Mel Stottlemyre served as pitching coach for the last three seasons and was one of the first coaches Scott Servais hired when he became Mariners manager.
The Mariners made one significant change to their coaching staff following the 2018 season. At a small news conference at Safeco Field on Monday afternoon, manager Scott Servais announced pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre will not be retained for the 2019 season.
The remainder of the staff, including hitting coach Edgar Martinez and bench coach Manny Acta, have been invited back for next season.
“We met with the staff this morning,” Servais said. “Mel Stottlemyre will not be back with us. We’ll go in a different direction there.”
The Mariners issued the fewest walks in MLB with 400. That’s a club record for a season.
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Seattle had five starters — Mike Leake (31), Marco Gonzales (29), Felix Hernandez (28), James Paxton (28) and Wade LeBlanc (27) make 25 or more starts in 2018. Seattle had the seventh lowest staff earned run average in baseball (4.13).
It was a somewhat surprising change considering Stottlemyre’s relationship with Servais. When Servais was first hired as manager, Stottlemyre was one of his first calls to serve as his pitching coach.
“Mel has been with me here since I got the job for the last three years,” Servais said. “I have a very close relationship with Mel. I just thought with where we are at currently and where we want to go moving forward, I thought we should go with a different voice and a different direction there.”
Reached via text message, Stottlemyre didn’t want to comment on the situation because it had just happened.
Entering this season, the Mariners changed the structure of their coaching staff, adding Jim Brower, who was an assistant coach focused on the pitching side along with bullpen coach Brian DeLunas. Sources said the new dynamic, which was supposed to focus on more data driven coaching and preparation, made Stottlemyre skeptical at first, wondering if this somehow reflected negatively on him.
But the three coaches made the plan work this season. Will the Mariners continue with it in 2019?
“It could get adjusted,” Servais said. “I don’t have a clear blueprint of that right now. I will say that all three guys brought a lot to the table. I think it’s one of the main reasons why we got as much out of pitching this year as we did. I liked the model so to speak. I think we can (be) even better in getting information to our players and working with our group upstairs in our analytical department to make sure we are all in sync and getting the most out of each and every one. The model has a lot of merit.”