With the Miami Marlins and respected manager Don Mattingly parting ways, we look forward to meeting the staff that new manager Skip Schumaker has assembled for the 2023 season. It should be known that the Marlins are retaining pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr., bullpen coach Wellington Cepeda, and bullpen coordinator Rob Flippo. Other than them, the rest of the coaches are new to Miami.
When Skip had his introductory press conference in November, he mentioned that he would like experienced coaches—some of them bilingual—who have prior relationships with him and know what winning is. In my belief, Skip has done just that with these hires. The staff includes a mix of coaches who had long major league playing careers like Jon Jay and Rod Barajas and others from some of the best teams in baseball like Brant Brown and John Mabry.
“Skip was a huge part of the process in picking that staff,” general manager Kim Ng told MLB Network. “We wanted him to be really involved.”
Rod Barajas: Field Coordinator
Before getting into Barajas’ coaching career, it is necessary to mention that he was a former big league catcher for 14 years and won the 2001 World Series with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
After he got done playing, Barajas went on to spend nine seasons with the San Diego Padres in various positions, including catching coach and interim manager for the final eight games of the 2019 season. Barajas spent 2022 in the minor leagues for the Los Angeles Angels.
The Marlins did not hire a traditional catching coach to replace Eddy Rodriguez, so it will be a catching coach by committee. That should start with Barajas as the main guy in that role.
Griffin Benedict: Quality Assurance Coach
Benedict has had a wide range of experiences in baseball. Most recently, Benedict spent the 2022 season as the Iowa Cubs hitting coach but spent 10 seasons with the San Diego Padres as the bullpen catcher and a Major League instructor. Benedict was also a part of the Padres scouting department for a portion of his career. He was originally drafted in the 16th round of the 2009 draft, but never made it up to the big leagues.
Brant Brown: Hitting Coach
Brant Brown makes his return to the Marlins, but this time as a coach. Although he slashed .192/.224/.356/.580/2 HR/6 RBI in his Marlins tenure, he has become better known for his coaching abilities. He coached with the Texas Rangers (2007-2012) and the Seattle Mariners (2013-2017) before making his way to Los Angeles. Brown was on the Dodgers staff during Cody Bellinger’s MVP season in 2019 where he slashed .305/.406/.629/1.035/47 HR/115 RBI. This past season, the L.A. Dodgers were ranked in the top three among MLB teams in runs scored and OPS.
Jon Jay: First Base/Outfield Coach
Jon Jay on his return to Miami as the Marlins First Base and Outfield Coach:— Mike Cugno (@MikeCugnoCBS4) December 14, 2022
“Putting on this jersey is going to complete everything for my career.” @Marlins @CanesBaseball @ColumbusHS_Mia pic.twitter.com/oKlMhrY16Q
The former 2011 World Series champ and University of Miami outfielder makes his way back to South Florida as a first-time coach in the big leagues. “Coaching’s kinda always been in my blood,” he told the media on Wednesday at LoanDepot Park. “I enjoy helping guys.”
Although Jay played all three outfield spots throughout his career, he primarily played center field (678 games). The Marlins got poor defensive performance from that position in 2022. Jay was teammates with Skip Schumaker in St. Louis and is also a Cuban American.
John Mabry: Assistant Hitting Coach
This may be one of the more underrated coaching staff hires. Before spending his last three seasons in the Kansas City Royals organization, Mabry was with the Cardinals since 2012 as the assistant hitting coach and then the main hitting coach. In 2013, the Cardinals offense hit .330 with runners in scoring position, which stands as the highest single-season mark in MLB’s modern era. Maybe Mabry’s wisdom can help Miami move past last season’s situational hitting struggles.
Jody Reed: Third Base/Infield Coach
Reed is someone who is familiar with the Marlins organization as he was previously their minor league infield and baserunning coordinator. Another former MLB player on staff, he played for the Red Sox, Dodgers, Brewers, Padres and Tigers at the highest level. A lot of his post-playing work has been with the Yankees (two separate stints).
Luis Urueta: Bench Coach
“Pipe” Urueta had been with the Arizona Diamondbacks for most of the franchise’s existence (21 years). Schumaker couldn’t have chosen a better right-hand man, a bilingual tactician who was a player, a coach in the minors, majors and winter ball, and led the Colombian team in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
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