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Grading the Coach Hires

Before starting the season, you set the tone with the coaches and personnel that will shape your franchise for the year. Unfortunately for some, coaches seem to stay loyal or bolt at the drop of a hat with little rhyme or reason, and those who stay often sacrifice a bigger paycheck for a bit of consistency in their lives. After the first round of hiring, there are some big winners and losers in the coach sweepstakes.

Hitting Coaches

Big Winners

Red Brock, Anaheim Anteaters
– Brock re-signed with the Anteaters for $3.36 million, making him the highest-paid hitting coach. He has made $21,890,000 in seven contracts with Anaheim, Portland, and Boston.

Montgomery Constitutions – Louis Robinson is the steal of the class, since he makes a bit more than half as much as the salary leaders but many consider him to be one of the best in the business. He's not complaining about the paycheck, though, since it's more than twice what he made as Montgomery's first base coach.


Lariel James, Washington D.C. Capitol Hill G-Men – James must have some inside information he's holding against the D.C. Management, because he has consistently made $3,000,000 a season as a below-average hitting coach for four seasons with the club and two other teams. James continues to improve, but at that price he's not worth it. Tacoma and Las Vegas are both going with rookie hitting coaches, who will be making a fifth of James's salary and probably do just as well.

Pitching Coaches

Big Winners

Tacoma Typhoon – Tacoma convinced Brian Peterson to re-up with the club, and although he got a substantial raise, his $1.7 million salary keeps him in the “bargain” category. At 37, he can still look forward to bigger paydays down the road.

Edgar Solano, Dover Galaxy – Edgar took advantage of a competitive market and pulled out a $4,500,000 offer sheet from the Galaxy. He's been a winner: last year he was on the NL pennant winner and his teams have won 98 or more games four times. Still, would you rather have Solano or a package of any other pitching coach, a million-dollar house, and $500,000 cash?

Even better than eating donuts for a living

Sam Luebbers has the easiest job in baseball as the Fargo Woodchippers' pitching coach. Everything Luebbers touches turns to gold, but it's not because of anything he does; it's the close proximity to Brett Tracy. Luebbers just sits back in the clubhouse and works on his handlebar moustache. In the meantime, he is on board for the sixth go-round with Fargo's Big Wood Machine.

Bench Coaches

A bench coach can help you win or lose a game with the decisions he makes. Unlike the other coaches, he impacts the details of a team rather than broad, long-term development and success. Basically, the winners are the teams that got who they wanted to ride the pine. Nobody really got hosed, either. A lot of these guys seem pretty much the same, so let's do some letter grades for the bench coaches.

A: Fargo, Las Vegas, Jackson, Richmond

B: Albuquerque, San Juan, Dover, Ottawa, Boston, Anaheim, Vancouver, Florida

C: Jacksonville, El Paso, Boise, Honolulu, Minnesota, Salem, Oklahoma City, Scranton

Fielding Instructor

Big Winners

Oklahoma City Drunken Ducks – The Double Ds have retained the services of Felipe Nieves for three consecutive seasons, and he's made the same $750,000 salary each year. That's the same salary that an average coach like Albert Melo of Jacksonville makes, but Nieves has helped guys like SS Hal Knight fill out nicely in the field.

Minnesota North Stars – Minnesota threw a bunch of money at Jonathan Jenkins last year to clean out the budget, but it paid off in not having to find somebody this year to overpay. Jenkins re-upped for Nieves money, not millions like he could have.

The Jury's Still Out

Anaheim and Scranton both went well over a million dollars to sign new fielding instructors. As other teams fill out their staffs we will have to see how well they did compared to the market. $1.6 million is probably not too much to pay for a Lenny Robinson in the open market.


castrojr said…
Patrick Erickson: a 22 win season
Alexander Frye: 2 20-win seasons
Diego Ozuna: 5 18-win seasons
Brett Tracy: 5 22-win seasons

Career win leaders
#1 Brett Tracy - 133
#2 Diego Ozuna - 118
#6 Alexander Frye - 90

Sam Luebbers - money well spent!

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