Philadelphia fired multiple coaches immediately after the final game ended and the Phillies are doing some interesting things while piecing together the new staff.
Not only will manager Charlie Manuel go without a bench coach next season, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that the Phillies will hire an assistant hitting coach and “have targeted” Matt Stairs and Mike Sweeney for the job.
According to Salisbury their goal is to hire a young, recently retired player to work alongside new hitting coach Steve Henderson, with general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. explaining that “we’ve researched it quite a bit, so we’re going to go with a two-man crew.”
Another name to keep an eye on is Jim Thome, who has a great relationship with Manuel and would fit what the Phillies are looking for if he decides to retire after the season.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that the Mariners will sign Ichiro Suzuki to a minor-league deal. If he makes the roster he’ll make $750,000. At least until he retires.
I say that because it seems quite clear that the idea here, telegraphed since last season, is to activate Ichiro for the Mariners’ series against the Oakland Athletics in Tokyo on March 20-21 and for hoopla surrounding it all. The Mariners and A’s will have a 28-man roster for that series, which is officially part of the regular season schedule, but it will be pared back down to 25 once games begin in the United States.
Suzuki, 45, hit .205/.255/.205 in 47 plate appearances through May 2 last season, at which point he agreed to be deactivated to join the Mariners’ front office. Many assumed Ichiro would announce his retirement later that season or during the offseason, but the Japan Series soon crystalized as an obvious way for him to offer his final farewell to both his American and his Japanese fans.
Unless of course he goes 6-10 with three doubles in that series, at which point everyone will be tempted to keep him on the roster past Japan. Which, given the Mariners’ rebuild and likely poor performance this coming season, wouldn’t exactly be hurting anyone, would it?