New coaches, Gillick interviewing in L.A.

DMZ · October 31, 2005 at 2:09 am · Filed Under Mariners 

The M’s hired Rafael Chaves to be their new pitching coach (replacing Bryan Price) and Jeff Pentland as their hitting coach. Pentland was lately the hitting coach for… wait for it… the Royals.

Royals hitting, by OPS rank
2003: 7th of 14
2004: 14th of 14
2005: 12th of 14

He certainly got results.

Also interesting, though, is that the M’s have let the Dodgers talk to Pat Gillick for their vacant GM position. It’d be amusing, if only because Bavasi came to Seattle from L.A. to take over from Gillick, and now Gillick may go to L.A. to take over that organization from one of the young whippersnapper GMs he has little patience for.

“What’s this computer doing on my desk? Who left all these SQL manuals in here? What’s this CD… Mogwai? Who the heck is Mogwai?”


88 Responses to “New coaches, Gillick interviewing in L.A.”

  1. msb on October 31st, 2005 1:16 pm

    You can appreciate what Gillick did while still being aware of what some of those moves did to impact the team down the road.

    According to the Toronto Star he was christened Stand Pat because “On Aug. 31, 1987, he sent a couple of righthanded pitchers, Oswald Peraza and Jose Mesa, to Baltimore for lefthander Mike Flanagan. There was not another deal for 608 days, until Stand Pat budged and shipped Jesse Barfield to the Yankees for Al Leiter on April 30, 1989”

  2. roger tang on October 31st, 2005 1:28 pm

    At some point, if you have enough scouts, I think you need someone to compile, collate, integrate and analyze the information. If not Rohn, then it’s another one of the coaches…There might be a value in this, or there might not be…It depends on how it’s implemented.

  3. Mike L on October 31st, 2005 1:28 pm

    So that means that if Gillick had never traded Barfield, Griffey wouldn’t have made that great catch to rob him of a HR in Yankee Stadium.

    Thank you Pat Gillick!!!

  4. eponymous coward on October 31st, 2005 1:35 pm

    You can appreciate what Gillick did while still being aware of what some of those moves did to impact the team down the road.


    Look, I tend to take a mixed view of his tenure- but the M’s farm system has been wonky for a while, PREDATING Gillick. This is the first year we’ve produced a regular out of the farm system since Jose Cruz Jr. in 1997 (and to be fair, Felix and Jose Lopez go on Gillick’s side of the ledger as well- our international scouting has helped save our ass from having such awful drafts, and that’s something Gillick knows from his time with the Blue Jays, who were good at that).

    Gillick enhanced some problems we’ve had for a while by his emphasis on veterans and accceding to Mattox’s bizarre draft strategies, but was able to paper it over for a while with good FA signings and doing a decent job on the Griffey trade. It’s to his credit that an organization that lost THREE HOF-caliber players in 3 years was able to be good for years after those players left, and in some senses improve. A lot of organizations could have imploded after that.

    I think the problems we’ve had since 2003 are a result of organizational issues that transcend Gillick. He’s part of them because he didn’t fix them and acceded to them, but he’s not the sole problem, and I don’t think Moneyball particularly treats Gillick or Jongewaard fairly.

  5. eponymous coward on October 31st, 2005 1:36 pm

    Oh, and by “regular”, I mean “regular position player who starts as a rookie as an M and sticks around for a while”.

  6. Jon Wells on October 31st, 2005 2:41 pm

    #41 Firova said “The most vilified GM in Mariner history”…

    Gillick the most vilified GM in Mariner history? No way Gillick comes close to being vilified as much as Woody Woodward (for good reason). Now if you’re just counting this site, perhaps you’re correct as it wasn’t around in the WW days, but seriously, Woody was way more vilified than Gillick has ever been.

  7. Colm on October 31st, 2005 2:49 pm

    Yes, since this site has been around, there has only been a choice of two GMs to vilify. Not much of a list.

  8. Colm on October 31st, 2005 2:52 pm

    On topic: What sort of a pickup is Jeff Pentland Squire? It doesn’t sound like he lead the Royals to greatness.

    Do hitting coaches make a blind bit of difference?

  9. Mr. Egaas on October 31st, 2005 3:01 pm

    mmm… Mogwai.

    Screw Pentland. Surely Edgar is bored in Bellevue and ready to take over as hitting Coach.

  10. Mr. Egaas on October 31st, 2005 3:05 pm

    How many hitting coaches have we been through in the past 10 years?

  11. Pilots Fan on October 31st, 2005 3:11 pm

    Here we go with the Edgar for hitting coach thing again. What? No mention of Moyer and Wilson?


  12. eponymous coward on October 31st, 2005 3:13 pm

    Fair enough- I had forgotten about that. I think he might be someone we could pick up as a starter who might be more feective at Safeco than you’d think.

