Manager Scott Servais has filled the final two open positions on his big league coaching staff. On Monday, the Mariners announced that former big leaguers Casey Candaele and Mike Hampton – a one-time Mariners’ prospect – have been hired to serve as the first base coach and bullpen coach, respectively.
Neither Candaele nor Hampton has big league coaching experience, but they have coached in the minor leagues. They’ll join Tim Bogar (bench coach), Edgar Martinez (hitting coach), Mel Stottlemyre Jr. (pitching coach) and Manny Acta (third base coach) on Servais’ staff.
Servais has plenty of familiarity with Candaele, 54, from when they both worked together in the Rangers minor league system. Candaele spent last season as the Rangers’ field coordinator, overseeing all on-field instruction for Rangers’ minor league position players. He was also in charge of the Rangers’ minor league spring training and instruction league. Prior to that, he spent four seasons as the Rangers’ minor league infield and base running coordinator.
“Casey brings a great presence and high baseball IQ to our staff,” Servais said. “He’ll be working with our outfielders and on baserunning, both areas that he is uniquely prepared for given his experience over the past five years.”
Candaele played for 18 seasons with six different teams, starting his career with the Expos. He appeared in 2,132 big league games and was a career .250 hitter.
He’s also comes from a historic baseball family. His late mother, Helen Callaghan St. Aubin, was an outfielder in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and her story was one of the inspirations for the movie “A League of their Own.” Casey and Helen are credited as the only mother/son combination to have both played professional baseball at the highest levels available.
People forget that before Hampton became an all-star with the Astros, he was originally a Mariners’ draft pick and prospect. Seattle selected him in the sixth round of the 1990 draft out of Crystal River High School in Florida. He debuted with the Mariners in 1993, pitching in 13 games and starting three. The Mariners traded him in that offseason along with Mike Felder to Houston for a failed prospect in outfielder Eric Anthony.
Hampton became a two-time all-star with Houston and then was traded to the Mets in the final year of his contract. He signed a free agent deal for 8 years worth $121 million with Colorado – the largest in sports history at the time. But he struggled in the hitter-friendly environment. He had some success after being traded to the Braves, helping them to a division title. But elbow and shoulder injuries eventually derailed his career. He compiled a 148-115 career record with a 4.06 ERA in 419 appearances (355 starts). He truck out 1,387 batters in 2,268 1/3 innings pitched and had five starts of 200-plus innings. An outstanding athlete, who turned down a football scholarship to Florida State, Hampton won five Silver Slugger awards and a Gold Glove in 2003. He’s the only pitcher to win a Silver Slugger and Gold Glove in the same season.
“Mike brings a tremendous amount of experience,” Servais said. “His competitive nature will team well with Mel Stottlemyre as they help guide our pitching staff through the season.”
Hampton has ties to Dipoto and Servais, having served as the pitching coach for the Arizona League Angels in 2014 and the pitching coach of Class AA Arkansas in 2013.
By Major League Baseball rule, the Mariners can still add a seventh coach to the staff. But there has yet to be any confirmation that Servais is looking to add another coach.