A native Olympia and a standout at Capital High, Sandberg is excited to return home. Seattle also promoted Brian De Lunas to director of pitching development and strategies
Jared Sandberg had offers from multiple organizations in baseball, including an offer to return the Tampa Bay Rays organization where he’d spent the last 11 years in their player development and where he also made his Major League Baseball debut as a player back in 2001.
But the opportunity to return home to the Puget Sound area was too good to pass up. On Wednesday, the Mariners announced that Sandberg, who was born and raised in Olympia and maintains his permanent residence there, had been hired to serve as the team’s Major League field coordinator.
“The No. 1 reason for me to come back was for my family and that was the emphasis,” Sandberg said. “We had some other offers, strong offers, but in this situation, being away from my family for so long definitely weighed in this decision. I grew up in Olympia and have been away ever since I graduated. My wife and kids are excited to finally spend the summer in the Pacific Northwest. We’ve missed the beauty of it.”
Sandberg spent the last four seasons serving as the manager for Class AAA Durham, leading the Bulls to the International League title in 2017 and 2018. Prior to that his time in Durham he worked as a manager in the lower level of the Rays organization.
“Jared brings a lot of experience in building relationships with young players, having managed successful teams in Durham,” general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a statement. “He has a demonstrated track record of using a wide expanse of tools, from data analytics to sports psychology to traditional baseball education, and allowing each of those things to affect his decision-making. We think he is going to impact our staff in the ability to create order, deliver messages and convey plans, both among our staff and our players.”
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What exactly will a field manager do? Well, he’ll be in the dugout during games and help manager Scott Servais in a variety of aspects in the daily preparation.
“It’s a position at the Major League level that is able to bring the staff and players and organization together, and be on the same page,” Sandberg said. “What Scott and Jerry have laid out to me is it’s a position simply as a man of many hats, having a hand in a lot of different things. Coming from player development, I’m looking to help bridge any gap between the minors and major leagues.”
Sandberg is able to be in the dugout because the Mariners made adjustments to their coaching staff. Brian De Lunas, who served as bullpen coach last season, has been promoted to director of pitching development and strategies. Jim Brower, who served as assistant coach last season, will move to bullpen coach.
Dipoto also announced that Cody Buckel has been promoted to pitching strategist. Buckel served as organizational pitching coach in 2018. He retired from playing in 2017 after pitching eight seasons in the minor leagues.
“In his new role, Brian will spearhead our efforts to optimize pitching development and performance,” Dipoto said. “He will work with pitchers, pitching coaches and analysts both in Seattle and throughout our player development system. Additionally, Brian will provide guidance in all areas of pitcher evaluation and acquisition. Cody will assist Brian in this area, with an emphasis on technology and maximizing pitch development at the minor league levels.”
The Mariners 2019 coaching staff:
- Manager: Scott Servais
- Hitting coach: TBA, but club is expected to hire Tim Laker
- Bench coach: Manny Acta
- Pitching coach: Paul Davis
- First base/infield coach: Perry Hill
- Third base/outfield coach: Chris Prieto
- Bullpen coach: Jim Brower