We received some big news on Monday, when the Seattle Mariners confirmed that they will not be renewing the contract of Tacoma Rainiers manager Pat Listach for the 2019 season.
Listach managed the Rainiers for four years, reaching the PCL playoffs once. Here are the Rainiers record under his guidance:
- 2015: 68-76
- 2016: 81-62 (won division title)
- 2017: 66-76
- 2018: 66-73
His 281 total career wins ranks fourth among Tacoma managers in franchise history, which dates back to 1960.
A native of Natchitoches, Louisiana, Listach became Tacoma’s first African-American manager when he took the job in 2015. He had spent five of the previous six seasons on major league coaching staffs, with the Washington Nationals, Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros.
From my perspective, Pat’s biggest strength at the Triple-A level is his ability to communicate and relate with his players amid an extremely high-stress environment. These players are on the cusp of the major leagues, and the lifestyle changes that come with it, and everyone feels like they belong in Seattle and not in Triple-A. Listach is terrific at handling the clubhouse in these conditions.
He’s also great with fans and the media. If you are a regular at Cheney Stadium and bumped into Pat at some point, he probably stopped to chat with you for a bit. He’s a “people person.”
We’ll definitely miss him in Tacoma. Pat has been a joy to work with the past four seasons, and he’s a good friend. I’m sure he’ll find a job with another organization quickly.
So who is next in line? Good question.
Daren Brown is the Double-A Arkansas manager. He has already managed Tacoma for seven years, and working in the Texas League keeps him much closer to his family home in Amarillo. It’s possible that he may not be interested in leaving his current post – I’m not sure. We would love to have him back, of course.
Class-A Modesto manager Mitch Canham had a lot of success in 2017, but his team fell back this year. His youth (33 years old) and lack of high-level playing experience (a total of 41 games played in Triple-A) are very large hurdles to clear when it comes to relating to players at this level.
Denny Hocking managed at Low-A Clinton this season, and he seems like a candidate. Hocking was a Rainiers coach in 2017, and he has plenty of PCL and Major League experience.
Tacoma Rainiers hitting coach David Berg is also a candidate. Prior to joining the Rainiers in 2017, Berg managed six seasons in the Marlins system including two at the Double-A level. As a hitting coach, it seems that his players like him.
The Mariners may make a hire from outside of the organization. Whoever lands this job is going to need to be able to handle the challenges of dealing with an unsettled Triple-A roster while working in a somewhat experimental Player Development Department that emphasizes mental and psychological growth over traditional baseball instruction. An open mind will be required. It’s not for everybody!
The Pacific Coast League Championship Series began last night, and defending champion Memphis ran away with a 10-4 victory over Fresno. It was Game One of the best-of-five series.
The Redbirds were up 5-0 in the fifth inning, and 7-2 in the sixth. Leadoff man Tommy Edman went 4-for-5 with a double, a homer, and three RBI. Wilfredo Tovar added three hits and drove in two.
Game Two is today at 7:05. Memphis starts left-hander Tyler Lyons against Fresno RHP Trent Thornton.
Your landing page for all live coverage of the PCL Playoffs is right here.
- Pat Listach told the Seattle Times he was stunned by the news. The article mentions some other recent changes in the organization.
- The News Tribune also has a story on the end of the Pat Listach era in Tacoma, with additional reaction.
- Here’s the game story on Memphis’s series opening win in the PCL Championships.
- The Mariners lost to the Padres last night, 2-1, and are in danger of being swept in the season series by their spring training buddies.
- Hisashi Iwakuma‘s time as a Mariners player has come to an end.
- We have a story from Wichita on the politics involving the building of a new ballpark, and the New Orleans franchise moving there for the 2020 season.
- Wildness in the short-season Northwest League, where the worst team in the regular season won the championship on a walk-off balk.
- If you are a subscriber to The Athletic, here’s a link to an excellent and somewhat sad story on ex-Rainier Dustin Ackley.