The Mariners' new coaching staff has been assembled, lacking only an acceptance from prospective third-base coach Larry Bowa to become finalized. Meanwhile, most of the former coaching staff remains unemployed. "So far I don't have anything, and it has been a little more difficult than I expected," Mike Goff said. "It's a tough business."
It has been almost three weeks since Goff, who began last season as Seattle's first-base coach and moved to bench coach following manager Mike Hargrove's sudden resignation, was told he would not be invited back for the 2008 season. That same message went to third-base coach Carlos Garcia, pitching coach Rafael Chaves and bullpen coach Jim Slaton. Hitting coach Jeff Pentland was retained, and second-half first-base coach Gary Thurman returned to his former job in the organization -- roving outfield instructor. None of the four former coaches contacted via telephone expressed any bitterness over the dismissals, saying they understand that any time there is a change in managers -- in this case from Hargrove to John McLaren -- coaching positions also are subject to change. "They did what they had to do, and it doesn't change the way I feel about the Mariners organization," Chaves said from Chicago prior to an interview with the White Sox for a potential position in their Minor League system. "I was treated well by them. They put food on my table for 10 years, and I wish them nothing but success." Chaves, who returned to his Puerto Rico home after the interview, also has talked to the Yankees about a pitching coach opening in the Minor Leagues. "I'm hanging in there and hoping for the best," he said. "Time will tell where I'll land. I have to go where I have to go, and I think I will find a job somewhere." Chaves spent 10 seasons in the Seattle organization, the past two as the Mariners' pitching coach. Goff, a 16-year Mariners employee, moved his family from Alabama to Peoria, Ariz., two years ago. His wife and their three children live about a mile from the Mariners' Spring Training complex. He hasn't visited the site. His time nowadays is spent at home, waiting for the phone to ring or making another call to a general manager or farm director. "I've never gone through something like this," Goff said. "Anytime you spend 16 years in one place, and it's the only organization I ever coached for, you think it will be easy [to find another job] based on your experience. It's a little more difficult than you think to get a quality job." Goff said he has sent his resume to virtually all Major League organizations and received some responses -- but no job offers. "All I can do is put my name out there," he said. "Hopefully someone has a need for someone like myself." Slaton also lives in the Phoenix area. The former bullpen coach was with the Mariners organization for the past 11 seasons, the last three on the Major League staff. "There is a little fear of the unknown," he said. "I expressed my disappointment, but told McLaren that there are no hard feelings. The hardest part is my family and friends are always asking questions like, 'What's going on? You did a great job.' But that doesn't always mean anything in baseball." As for now, Slaton said, "I have some feelers out and am waiting to hear from people. I really enjoy coaching. I like putting the uniform on every day and enjoy being around the players. "Our young guys in the bullpen did a great job, and that's what I will miss the most. It was great to see them come along like they did in the trenches." Slaton, 57, said he would like to spend about five more years in baseball, possibly going back to the Minor Leagues as a roving pitching instructor or special assignment pitching coach. Garcia returned to his offseason home in Buffalo following the regular season and went into the job-hunting mode. "I'm doing good," he said. "I'm spending time with my family, played some golf while the weather has allowed me to, and am looking for a job. There's not much out there, but maybe things will open up after the World Series." Garcia joined Hargrove's staff prior to the 2005 season as the first-base/infield coach, helping develop a defensive unit that tied for the Major League lead in fielding percentage. He was switched to the third-base coaching position midway through the following season. "My mission was accomplished there, and now it's time to turn the page and look at some other places," the 40-year-old Garcia said. "You never know if you're going to get another big-league job, and I might have to go back to the Minor Leagues. If that's what it takes, I'll do it. "I think I did a good job in Seattle, and hopefully somebody was watching." Winter League update: Left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith, a candidate to compete for a spot in the Mariners' starting rotation next season, lost his first decision with the Cardenales de Lara of the Venezuela Winter League. Through Wednesday, Rowland-Smith had a 4.32 ERA after two starts, surrendering seven hits and four earned runs in 8 1/3 innings. Right-hander Brandon Morrow, another rotation possibility next season, will replace Rowland-Smith on the Cardenales roster in early November and make about eight starts. Right-hander Sean White, a Rule 5 Draft selection during the Winter Meetings last year, worked a scoreless innings in his Venezuela Winter League debut. White spent much of the 2007 season on the disabled list. Justin Lehr, who pitched for Triple-A Tacoma this past season, is 1-1 with a 7.36 ERA after two appearances with Yaquis de Obregon of the Mexican Winter League. Among position players, outfielder Michael Wilson had a .317 batting average (19-for-60) with three home runs and 15 RBIs for the Waikiki BeachBoys of the Hawaii Winter League, while teammate Josh Womack had a .210 average (13-for-62) with one home run and seven RBIs. The Arizona Fall League trio of catcher Jeff Clement (.333 average, one home run, three RBIs), second baseman Yung Chi Chen (.357 average, one homer, three RBIs), and third baseman Matt Tuiasosopo (.281 average, six RBIs) is performing well for the Peoria Javelinas. Roster moves: The first personnel moves of the offseason were made on Wednesday, when the Mariners reinstated left-hander Arthur Rhodes and right-hander Chris Reitsma to the 40-man roster. Both had been on the 60-day disabled list, which no longer exists. To make room on the 40-man, the Mariners sent right-handed pitcher Jorge Campillo and shortstop Nick Green to Triple-A Tacoma, where they spent most of the 2007 season. Rhodes, who earned a spot on the Opening Day roster as a non-roster invitee to Spring Training, underwent Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery on his left elbow and missed the entire season. He hopes to make a comeback next spring.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.