Seattle Mariners fire bench coach, offensive coordinator Brant Brown

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - APRIL 23: (L-R) Bench Coach & Offensive Coordinator Brant Brown #73 of the Seattle Mariners reviews a scouting report with Cal Raleigh #29 and Mitch Haniger #17 during the fifth inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Lif (Sam Hodde / Getty Images)

The Seattle Mariners have fired bench coach and offensive coordinator Brant Brown after just 58 games this season amid significant offensive struggles across the roster.

"Obviously, we've had some struggles on the offensive side, and it's not all Brant's fault by any means. We just want to make a change there," manager Scott Servais said ahead of Friday's game against the Los Angeles Angels.

"Maybe a little bit different voice with our players, and really need to get our guys as focused back into doing what they do best. That's coaching. How do you get the most out of your guys? And that's what we're going to focus on going forward.

Brown was hired to the staff in November after previously serving as hitting coach of the Miami Marlins. He previously spent five years working in the Mariners' minor league system from 2013-18, and returned to the major league staff as the team hoped to push forward offensively this season by cutting down on strikeouts.

Instead, the Mariners are tied for 28th in runs scored, 28th in team batting average (.221), 27th in on-base percentage (.295), and 25th in slugging percentage (.361). They lead all of MLB in strikeouts with 594, which is 27 more than the next closest team in the Boston Red Sox with 567.

Additionally, Julio Rodríguez has an on-base-plus-slugging percentage over 150 points lower than last season.

"Unfortunately, our collective production as an offense kind of led to this decision and, you know, all of us don't feel too great about that," outfielder Mitch Haniger said. "Brownie is not the one to blame for that. It's not his fault. So as far as like other reasonings, I have no idea, but we're just trying to get our stuff together and move on."

Haniger spoke highly of the work Brown did behind the scenes in preparing reports for hitters on a nightly basis. He also lamented the fact that outside of outliers like Josh Rojas or Dylan Moore, just about every hitter in the lineup has under-performed this season.

"For the most part, like, everybody feels like they haven't done what they're capable of doing," Haniger said. "And that's kind of crazy when it's like all nine guys are all 12 guys. So yeah, unfortunate and hopefully turn things around as fast as possible. Keep working and get back on track.

"It's really hard to put a finger on it. I think everyone's going to have a different opinion. And I think like, a lot of it's probably BS, in my opinion. Someone's going to say this, someone's going to say that. It's like, whatever, you just need to perform better and get better results."

While not all of these factors fall directly on Brown, the overall struggles of the roster led the team to believe a change was necessary. Being shutout in a 4-0 loss by Spencer Arrighetti on Thursday afternoon may have been the final blow for Brown's tenure. Despite winning three of four games against Houston, the Mariners scored just nine runs in the series.

And yet, the Mariners find themselves four games over .500 at 31-27 with a three-game lead in the AL West over the Texas Rangers.

"This team has a chance to have a really special season, and I talked about that way back when we started," Servais said. "I still feel that way, knowing we have not even scratched the surface of what we can do offensively. There’s a lot of good times ahead. Sometimes you have to go through pain, and certainly today is one of those days."

Servais and Brown played together during their MLB careers and Servais calls Brown a friend, which made the decision Friday a difficult one for him as well.

"But at the end of the day, you know, we’ve got to do what’s best for the team and what’s best for our players," Servais said.

Director of Hitting Strategy Jarret DeHart and Assistant Hitting Coach Tommy Joseph will continue with the team and expand on their roles with the hitters. Servais said they will bring in "another set of hands" from their minor league ranks to help cover the duties for the staff. 

The dismissal of Brown marks the first time in the tenure of Servais and president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto that the team has made a change to a hitting coach midseason. Howard Johnson was dismissed during the 2015 campaign and replaced by Edgar Martinez months before Dipoto and Servais were hired to lead the team.


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