Mariners General Manager Jerry Dipoto announced today that Lloyd McClendon and several of his coaches will not be returning for the 2016 season. (The news release announcing the changes is here.)
In a conference call with reporters this morning, Dipoto called it “a difficult decision-making day for the Mariners.”
Dipoto said that he respects and admires McClendon, especially for keeping the team playing hard until the end of the season, but after the better part of two weeks getting to know Lloyd and the coaches, Dipoto felt that it wasn’t a good match.
“I visited with him frequently over the course of the final week of the season, we had breakfast in the mornings, we talked baseball, we had a sit-down anywhere from an hour to two hours every other day, and then just general chatter at the ballpark. I learned that I like Lloyd a great deal. He’s a good guy, he’s very easy to spend time with, to talk to. But at the end of the day this was an opportunity to come into an organization and create a vision and I feel like this is the best way to do that.”
Dipoto plans to start the search for the new manager right away.
“I’d like to find an energetic positive influence in the clubhouse that I think will make a difference here. That starts today. I can’t put a final date on when we’ll conclude, but I do believe we’ll get the right character.”
When asked what qualities he’s looking for, Dipoto replied, “Energy, positive interaction with players, a good baseball background, a teacher, someone who can create a plan and lead people. In many ways in today’s game the manager’s position has become as much about creating an environment as it is about x’s and o’s.”
Dipoto is known as an analytics guy. But his ideal candidate for manager doesn’t necessarily have to be a member of SABR, “Just that they’re open-minded and receptive to different ideas. I like everyone to use information in a positive way. Critical thinking and decision-making is important and you can’t make those decisions without the information.”
But he conceded that analytics alone aren’t enough.
“Through the course of a baseball game, it is not all about the data you’re provided. It is not all about what you’re seeing with your eyes. It’s somewhere right in between. A prerequisite is going to be to find someone who has the ability to balance those two things in an effective way.”
Dipoto also announced this morning that Edgar Martinez has been invited to return as hitting coach next season.
“We didn’t have a relationship, but I played with Edgar many years ago in Puerto Rico, so I knew of the way he carries himself in the clubhouse. And sitting with him this week and listening to him talk about the players, listening to him breakdown hitting, and clearly how invested he was in making the players better really excited me. I’m very excited about the opportunity to bring him back as I think he is. This is where he wants to be.”
He also invited infield coach Chris Woodward to return.
“He has the type of passion and energy that I’m looking for and we will value in building the staff moving forward. And I felt like with Chris Woodward, we were watching a real impact coach. It’s hard in the Big Leagues to step in and make an impact early in your coaching career as a young guy, like Chris did, and I admire it. With guys like Robinson Canó and Kyle Seager and Chris Taylor and Brad Miller, Ketel Marte, he made an impact on both young and veteran players. They respect him and I really like his energy, so I felt like he was a very good fit moving forward.”
Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto announced today that Lloyd McClendon will not be returning as Mariners manager in 2016.
Among the coaching staff, batting coach Edgar Martinez and infield coach Chris Woodward have been invited to return to the big league staff. Pitching coach Rick Waits and coach Chris Prieto have been invited to return to the Mariners organization.
Bench coach Trent Jewett, third base coach Rich Donnelly, outfield coach Andy Van Slyke and bullpen coach Mike Rojas will not be returning to the Mariners organization in 2016.
“I have a great deal of respect for Lloyd, as a person and as a manager,” Dipoto said. “It is a credit to his professionalism that the team continued to play hard through the final day of the season. However, after extensive conversations it became clear to me that our baseball philosophies were not closely aligned. On behalf of the Mariners I want to thank Lloyd and his staff for their hard work the past two seasons, and I wish him the best moving forward.”
McClendon was named Mariners manager on Nov. 5, 2013. He compiled a 163-161 record in two seasons in Seattle, including a 76-86 mark in 2015. He has a 499-607 career mark as a big league skipper with Pittsburgh (2001-2005) and Seattle (2014-2015).
We’ve all seen Kyle Seager turn into one of the offensive leaders of this Mariners club, but Manager Lloyd McClendon wants to make sure people do not ignore his glove work at the hot corner.
“He’s been great offensively,” McClendon said, “but I’ve been saying all year he should seriously be considered for a Gold Glove as well. What he does on the other side of the ball is just as important.”
The Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) has taken notice as well and has been able to quantify his stellar work on the defensive end. The SABR Defensive Index is used to help select the winners of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award® and Rawlings Platinum Glove Award™, presented by SABR.
According to the Index, Seager’s defense ranks not just second amongst American League third basemen, he ranks as the second-best defensive player in the American League.
To read more about the SABR Defensive Index, visit SABR Defensive Index rankings released through September 7, 2014.
Here’s a look at the top defensive players in the American League:
Cactus League play is underway and, with that, our regular Tuesday night show makes its transition from the Hot Stove League to the Cactus League Report. Tonight’s two-hour program is hosted by Rick Rizzs, Aaron Goldsmith and Shannon Drayer, and we have quite the lineup in store. Tune in to hear from skipper Lloyd McClendon, catcher Mike Zunino, LHP Charlie Furbush, RHP Blake Beavan, OF James Jones, minor league catching coordinator and Mariners legend Dan Wilson, and MLB.com’s Greg Johns.
You can listen to tonight’s show from 7-9 p.m. on 710 ESPN Seattle or stream online on Mariners.com.
Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon and catcher John Buck were guests of Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll today. Lloyd and John watched an hour of the Seahawks practice as they prepare for the Super Bowl vs. the Denver Broncos on Feb. 2. Here is a photo of John and Lloyd at the VMAC in Renton.
Manager Lloyd McClendon has been making the media rounds this week leading up to FanFest.
Last night he was the lead guess on the weekly Hot Stove League Show on 710 ESPN Seattle with hosts Shannon Drayer, Aaron Goldsmith and Bill Krueger. You can listen to a podcast of that interview via Mariners.com.
This morning he was an in-studio guest of Elise Woodward and Jerry Brewer at Sports Radio 950 KJR. You can listen to that 25-minute interview view the following link.