The Gang’s All Here

In many ways the 2007 Arizona Diamondbacks could be termed a team overachiever. That is to say that while individual players may not have had the type of years that either they or management expected; as a collective whole they achieved more than was expected of them. Going into opening day the Diamondbacks had one of the youngest teams in the major leagues. With the insertion of Justin Upton and Mark Reynolds and the injuries to Chad Tracy, Orlando Hudson, and Randy Johnson the team got even younger by season’s end. With that much youth the philosophy of the clubhouse and the coaching staff had to change. Managing a team of seasoned veterans is substantially different than trying to bring along a roster filled with players who have limited major league experience. I believe the success of this ball club was a direct result of the quality of coaching the Diamondbacks players received in the minor leagues prior to their call-up and at the major league level once they reached Phoenix. When a season ends there are always questions of whether a manager will bring back his coaching staff.

Today the Arizona Diamondbacks announced that all of Bob Melvin’s staff will be returning for the 2008 season. Bench coach Kirk Gibson and hitting coach Rick Schu were guaranteed contracts as they were signed to two year deals before this season began. Pitching coach Bryan Price had his option picked up by the Diamondbacks allowing him to return to work with the hurlers next season. That left first-base coach Lee Tinsley, third-base coach Chip Hale, and bullpen coach Glenn Sherlock as the remaining coaches in question. Today the Diamondbacks awarded each of them a 1 year contract through 2008. For Hale this will be his second season as a third-base coach.

Prior to this season he was the manager for the Triple-A affiliate Tucson Sidewinders. Hale is seen by many as a potential candidate for a manager position at some point in the future. Once the Diamondbacks play-off run ended; Chip Hale took over as manager of the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League. The AFL has been a breeding ground not only for young talented players but also for those who are being groomed for the fast track to managers. This would fit perfectly for Hale who had success managing Tucson leading them to the Triple-A championship in 2006.

For Lee Tinsley this will be his seventh season as a coach. He began his coaching career as the hitting coach for the El Paso Diablos who were the Diamondbacks Double-A affiliate in 2001. After acting as the roving outfield instructor for the Los Angeles Angels in 2002; Tinsley came back to the Diamondbacks organization in 2003 as Arizona’s minor league outfield coordinator. Tinsley has been successful coaching first but has also been extremely beneficial working with the young corps of outfielders the Diamondbacks have. His tutelage will continue to be necessary as Chris Young, Justin Upton, and Carlos Quentin begin to mature as major league players.

Glenn Sherlock will return to the Diamondbacks as the bullpen coach in 2008. This will mark the eleventh year Sherlock will have been on the Diamondbacks coaching staff. He is the only remaining coach still with the team from its inaugural season. Sherlock works well with the relievers preparing them before every game. The bullpen feels loose and relaxed but Sherlock has them ready when the time comes. You can continually see him working with pitchers and catchers in the left field dugout. His longevity having served under every manager the Diamondbacks have ever had is a testament to his adaptability.

Bob Melvin is fortunate to have such a talented staff returning for 2008. Hopefully the continuity and teaching that occurred in 2007 will continue on next season and the Diamondbacks can take that next step towards realizing another world championship.

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