The announcement that bench coach Tim Wallach will not return to Miami in 2020 means there will be changes to the Marlins coaching staff.
Marlins fans expect there to be changes to the team’s 25-man roster heading into the 2020 season, but they should also expect new faces to make up the team’s coaching staff as well.
We know that Don Mattingly has been given a two-year contract extension by the front office, hoping the work that has already begun in turning this organization around from top to bottom will continue.
Derek Jeter saw fit to keep Mattingly, who has dealt with the destruction of this franchise the past two seasons, as the point man in the dugout. It is now a waiting game to see if Jeter’s decision pays off or more criticism will come from the national media.
News broke late last week that Tim Wallach will be leaving the team to be closer to his family out west. This means at least one member of Mattingly’s staff will come aboard for the ride in 2020.
"“For the past four seasons, Tim Wallach has been a staple on the Marlins’ staff, serving as bench coach to manager Don Mattingly. Before that, they were together for five seasons with the Dodgers,” Joe Frisaro of MLB.com wrote.“As bench coach, Wallach has been a sounding board for Mattingly, and in many ways, a second skipper in the dugout. But after the Marlins’ 2019 season comes to a close on Sunday against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, Mattingly will be in the market for a new bench coach.”"
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Can Mattingly find someone who becomes his right hand, someone who can offer another opinion and more than anything, become part of the culture of the Marlins focus on slow growth?
"“You’re looking for a person you’re hopefully on the same page [with],” Mattingly said. “So you’re kind of in tune during the game. They are really an extension in all different ways, from your prep work and everything you’re doing getting ready for a game. But also getting ready for Spring Training and what we’re trying to accomplish. It’s really like having another manager right there with you.”"
Another thing to consider here is that just because Mattingly got the new deal, which also calls for a third season provided the Marlins improve, it does not mean he is still there at the end of 2021. I thought the move to bring him back was the right one for now. That might look different midway through next year.
As big-name managers get the ax next week and front off personnel leave other baseball organizations, we will all play the “what if” game, wondering if the Marlins still need improvements at the top of the food chain.
In other words, someone is going to get a really good manager if Joe Maddon is shown the door with the Chicago Cubs.
There is speculation the Marlins may make a move from within the organization to fill Wallach’s spot. As Frisaro added, Trey Hillman, the club’s first-base/infield coach this season, was Mattingly’s bench coach with the Dodgers from 2011-13. It seems like a logical fit and would fall along the same lines of keeping the band together as the younger players on the roster continue to develop.
"“I started with Trey, and ‘Wally’ came in, and it just felt good knowing that somebody has got your back all the time, and not letting you just sit there,” Mattingly said."
Personally, I like the idea of Fredi Gonzalez moving into the role as he has experience as a manager and is respected within the organization. It’s something Mattingly and Jeter should consider.
While Wallach leaves the Marlins for potential other opportunities, he is behind the work the organization has done to build from the ground up and thinks the winning will come at some point soon, something he won’t be around to witness.
"“That’s going to be the hard part, not seeing this come to fruition, and I think it will. I think it’s going to start coming fast,” Wallach said. “There is no question I will be paying attention, watching and rooting for them. There’s a lot of good kids in here who have worked hard, and there’s a lot more coming.”"