12/03/08 8:40 PM EST
Pair from past join Seattle's staff
Former prospect Adair named pitching coach, Wetteland added to 'pen
By Jim Street / MLB.com
They are now in charge of developing a pitching staff that can compete against some of the best hitters in the game. Seattle's starters finished 12th in the American League last season with a 36-70 record and 5.07 ERA, and the relievers ranked ninth, posting a 25-31 record and 4.14 ERA."Our goal is to build a coaching staff with energy, passion and teaching skills," general manager Jack Zduriencik said. "I'm looking forward to getting to Spring Training to watch Rick and John work with our pitching staff." Adair, who has been the Rangers' Minor League pitching coordinator for the past four seasons, said he's encouraged with the staff he inherits. "For whatever reason, whenever I went into Texas last season it seemed like we were always playing Seattle," Adair said. "There is a group of guys there that obviously have talent. You have some diversification, in experience and youth, and it has the makings of being a very good pitching staff." He mentioned right-handers Felix Hernandez and Carlos Silva, and left-handers Erik Bedard and Jarrod Washburn, as the top guns. "I don't know these guys personally, but when I was in Texas and watched them pitch, I saw that they all have very good stuff." The foursome was a combined 24-44 and, barring a trade or other personnel move, could be back in 2009. "Felix is a young guy who has accumulated quite a few innings," Adair said, "and I assume that he's just scratching the surface. Bedard is very talented, but had physical issues last year. It's always good to have a power left-hander in the rotation." Silva and Washburn were 14-game losers and must bounce back if the Mariners are going to improve significantly in 2009. "The reports on [Silva] are real good," Wakamatsu said. "He has lost some weight. He has a lot of pride and probably is as motivated as anybody to come back and get people to believe in him. I think he was embarrassed." The next few weeks will be a getting-to-know-you process for Adair. "I will be reaching out and talking to these guys on the phone so I can have a good feel for where they are and where we are as a group," he said. Wakamatsu, who has filled four spots on his coaching staff, continues to surround himself with familiar faces. He previously worked with Adair and Wetteland when all were with the Rangers. "I have always been impressed with the work they have done," Wakamatsu said. "Technical stuff is important, but the way coaches connect with a player, keep them on the straight-and-narrow and wanting to work [is equally important]." Adair, 50, and Wetteland, 42, join a coaching staff that already includes bench coach Ty Van Burkleo and first-base coach Lee Tinsley. There still are vacancies for a third-base coach and hitting coach, although Jose Castro is considered the front-runner to return as the hitting coach.
"We're pretty close," Wakamatsu said. "We're still bouncing things around, but we'd like to get something done as quickly as possible. We're real close to getting this group together."
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.