Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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Mariners dismiss bench coach and offensive coordinator Brant Brown

Despite sitting atop the AL West, the Seattle Mariners dismissed bench coach and offensive coordinator Brant Brown on Friday, the team announced. Hitting coach and director of hitting strategy Jarret DeHart and assistant hitting coach Tommy Joseph will expand their roles. No other changes to the coaching staff are being made.

“We know we are capable of so much more,” manager Scott Servais said about the team’s offense Friday (via the Seattle Times).  

The Mariners lead the division, and took three of four from the Houston Astros earlier this week, though they scored only nine runs in the four games and never more than four runs in a single game. Seattle has been one of the worst offensive teams in baseball this season. 

Here how the Mariners rank among the 30 clubs:

Mariners MLB rank MLB average

Runs per game

3.64

29th

4.31

Batting average

.221

28th

.240

On-base percentage

.295

27th

.310

Slugging percentage

.361

25th

.387

OPS+

93

24th

100

Strikeout rate

28.3%

30th

22.4%

OPS+, which adjusts for ballpark and other factors, says the Mariners have been 7% below league average offensively. They also have the highest strikeout rate in the league, even though reducing strikeouts appeared to be a goal over the winter. Seattle shed all its high strikeout hitters and brought in players with higher contact rates, and somehow it’s striking out more.

Perhaps most worrisome is franchise star Julio Rodríguez, who owns a .268/.310/.342 batting line that has been boosted by a 10-for-25 (.400) showing over his last six games. Rodríguez finished fourth in the AL MVP voting last year, and he authored .279/.338/.496 line with 60 home runs and 62 steals from 2022-23. Getting him back on track has to be priority No. 1 for the Mariners.

Seattle hired Brown this past offseason for the newly created offensive coordinator position. He had previously been hitting coach for the Miami Marlins. Brown’s focus was more on the mental side of the game and the team’s overall approach. DeHart and Joseph worked with hitters on things like swing mechanics.

The Mariners will move forward without a bench coach, which is unusual but not unprecedented. The first place Milwaukee Brewers do not have a traditional bench coach, instead employing Rickie Weeks as an associate manager. The San Diego Padres have several assistants and coordinators rather than a bench coach.

Seattle enters play Friday with a 31-27 record and three-game lead over the Texas Rangers in the AL West. The Mariners have been carried by their pitching, particularly the rotation. They are allowing only 3.76 runs per game, fifth fewest in baseball.

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