Passan: Mariners’ coach move shows they ‘mean business’

Jun 4, 2024, 4:34 PM

Seattle Mariners Scott Servais Astros 2024...

Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais looks on during a game against the Astros on May 29. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Seattle Mariners made a rare move for a first-place team this past Friday.

With their offense among the worst in the majors through the first two months of the season, Seattle parted ways with bench coach and offensive coordinator Brant Brown heading into their weekend series against the Los Angeles Angels.

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It marked the first time the Mariners have fired a hitting coach in-season since president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto and manager Scott Servais came aboard the organization in the fall of 2015. And most notably, it came despite Seattle sitting in first place atop the AL West at 31-27.

During his weekly appearance on Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk on Tuesday, ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan said that move shows how serious the Mariners are about contending this season and capitalizing on a talented starting rotation that’s among the best in baseball.

“It’s not very common that a coach like Brant Brown is getting fired 60 games into the season by a first-place team,” Passan said. “That reaffirms to me that the Mariners mean business about this year.”

Passan added that it could be an indication of another area where the Mariners could show a sense of urgency.

“I really do think that this (trade) deadline, if there are bats out there to be had, they are going to not just be in the mix but they are going to get someone,” he said.

Brown, who was previously the Miami Marlins’ hitting coach, was hired this past winter for the Mariners’ newly created offensive coordinator position. The hope was that Brown could help improve a lineup that finished 12th in runs per game (4.7), 22nd in batting average (.242), 16th in OPS (.734) and 29th out of 30 teams in strikeout rate (25.9%) last season.

Instead, Seattle’s lineup has struck out at an even higher rate and spent the season near the bottom in nearly every major statistical category. When Brown was let go last Friday, the Mariners ranked 29th in runs per game (3.6), 28th in batting average (.221), 27th in on-base percentage (.295), 25th in slugging percentage (.361), 28th in OPS (.656) and dead-last in strikeout rate (28.3%). At the time, they were on pace to break MLB’s single-season strikeout record that was set by the Minnesota Twins last year.

“I think if Brant Brown had gotten through to hitters better, then those hitters would be succeeding a little bit more now,” Passan said. “And when they weren’t succeeding, I think the organization starting asking those questions and were finding that the process just wasn’t where they wanted it to be.”

Listen to the full conversation with Jeff Passan in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post. Tune in to Brock and Salk weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m. or find the podcast on the Seattle Sports app.

More Seattle Mariners coverage

• Resetting MLB division races: Who poses biggest threat to Mariners?
• Mariners Moves: Robles officially signed, another ‘pen option added
• A Mariners trade fit to watch: reunion with Paul Sewald
• Salk: With stocked farm system, Mariners can have cake and eat it too
• What stands out to Ryne Stanek about Seattle Mariners’ bullpen success

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Passan: Mariners’ coach move shows they ‘mean business’