hitting at T-Mobile Park.

“We’ve already talked a little bit, and he’s got some things that he wants to implement and try to get going, especially for early in the season and just having kind of more of a game plan and understanding what we need to do to win the game that night,” Raleigh said. “Because it doesn’t matter what the numbers say or how hard we’re hitting the ball. But we need to find a way to get to get the win, we need to find a way to move around, or find a way to win that night. So I think he’s got some good ideas.”

Raleigh and Brown have met a few times in Arizona so far, Raleigh said.

“Great guy. I think he’s gonna help us out tremendously,” he said. ” … He’s kind of given me a few of the general points and we’re gonna get more into it when guys get together and kind of come together. But the basis of it is the most important thing is winning the game that night.”

Raleigh told Brock and Salk that hitters often “get so caught up” with specifics at the plate rather than the ultimate task at hand.

“(Whether it’s) trying to get a hit at this point, trying to drive in a run at this point or trying to hit a gap and hit the big home run,” he said. “You’ve just got to do what the game is telling you. And if the game is telling you put a bunt down, put the bunt down. If it’s telling you to move a runner, then move a runner. You don’t always have to be the hero by hitting a home run, if you know what I mean.”

The switch-hitting Raleigh said he’s personally putting in work, doing different things on each side of the plate.

“Trying to clean up some some lower-half issues with the left-handed swing, just trying to be in a better position to hit for a longer time. Basically trying to give myself more of a window to where I can kind of drive balls to all fields,” he said. “And then obviously I want to get better from the right side and I want to be able to work on some things there trying to get better direction, better bat path from the right side.”

Listen to the full Brock and Salk conversation with Seattle Mariners catcher Cal Raleigh in either the video or audio player near the top of this post, or the podcast at this link.

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