When new GM Jack Zduriencik and first-time manager Don Wakamatsu open spring training in 2 ½ months, it will be with a completely revamped coaching staff.
None of the coaches from the 101-loss season of a year ago have been asked to return, and Wakamatsu and Zduriencik are interviewing candidates this week to succeed them.
Of the 2008 staff, Jim Riggleman, Sam Perlozzo and Eddie Rodriguez accepted jobs with other organizations. Four coaches – Lee Elia, Mel Stottlemyre, Norm Charlton and Jose Castro – had hoped to return.
Wakamatsu and Zduriencik decided to put together their own coaching staff, instead, and Wakamatsu will likely announce that staff some time next week.
As we said here four days ago, Oakland hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo, one of Wakmatsu’s closest friends, is a strong candidate here – as a bench coach. The Mariners asked for and got permission from the Athletics to interview Van Burkleo soon after Wakamatsu was hired.
In Elia and Charlton, the Mariners have broken with their past, deciding not to bring back two men who’d been part of the organization, off and on, since Lou Piniella’s early years with the franchise.
Elia was a coach and Charlton the closer in 1995, when the Mariners won the first division title in franchise history.
Wakamatsu and Zduriencik hope to make a little history of their own, and they’ll try with a completely new-look approach beginning in February