The Diamondbacks announced on Wednesday that there will be a few changes to their coaching staff next season. The first and most notable was the announcement that first base coach Eric Young has been fired.
“We looked at a lot of areas and felt like we needed to make a change at first base,” said Diamondbacks General Manager Kevin Towers. “By no means are we calling Eric Young the scape goat for the disappointing season we had last year.”
“It was a very hard decision,” added Diamondbacks Manager Kirk Gibson. “It’s something I thought out thoroughly. I called E.Y. today to tell him of my decision and thanked him for his hard work and he thanked me for the opportunity…He is a class guy, a good guy…This whole thing is on me ultimately and I made a decision to move in a another direction.”
A big change between the 2010 and 2011 season was the teams base running. Stolen bases were down and Kirk Gibson sited times where signals were missed when addressing the media a day after the season ended. However, both Gibson and Towers said that had nothing to do with the decision to let Young go.
“It is an area we do need to improve upon and is an area we will try to improve upon,” explained Gibson. “Again I really want to be cautious about blaming Eric Young about our shortcomings. It’s all on me. And it’s on me to fix it”
“That was an area where we have struggled over the las t couple years but our struggles last year was more than just out base running,” mentioned Towers.
Another change that will be seen to the coaching staff is the addition of a second hitting coach. The team has decided that adding an extra member of the staff could only help the team. Don Baylor has been the hitting coach the last two seasons and that will continue to be the case with him being the man in charge. However how the responsibilities will be divided between Baylor and the second hitting coach does remain to be seen.
“Potentially hiring a seventh coach where the expertise would be on hitting,” said Towers. “Somebody to kind of assist Don Baylor with cage work, tee work, to take a load off him…We talked to Groove (Don Baylor) about it and he’s all for it.”
“There are quite a few clubs starting to go that way,” added Gibson. “It’s a huge responsibility. It’s a huge undertaking everyday. You have the players and the pitchers as well…It does take communication and organization…My vision is that it well help us and give me the opportunity to assign different responsibilities in the broad term of hitting.”
Finally, the Diamondbacks also let go a second coach on the major league level, Wilson Valera. Over the last two seasons Valera assisted in on-field operations and worked as a liaison to latin players. He spent a total of five years with the organization.