It has been anounced that Matt Williams will be the Diamondbacks' first-base coach next season, with Bo Porter becoming third-base coach. In the official release, AJ Hinch said: "We are really proud to add Matt Williams and Bo Porter to our staff .. Our coaching staff will have a unique blend of coaching styles, competitiveness, and personality that will help our players in every aspect of the game, mentally and physically. As a staff, we are excited and ready to start preparing together for a successful 2010."
The positions were left vacant following the decisions not to offer contracts to the former incumbernts, Lorenzo Bundy and Chip Hale respectively. It has been widely stated that Hale will be the Mets' third-base coach next year, while Bundy is not apparently actively seeking work - he had a benign tumor removed from his earlobe in October. More analysis after the jump.
This will be Matt Williams' first formal position as a big-league coach, though he was a temporary manager of the Double-A Mobile BayBears, while Brett Butler recovered from a stroke. However, Williams has been working with Mark Reynolds this season, and his duties will also cover infield coaching - hopefully, he'll be able to pass on some of the skills that earned him four Gold Gloves at third-base [though as noted already, Gold Gloves may be the most meaningless of all the awards].
One imagines this will put his broadcasting career on hold for a bit, though he may be able to retain his position as 'Special Assistant to the CEO,' acquired shortly before he became a minority owner, with 0.5% of the shares in the club. Just last month, Williams expressed his interest in a coaching role after the vacancies opened up with the team. "If they're considering me, I'd love to sit down and talk to them about it to see what options there might be there," said Williams, adding that he was "most comfortable in uniform on the field working with players."
Bo Porter is probably less of a known quantity, though apparently "has a long history with Hinch." Not quite sure how this can be the case, Porter having been in the Marlins' organization since 2005. I do see they played together for the A's in 2000 (and look what rookie started in RF for Oakland, in the game box-score linked above!). For the past three seasons, however, he has been their third-base and outfield coach, and he'll be doing the same for the Diamondbacks, so there should be not much new to learn there. Interestingly, he was also the club's baserunning instructor, and one wonders if he'll also be asked to focus on this area with Arizona.
He was offered a one-year contract to stay with Florida, and was also scheduled to manage Mesa in the AFL this winter, but declined the contract and was replaced in Mesa as a result. He's a relatively young 37-year old, though this still makes him a couple of years older than our manager. Scoping out the opinions expressed about him over on our siblings at Fish Stripes, they don't exactly seem too upset at the loss of Porter, though Craig says, "He did a decent job with the outfielders." Could be interesting at third-base, with Porter being criticized for being too conservative and not sending runners who could have scored. That'd be a bit of a contrast to Chip 'The Windmill' Hale who, it often seemed, never met an opposing outfield arm he didn't like.
It was also announced that Glenn Sherlock would be retained as the team's bullpen and catching coach. He has been with the Diamondbacks since the franchise was founded in 1998, in a range of jobs. He was the bench coach from 1998-2002, but then moved to bench coach, replacing Bob Melvin when he went to manage Seattle; Sherlock began 2004 covering first-base, but shifted to third after the arrival of Al Pedrique. However, he went back to the bullpen in time for the 2005 season, and next will be his sixth consecutive and eleventh season in all at the position.