Although there is no official release yet from the Mariners, numerous reports have now confirmed the initial Tweet above from the Puget Sound Business Journal that Seattle has settled on its new manager and that the choice is 54-year-old Lloyd McClendon.
McClendon, who managed the Pittsburgh Pirates between 2001 and 2005, has been the hitting coach for the Detroit Tigers for the past six seasons. During those six seasons the Tigers have ranked third in batting average (.271) and on-base percentage (.338) and fourth in MLB in runs scored (4,624), slugging percentage (.428) and wOBA (.335) while tying for 10th in home runs (1,043). Of course Detroit has also had Miguel Cabrera since 2008.
There is no Cabrera in Seattle, and the stats bear that sad fact out, as the Mariners rank dead last among the 30 MLB teams in each of the above categories outside of home runs (where they rank 23rd) over the same time frame. McClendon certainly can’t take all of the credit for the Tigers’ hitting success during his tenure there just as he shouldn’t shoulder all of the blame for the results those talent-starved Pirates teams put out under his watch. McClendon could very well be an extremely different manager now than he was during his first go ‘round, but it stands to reason that -- having worked closely under Jim Leyland extensively -- he will still lean more “old school” in his ways.
I’m not sure that Jack Zduriencik and the Mariners made a conscious effort to go out and go the old school route with this hire -- and remember that McClendon had no managerial experience when he was given the Pirates job, so maybe that tag isn’t warranted -- but the club clearly liked what they saw and heard from Lloyd during the interview process. With what figures to be a very young roster again in 2014, a manager with McClendon’s personality -- one that sounds a lot like Eric Wedge’s, incidentally, and that showed fiery flashes reminiscent of Lou Piniella -- figures to be a bonus.
While those Pittsburgh teams that McClendon managed weren't flush with superstar talent, it is worth noting the anecdotal statistical history that the Pirates' record in the previous 10 years before he took over was 748-806, a .481 winning percentage. The Mariners' record over their last 10 years is 718-902, a .443 winning percentage.
It was made known recently that the M’s informed a number of Wedge’s coaches that they wouldn’t be back in the same roles in 2014 and McClendon could conceivably pluck from Detroit’s staff to fill his own spots here in Seattle. Bench Coach Gene Lamont will stay in Detroit under their new manager Brad Ausmus, and longtime pitching coach Jeff Jones figures to be retained by the Tigers as well. But infield coach Rafael Belliard, third base coach Tom Brookens and bullpen coach Mike Rojas are certainly possibilities here in Seattle now. Former M’s coaches Rusty Kuntz and Gerald Perr y also worked on McClendon’s staff during his time in Pittsburgh.
McClendon will firm up his coaching staff in the coming days and we’ll bring you that information once it is known. Until then, head over to our Forums and comment on what you think about this hiring.
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