If it aint Brocail, don't fix it. That's apparently the strategy the Astros are taking towards Bo Porter's new coaching staff. Houston announced on Friday that Doug Brocail and Dave Clark would stay on with the team while John Mallee and Dave Trembley were added to the staff from outside the organization.
After naming Porter, GM Jeff Luhnow suggested that the team would need to shore up a few areas in his first staff. Those included experience with the American League, help with the infield and pitching experience. He seems to have nailed all of them with these hires.
Mallee will be the hitting coach, after serving in a similar capacity for the Florida Marlins in 2010 and 2011. As Tim pointed out, he has his own hitting website and worked extensively in the minor leagues as a hitting coordinator. If you want an explanation why his name landed here, look no further than that. Luhnow wants to develop players and is going to place a heavy emphasis on that minor league experience, I bet.
Brocail will also remain on as pitching coach, which is unfortunate. Mind you, I don't want to see anyone lose a job, and Brocail has been a big part of this team for a while now, both as a player and now a coach. He hasn't been terrible, but I'm sure we all long for the days of Brad Arnsberg, when we saw tangible effects of his tutelage.
Of course, there could be a reason why Brocail was kept on. If he's more amenable to Luhnow and Mike Fast being involved in talking to the pitchers about strategy, pitches, etc., maybe all Brocail needs to do is be a psychologist, keep guys focused and doing the right things. I don't know.
Both Trembley and Clark didn't have their positions announced, but that's likely because the team has yet to officially announce that Pettini will not be the bench coach. With Pettini still technically in that position, it'd be awkward if they said Trembley will be their guy.
He does bring plenty of American League experience to the party, though, and that's something Houston said it wanted in a bench coach for Porter. He has recent experience there and will no doubt help immensely with matchup and scouting reports.
As for Clark, I bet he doesn't stick as third base coach, and may move over to first. The things Houston still needs to add is infield coaching help. Will that be filled by a new third base coach? Or, do they have a few different possibilities for guys who might slot into either of those spots?
I guess we'll find out next week.
The least surprising bit of news from this is that Fred Nelson is out as Player Development chief. If any of you followed Jayne at What the Heck, Bobby? or read between the lines with minor league interviews, etc., this will be met with some enthusiasm through the system. Quinton McCracken is an interesting choice and comes from a background with Arizona, a club that has embraced stats but also was more traditional under Kevin Towers.
With the exception of Trembley, though, McCracken, 42, continues the trend of Houston's hires skewing young. Between Mike Elias, Mike Fast, Porter, Mallee and even Brocail and Clark, this is a very young coaching staff and front office. I don't know if that means anything, but it looks like a trend.
Tim's post already got some good reaction, but I'll ask again: are you sad they didn't move Brocail? Do you consider Trembley a "big name," like was hinted at in Thursday's press conference? Do you think he'll help Porter in that bench coach capacity?