    And yeah, picking up a batting coach from a team equally as pathetic as you are offensively is basically saying you don’t think batting coaches have much to do with results. Maybe he interviews well or something…

  13. msb on October 31st, 2005 3:15 pm

    Lee Elia (1993-1997)
    Jesse Barfield (1998-1999)
    Gerald Perry (2000-2002)
    Lamar Johnson (2003)
    Paul Molitor (2004)
    Don Baylor (2005)

  14. Tiboreau on October 31st, 2005 3:19 pm

    On topic: What sort of a pickup is Jeff Pentland Squire? It doesn’t sound like he lead the Royals to greatness.

    Do hitting coaches make a blind bit of difference?

    The consensus opinion among sabermetricians is that most hitting instructors don’t make too much of a difference, outside the brilliant few (such as Walt Hriniak, I guess).

    Pentland’s record with Kansas City doesn’t look good. (Of course, it’s not like he had much to work with. . . . ) However, I believe he is often credited for tempering the hacktastic days of Sammy Sosa’s youth. If he could do the same for Mr. Beltre it would certainly be a boon. . . .

  15. msb on October 31st, 2005 3:40 pm

    hmm. the Boston Herald is reporting that (contrary to what the Globe said this morning) Theo is walking from the Sox.

  16. Mr. Egaas on October 31st, 2005 3:52 pm

    It would be wise for the Dodgers to jump on that. haha.

  17. Jon Wells on October 31st, 2005 3:53 pm

    #71 I was just going to post the Boston Herald link too.

    Will Theo really just walk away from baseball or will he just go to the highest bidder? I know a team in Seattle that could certainly use a better GM and has the bucks to pay him $2 mil a year to turn the franchise around…

  18. DMZ on October 31st, 2005 3:54 pm

    (trimming off-topic FA discussion)

  19. ML on October 31st, 2005 4:01 pm

    Bombshell on Epstein. I think he was always highly overrated to begin with, but it’s just a personal opinion. Can’t argue with ’04 obviously, but he did a very poor job of filling a gaping hole at closer down the stretch this year, which would have gone miles and miles towards better posturing the Bosox for the postseason – despite all of the other injuries.

    Timlin, while fantastic overall, hit a wall from August 1 forward, with an ERA of nearly four. Very dumb not to pull the trigger on something at the deadline. Lord do I wish it had been Guardado for Abe Alvarez or some live arm with a pulse. Apparently, the Bosox would offer Alvarez but nobody else of interest and Bavasi ultimately balked. At any rate, Everyday Eddie and his 6.17 September ERA wouldn’t have been much of a panacea anyway.

    Epstein came in with the philosophy that closers were always, by definition, overrated and his closer-by-committee concept killed him in 2003 with the infamous Kim/Lyon/Fox debacle. He then quickly went out and got Foulke for 2004 and the rest was history. If he can get a better gig elsewhere, color me shocked…

  20. Jon Wells on October 31st, 2005 4:06 pm

    As the Boston Herald article points out, Theo had his flops but they were outweighed by the successes. Not trading for Guardado was muddled largely by Eddie’s no trade to the Sox and whatever demands he might have had as far as excercising his option for ’06 and the M’s demands for talents (I’m assuming they were trying to get a couple of arms for Guardado, along the lines of Anibel Sanchez and Jon Papelbon).

    The article mentions that he might take a year off — if he does that would make him a perfect fit timewise in Seattle as Bavasi is likely to go if the M’s don’t win in ’06. given how the front office works they wouldn’t be likely to fire Bavasi now to get Theo at this juncture anyway…

  21. JS on October 31st, 2005 4:10 pm

    Hitting coaches could make a difference, but they don’t know how to teach hitting to big league players.

    Most coaches that truly know how to teach a big-league swing are consultants. However, even among the mechanics theorists, there remains significant debate as to what constitutes a perfect swing.

    Coaches, unfortunately, are more likely to perpetuate swing myths than to actually teach effective mechanics.

    For those that might be interested, try this link to a fun little hitting mechanics IQ test:

  22. ML on October 31st, 2005 4:17 pm

    Sounds like the wily Lucchino played the political game much better than the thirty-something Epstein. Surpising though that he was so reportedly unnerved by the press that it ultimately became a dealbreaker. In concert with his desire to now take a year off, it sounds questionable if he has the mental toughness to suceed over the long haul in an increasingly cut-throat business. A Lucchino/Towers reunion from the Padres days wouldn’t be at all surprising…

  23. ML on October 31st, 2005 4:19 pm

    Somebody tell me why we didn’t hire Stottlemyre. Ugh…

  24. Colm on October 31st, 2005 4:36 pm

    ‘cuz he would have cost a lot of dough and likely been no better than Chaves.


  25. Karen on October 31st, 2005 4:39 pm

    Can anyone see Pat Gillick interviewing with the Red Sox, AND getting the job? …heh… RS fans will be bouncing off the walls more than usual after a couple of years of “Stand Pat”…

  26. Matt on October 31st, 2005 4:41 pm

    Yeah, Pentland couldn’t turn the Royals into hitters. I doubt Charlie Lau would have helped them much either. His work did coincide with Sosa’s great leap forward – I believe the goal for Sosa in 1998 was supposed to be 100 BB / 100 RS. As the story goes, this taught him to lay off the sliders in the dirt and use the opposite field, and he had a pretty decent year. I’d like to see how a similar set of goals would benefit Beltre or Lopez, for starters. I know the going line is that hitting coaches don’t make any difference, but if the BB/PA goes up by 10%, that will put a few more runs on the board, no?

