Just a couple changes to the big league bench, headed by a new role for Andy McKay.
Seattle adds three “new” names to their big league staff, internal promotions or additions all. Andy McKay is the most recognizable name, as he will continue in his role as Senior Director of Baseball Development but also now work in the dugout as a general Major League Coach. McKay has primarily worked in a front office capacity in the pros but was the head coach of Sacramento City College for 14 seasons prior to entering MLB in the player development world. McKay’s day-to-day involvement with the club will be interesting, as traveling with the team will be a new role. A cheery interpretation may be that McKay’s relationship with Dipoto and the front office could help facilitate better communication of purpose with the clubhouse to avoid another Toro-Graveman situation. How McKay’s MLB focus impacts the organization’s broader player development, however, remains to be seen. McKay’s role can be generally seen as a replacement for Jared Sandberg, who the club chose not to retain in his role as Bench Coach.
Joining the big league staff as well are two minor league coaches, following a theme of Seattle promoting internally. New First Base Coach Kristopher Negrón appeared for the Mariners as a player in the 2018 and 2019 seasons before joining Seattle’s front office in 2020. He was the skipper for the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers in 2021 where he was voted Manager of the Year. He’ll be just 36 years old, comfortably older than any of the current M’s roster, but still young enough to hopefully bridge the gap. The New Jersey native is one of a few bilingual coaches on Seattle’s staff as well. He’ll be tasked with outfield defense and baserunning, potentially a unique perspective as a former infielder who learned outfield as he moved up the minor league ladder. He’ll take over First Base Coach duties from Perry Hill, who will continue with the club as their Infield Coach.
The second addition is Tony Arnerich, who will be joining Seattle’s staff as one of their two Hitting Coaches, alongside Jarret DeHart who has been promoted from Assistant Hitting Coach as well as to Director of Hitting Strategy. Arnerich has been a Hitting and Catching Coordinator within the M’s org since 2017, and will likely serve a similar role in working heavily with Seattle’s backstops in 2022. DeHart takes over the Hitting Coach role as well from Tim Laker, who the team reports turned down an offer to return after serving in the role since 2019. DeHart is particularly youthful, just 27 years old, but draws positive reviews, particularly in a youth-laden clubhouse that is more comfortable with/open to modern player development tools.
The rest of the staff is generally chalk. Manny Acta (Third Base Coach), Trent Blank (Bullpen Coach & Director of Pitching Strategy), Perry Hill (Infield Coach), Carson Vitale (Major League Field Coordinator), Pete Woodworth (Pitching Coach), Nasusel Cabrera (Batting Practice Pitcher), & Fleming Báez (Bullpen Catcher) all return. The full staff can be seen below: