The Seattle Mariners announced the 2019 Tacoma Rainiers coaching staff earlier today, and a familiar face will be at the helm of the Rainiers.
Daren Brown returns for what will be his eighth (sort of) season guiding Tacoma.
The veteran minor league manager is Tacoma’s all-time leader in manager wins, with 433 victories over seven-ish seasons.
Twice in his career Brown was appointed Tacoma’s skipper, only to get promoted to the major league team during the PCL season. Most notably was the 2010 season, when Brown piloted the Rainiers to a big lead in the division race… but was promoted to Mariners manager in mid-August, replacing Don Wakamatsu. Brown got fifty games of major league managerial experience, while the Rainiers went on to win the PCL Championship with hitting coach Jose Castro filling in as manager down the stretch and into the playoffs.
After another mid-season promotion from Tacoma in 2013 – this time to major league third base coach – Brown was one of few holdovers when Eric Wedge‘s staff was disbanded. He spent two years as a roving minor league instructor.
Once Jerry Dipoto took over, and Andy McKay was named farm director, they realized they had an experienced Triple-A and former interim major league manager working as a roving baserunning instructor, which they thought was an under-utilization of his talents. Pat Listach was already in as our manager in Tacoma, so they made Brown the Double-A manager. That’s what he has been doing the last three years, with one league championship (in 2016).
It has been nearly six full seasons since Brown was in Tacoma or the PCL. So, Daren – if you are reading this – here is a quick update of what’s going on around here.
- The Cheney Stadium renovation and subtle improvements have been a hit, with growing home crowds at the games.
- The league has changed. El Paso is a great road trip, once you get there. San Antonio is coming in this year. No more Springs. Nashville’s new ballpark is a jewel. We make our last trip to New Orleans this season.
- The Rainiers still can’t win in Reno. Something to work on!
- Sacramento is no longer a perennial title contender. In fact, they aren’t very good at all. And Tony D isn’t even in the league this season.
- Somehow, our division rival Fresno ended up being a Washington Nationals affiliate. I don’t know anything about them, either.
- The massive freeway construction project at the I-5 – HWY 16 interchange is not even close to being completed, and it will probably be obsolete before it is finished.
- Tacoma has many great new restaurants since you were last here.
- They cut the PCL season from 144 to 140 games, and added four off-days to the schedule. However, we spend those extra off-days travelling. It is an improvement, though.
- We now have an Epic Sax Gorilla.
- Your office probably smells of cigars. You know who to thank for that.
- Tom Newberg is still here.
Oh yeah, that last one reminds me. The rest of the coaching staff:
Lance Painter returns for his fourth season as the Rainiers pitching coach, so be ready local golf courses.
Roy Howell returns to Tacoma as the hitting coach. He served as Rainiers manager in 2014, and has been the Double-A hitting coach for the last four seasons. The Rainiers hitting coach the past two seasons was David Berg, who is now the manager of the Class-A West Virginia Power.
Newberg returns for his 13th season as Tacoma’s trainer. Derek Mendoza will be back for his fourth season as the Performance coach (strength & conditioning), and the new assistant trainer is Josh DiLoreto.
Nothing but familiar faces on this throwback/retro/turn-back-the-clock coaching staff. Opening day will be here soon.
- The News Tribune already has a story up on Daren Brown‘s return, with quotes from him.
- The Seattle Times has an article on the Mariners entire development staff. The organization is all-in on hiring pitching coaches from private academies instead of ex-players.
- Baseball America has a big round-up of minor league transactions, and several former Rainiers players are included. These are all minor league contracts – here we go: Erasmo Ramirez signed with the Red Sox… D.J. Peterson and Donn Roach are back with the White Sox… Justin Grimm inked with Cleveland… Michael Saunders signed with the Rockies… Cameron Perkins is taking his talents to the Dodgers… Mike Morin went to the Twins… and Steven Baron is now a Pirate.