Martinez is Seattle’s best choice for new skipper
With the firing of Seattle Mariners’ manager Lloyd McClendon, even in the midst of the playoffs the question is beginning to be asked. Who will be the next manager of the Seattle Mariners?
The new manager will have to have to believe in using analytics and sabermetrics, and be willing to take this more “new school” approach and run with it. The new manager must be willing to work with new general manager Jerry Dipoto on these issues, unlike Mike Scioscia, who drove Dipoto to resign from his GM position with the Los Angeles Angels.
The Sporting News recently published a story naming their top 11 candidates and, to my suprise, the top two candidates who I would have recommended for the position were in their top-three. The two candidates that, in my mind, would be the best candidates for the open management position in Seattle are Edgar Martinez and Raul Ibanez. Both are beloved players from Seattle’s past, and although neither has managerial experience, they’ve both shown competence in mentoring young players.
However, my first choice would absolutely be Martinez. He played all of his 18 seasons with the Mariners and posted a .312 career batting average, it’s no surprise that he spent last season as the team’s hitting coach. Martinez has a street next to Safeco Field named after him and is arguably the best designated hitter of all time – even over the great David Ortiz. Peter Gammons recently tweeted this:
As we prepare for HOF voting, we should think David Ortiz, and what his future candidacy mean for Edgar Martinez. If one belongs in, both do
— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) September 13, 2015
Gammons’ grammar aside, I take this to mean that what he was really saying is that you can’t put Ortiz in the Hall of Fame and leave Edgar out. Sadly, his status as designated hitter throughout most of his career may still, despite Gammon’s advice, keep Martinez out of the Hall of Fame. He is a two-time batting champion and seven-time All-Star who also owns five Silver Slugger Awards.
Perhaps more important than his resume is his idolization in Seattle – not only by the fans, but by the players who praise him for his positive approach to the game. Many have cited his approach as a key to their improvement not just at the plate but playing the game as a whole. Martinez says his approach to coaching (or potentially managing) comes from his own playing experiences.
“Most players know that they’re doing something wrong. It’s more, ‘How can I fix it? Focus on positive information so they can start feeling good about their swing and their game,” Martinez says in the above-linked article.
Brad Miller, the team’s utility-man who will likely play a larger part on the team next season, commended Martinez’s skills working with the players. As you will see, he is talking about more than just the approach Martinez uses as a hitting coach.
“He knows it’s hard,” Miller told the News Tribune. “He knows it a mental game. That it’s a game of failure. But he’s just so positive with it, and I really like that.”
Dipoto may have have fired McClendon, but he knew enough to keep on Martinez as the hitting coach. Perhaps, although there has been no formal indication of this to the media or otherwise, he even intends to interview the former Mariner great for the manager’s position. If he isn’t already thinking about it, he should be.
Martinez is well-respected by the entire team and, although he has no management experience, hiring rookie managers is nothing new, especially in the last decade. With his demeanor, skills and knowledge of the game, Dipoto would be remiss not to at least offer him an interview for the job. He’s already kept him on while firing most of the rest of the Mariners’ coaching staff. Now it may be time for a promotion