The Mariners have hired Ken Griffey Jr.

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The Mariners have issued a release announcing that Ken Griffey Jr. has been hired as a special consultant to the club.  Griffey “will be involved in numerous areas of the Mariners franchise, including, but not limited to, Major League Baseball Operations, player development, our minor league system marketing, broadcasting and community relations.”

That seems like a lot of responsibilities for a dude who can’t make it through a game without napping.

Don’t look at me like that. You were thinking it too.

More seriously, I would love to see a study of “special assistant” jobs in Major League Baseball.  I bet the vast majority of them are kind of do-nothing jobs. Which is totally cool, because it’s more about maintaining the association with greats from the franchise, and it sounds way better than saying “we’re going to just have the old Hall of Famer hanging around at high profile functions.”  But I really am curious to see if any of the ex-greats who get special assistant jobs really attack them. Show up at the office, go to meetings, chip in to the coffee fund and all of that.

I bet Jim Thome will someday.  Really, if he’s ever a special assistant to the Twins or the White Sox or Indians or wherever I bet he’ll buy a business casual wardrobe and everything. Car pool. The whole bit.

Yankees to hire Josh Bard as their new bench coach

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Aaron Boone has no experience as a coach or a manager at any level. As such, some have speculated that he’d hire a more seasoned hand as his bench coach as he begins his first season as Yankees manager. Someone like, say, Eric Wedge, who was a candidate for the job Boone got and who once managed Boone in Cleveland.

Nope. According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, he’s going with Josh Bard.

Bard, 39, was a teammate of Boone’s with the Indians in 2005. He’s not without coaching experience, having spent the last two seasons as the Dodgers’ bullpen coach, but he’s not that Gene Lamont/Don Zimmer-type we often see in the bench coach role.

Which is fine because different managers want different things from their bench coach. Some are strategy guys, helping with in-game decision making. Others are relationship guys who help managers understand all of the dynamics of the clubhouse while they’re worrying more about lineups and stuff. Others are trust guys, who can serve as the manager’s sounding board, among other things. Some are combinations of all of these things. As Feinsand notes in his story, Boone said at his introductory press conference that he’s looking for this:

“I want smart sitting next to me. I want confidence sitting next to me. I want a guy who can walk out into that room and as I talk about relationships I expect to have with my players, I expect that even to be more so with my coaching staff. Whether that is a guy with all kinds of experience or little experience. I am not concerned about that.”