Mariners hire Edgar Martinez as hitting coach

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Well, here’s a surprise: The Mariners announced this afternoon that they have reassigned hitting coach Howard Johnson and hired seven-time All-Star Edgar Martinez as his replacement. Martinez will be in uniform tonight against the Astros, wearing his familiar No. 11.

The Mariners entered today’s action ranked dead-last in the majors in batting average and 28th in runs scored. This is a function of talent more than anything else, but the front office decided that a new voice was needed. You could do a lot worse than Martinez.

Martinez, a .312 lifetime hitter over 18 seasons with the Mariners, has never coached professionally. However, he has been a guest instructor in spring training in the past and recently started helping hitters at Triple-A Tacoma. Here’s what Martinez told Mike Curto of the Tacoma News Tribune earlier this month:

“I had too much time on my hands,” Martinez said with a laugh. “I always wanted to get back to the game. Right now my family is busy, my wife is working, my kids are all in school and they’re old enough where I can travel more. It’s a good time for me to do it.”

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

Minnesota Twis v Kansas City Royals
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.