    Of course, I hope this doesn’t mean the M’s are making a FA play for Salsa Sammy. All the cork in Crete isn’t bringing him back to 1998.

  27. JS on October 31st, 2005 5:11 pm

    I recall reading an article, last year, that attributed Beltre’s great season to a left toe injury. It seems that the front foot injury forced Beltre to keep his weight back. Staying back is key to adjusting to offspeed pitches away. Furthermore, the article speculated on whether healing from the injury would allow Beltre to resume the mechanical flaws that kept him from achieving his potential….

    I’ll research that article. It will be quite the exclamation point on the idea that coaching, at the big league level, is essentially a non-factor.

  28. goodbye baseball on October 31st, 2005 5:14 pm

    69. And what do we make of The Boston Globe’s article that initially said Epstein agreed to an extension (also reported by ESPN)? Not the Globe sports section’s finest hour, that’s for sure.

  29. JS on October 31st, 2005 5:19 pm

    check out this series of posts from a dogder’s blog last year:

    Howard, you’re saying Beltre OVER-performed because of his bad ankle? I guess we won’t know until next year, but I’d bet he does even better at 100% health.

    Posted by: Jerry at December 16, 2004 04:36 PM

    Next year when Beltre hits 20 homeruns in Seattle and hits 270 again, you are all going to say how you all knew we should not pay him the big money. Remember this next September.

    Posted by: Howard Fox at December 16, 2004 04:36 PM

    At 100% health, he tried to pull everything. This year he couldn’t, he went the other way, and voila!! He tried pulling everything the last week or so of the season and during the series with St Louis….check his power numbers during those 2 weeks.

    Posted by: Howard Fox at December 16, 2004 04:38 PM

  30. Jeff on October 31st, 2005 5:24 pm

    This theory’s been around for a while. Check out this old post at Peter’s and my old blog.

  31. eponymous coward on October 31st, 2005 5:33 pm

    Can anyone see Pat Gillick interviewing with the Red Sox, AND getting the job? …heh… RS fans will be bouncing off the walls more than usual after a couple of years of “Stand Pat”…

    Actually, Henry sounds like the kind of guy who’d hire DePodesta, bad relations with sportswriters in LA and all. Gillick’s pretty old-school.

    I also would like to mention that, while I think Bill Bavasi’s a good guy and I think it’s justifiable to give him another year, I would happily tell him he gets paid for doing nothing in 2006 if it meant Theo Epstein would be the M’s GM. This front office DESPERATELY needs an infusion of thinking from outside the “conventional baseball establishment”, and while Bavasi’s pretty open, he also isn’t the kind of guy who’s going to exhaustively examine the M’s organizational failures. Frank Mattox comes to mind- he seems to embody the Peter Principle that is the old-boy’s club in MLB, and one I don’t think Bavasi’s going to challenge.

  32. eponymous coward on October 31st, 2005 5:39 pm


    The theory isn’t as farfetched as it sounds. There are a number of players who attribute peak years to changing approach due to injury. Phil Garner, for instance, mentioned in one of Ron Luciano’s books that in 1979 he had a hand injury that made him change his swing, and he had his best year for average and OBP ever, and tied his high for SLG.

  33. Emerald on October 31st, 2005 5:43 pm

    So what your saying is all I have to do is “accidentally” pull a Tonya Harding on Beltre and bingo?

  34. Shoeless Jose on October 31st, 2005 6:08 pm

    Beltre’s stance was a little more closed in ’05 vs the times I saw him playing for LA. I don’t know if that was related to the injury or what. Now this is purely wild-ass speculation, but it seems that if your stance is a little more open, those outside pitches seem a little farther away. And if they seem a little farther away, you might not be as tempted to go after them and fail your way into a strike.

    Just a theory.

  35. Emerald on October 31st, 2005 6:15 pm

    Also, one of Don Baylor’s beliefs was to be a little more pull happy than not, could have also effected Beltre. Funny thing is Don didn’t encourage Beltre to get closer to the plate like he once did and THEN try pulling the pitch.

  36. ML on October 31st, 2005 10:24 pm

    #73, Stottlemyre no better than Chaves? I don’t buy that. Smacks of more cheap personnel in Seattle and a continuing slave to the dollar mentality instead of getting the best guy for the job…

  37. roger tang on October 31st, 2005 11:44 pm

    #73, Stottlemyre no better than Chaves? I don’t buy that.

    A lot of people do. I’m profoundly unimpressed with the job he’s done on New York; I’m not convinced that he’s even good, let alone the best guy….

  38. ML on November 1st, 2005 12:19 pm

    I can’t agree with that after his long string of team leading ERA’s he put together with the Yanks, but I guess you can always argue that he had a hell of a lot of talent. Stottlemyre not even good though? Don’t tell Aaron Small. That’s a ludicrous statement IMHO…