The Changes Begin

As he season ended Diamondbacks General Manager Kevin Towers assured fans and the media there would be changes coming and hose changes would be enacted rather quickly. The first item on Towers to-do list would be to name a new manager.

The fans and many of those inside the organization have campaigned to keep Kirk Gibson as manager and remove the interim tag. Towers and Gibson have met several times in the past week each expressing their eagerness to work together if given the chance.

It therefore came as little surprise when Towers announced that Gibson would be returning to continue to manage the Diamondbacks. Gibson was given a two year deal with a club option on a third year. The timeline matches that given to Towers so these two will be married at e hip for better or for worse.

Not everything went as expected though. There was a substantial upheaval in the coaching staff. Given Towers comments to the USA Today the day after being named GM where he suggested he would like to have Greg Maddux as either bench coach or pitching coach did not bode well for the incumbent coaches on Gibson’s staff.

Current bench coach Bo Porter who took over the position when Gibson was named manager was let go by the team. Likewise hitting coach Jack Howell was also fired no doubt a reflection on the team’s poor plate discipline and extreme strikeout totals.

Third base coach Joel Youngblood who came up when Porter was named bench coach was offered another position within the organization likely working with the minor league outfielders which he did previously.

Pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. was likewise relieved of duty and offered position inside the organization. Stottlemyre Jr. Became the pitching coach after Bryan Price quit when Bob Melvin was fired part way through he 2009 season.

The only two coaches to remain are on opposite ends of the experience spectrum. First Base coach Matt Williams who just completed his first season will return. He has been applauded both within the organization and by other teams for the work he has done. Shortstop Stephen Drew and third baseman Mark Reynolds both credit Williams with cutting down their errors making them better defensively.

Bullpen coach Glenn Sherlock retained his position in the coaching shuffle. Sherlock is the grand-daddy of coaches with the Diamondbacks. He was part of Buck Showalter’s staff in 1998 and has held coaching responsibilities under every manager in Diamondbacks history.

So the Diamondbacks will now begin the search for a third base coach, a pitching coach, a hitting coach, and a bench coach. During the press conference and in comments afterwards Towers explained how he would be involved in the hiring process.

He expressed that while the coaches will report to Gibson, it would be Towers decision who would be hired. Towers understands ghat for a team to be successful all of the coaches must be on the same page and have the same philosophy.

Gibson seemed to reiterate Towers comments explaining that these coaches would not only have on field duties but would be mentors to these players in teaching them the right way to play the game. It sounds as though the changes are not just on the roster but also represent changes to the culture of the team.

For the first time in a very long time I am beginning to find hope that this team has reached the bottom and will now begin to climb out of the cellar and become the franchise the once were a decade ago.

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