Fan opinion on the 2016 Arizona Diamondbacks’ coaching staff was clear on two things. First-base coach Dave McKay had done sterling work with the players, who stole bases as a franchise-record rate of success, and would hopefully stick around for 2017. Meanwhile, pitching coach Mike Butcher proved completely incapable of handling the issues affecting the pitching staff, and was a cert to be fired, particularly under a new front-office regime with no inherited loyalty.
Today proved to be a day of surprises: one pleasant, one likely disturbing for most D-backs supporters. McKay will indeed be returning to the Diamondbacks in 2017. But so will Mike Butcher. Seeing the team ERA spike by more than a run, despite adding All-Stars Shelby Miller and Zack Greinke, leaves many wondering about the decision, and I’m keen to hear from GM Mike Hazen as to the logic behind the decision. I’ll be writing up a piece looking at Butcher’s impact in more detail, later in the week.
There were also some other front-office moves by the team.
#Dbacks name Jared Porter as SVP & Asst. GM, promote Mike Bell to VP, Player Development and name Josh Barfield as Asst. Dir., Pro Scouting.— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) November 8, 2016
Porter arrives as a replacement for Bryan Minniti, who was hired by the Philadelphia Phillies as a special assistant to their general manager, Matt Klentak. Porter, meanwhile, had been with the Cubs as their scouting director, but it’s another piece of the #FenwayWest puzzle, as before moving to Chicago, he worked with both Hazen and Assistant GM Amiel Sawdaye in the Red Sox organization. Porter was Boston’s director of pro scouting from 2012-15.
The team’s longest serving coach, Glenn Sherlock, who has been with Arizona since the very beginning, will no longer be the bench coach, but the D-backs apparently want to retain his services in another capacity, so we’ll see where he lands, if he opts to stay. Diamondbacks bullpen coach Garvin Alston also will not return; he completed only one season in the role.