Edgar Martinez Returns To Seattle Mariners As Hitting Coach


The Seattle Mariners can’t hit for squat this year, and if that sounds like a familiar predicament it’s because it’s been this way every single year for over a decade. The Mariners can never hit, and so they often find themselves doing what bad hitting teams always inevitably do – getting rid of the hitting coach. It’s a familiar and ineffective approach, but in theory it’s better than doing nothing at all.

It should come as no surprise, then, to learn that the M’s have a new hitting coach. As of today, Howard Johnson has been reassigned to the minor leagues, which is a nice break from the monotony of firing the hitting coach. Also different this time around is that we get to be excited about the team’s new hire. Because it’s Edgar Martinez. As in, like, you know, Edgar Martinez.

Edgar! What the hell, right?? You tell me the team fired the hitting coach and I say “great, who cares.” You tell me the team hired Edgar Martinez to be a member of the coaching staff and I say “Edgar Martinez in a Mariners uniform now and forever!” It’s a different feeling, coming from a very different place. This signing isn’t important because it makes the team better. It’s important because it makes us smile.

This move, for what it’s worth, absolutely doesn’t make the M’s a better team. Edgar was one of the greatest hitters of all time, but that doesn’t make Dustin Ackley anything more or less than what he is right now. Having Edgar Martinez show Mark Trumbo the way won’t turn Mark Trumbo into Edgar Martinez. This isn’t going to be a big, season-altering change. The old hitting coach was fine, you know. The problem is that the players are bad. That’s always the problem. Always.

This move is about nostalgia. It’s about investing in the one thing this franchise has in all of it’s history that it can be proud of: the mid-nineties through the early aughts. The team’s “golden years,” the only time between 1977 and now when the team was sustainably good. Edgar pretty much typifies those clubs, and now he’s going to be in the dugout every night, wearing the same #11 jersey we all remember from when we were younger.

Let’s not forget what Edgar Martinez has done in his career. He’s a .312/.418/.515 hitter in over two thousand games, regarded the world over as the best DH in the history of the game. An all-time great hitter who really, really needs to be in the MLB Hall of Fame. One of the most recognizable icons in the history of Seattle, sporting or otherwise. The guy who was there when everything important happened. THE DOUBLE.

As far as it’s effect on the on-field product goes, the biggest benefit of this move is that we get to look at Edgar Martinez more often. That alone is exciting. Howard Johnson still gets to have a job! That too is nice. Maybe something he says clicks with one of the team’s struggling hitters and Martinez really does cue a turnaround. But more likely is that you show up early, he autographs your hat, and your day is made. That’s the gain: Edgar is here, in the flesh!

The Mariners didn’t need a new hitting coach, but they certainly stand to benefit some from the presence of Edgar Martinez. Everyone loves Edgar, and now we get to show that love more often while caring about a member of the staff we typically don’t care about. Edgar’s back with the M’s, and he’s going to wear #11. That’s all I needed to hear to crack a smile.

Next: Dustin Ackley Returns To Second Base