According to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, Texas Rangers minor league pitching coordinator Rick Adair has accepted the Seattle Mariners' offer to become their new pitching coach under recently hired manager Don Wakamatsu.
Additionally, former All-Star Rangers closer and Washington Nationals bullpen coach John Wetteland has been announced as the Mariners' new bullpen coach, completing the pitching instruction component of Wakamatsu's coaching staff and leaving just the third base coach and hitting coach spots vacant.
No word yet on whether Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik will next move to pilfer the handsomely paid Rudy Jaramillo from Texas, or perhaps look to further corner the market on ex-Rangers -- the new market inefficiency, don't ya know -- by procuring Matt Walbeck, who recently signed a 2009 contract to manage the Pittsburgh Pirates' High-A (Lynchburg), Double-A (Altoona) or Triple-A (Indianapolis) affiliate, and bringing Baseball America's 2007 Minor League Manager of the Year back to the majors.
Just kidding. I think.
Adair supervised the remarkable transformation of the Rangers' minor league pitching corps during his four seasons in Texas, which were immediately preceded by four seasons spent in an identical capacity in Atlanta (2000-2003) and one more season spent as the pitching coach of the Eastern League's New Hampshire Fisher Cats, presently the Double-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. A third-round pick of the Mariners in the 1979 MLB First-Year Player Draft, Adair pitched seven seasons in the minors before elbow problems sparked his transition from player to coach.
His work has garnered significant praise from players, media and fans alike; just one notable example is Michael Main's revelation in Jason Parks' November 17th "Prospect Interview Series" installment that Adair aided the reconstruction of his delivery during the 2008 Fall Instructional League, contributing to his designation as the organization's top overall prospect in the October 27th edition of the BBTiA Top 25 Prospect Rankings.
Previously mentioned as a potential internal candidate for the Rangers' vacant big league pitching coach spot before it was filled by Milwaukee Brewers pitching coach Mike Maddux, Adair may now be superseded by Double-A Frisco pitching coach Terry Clark. MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan suggests that Clark could also be tabbed to fill the Triple-A Oklahoma City pitching coach vacancy, which was vacated by current bullpen coach Andy Hawkins back on August 1st following the dismissals of Mark Connor and Dom Chiti.
Great news for Adair and the Mariners, and not so great news for us. But the indelible impression he's left on the likes of Michael Main and Derek Holland and Neftali Feliz can never be erased, and there's no benefit to be derived from overly lamenting this defection. Texas will name a suitable and competent replacement at some point in the near future, and life will go on.
We can only hope that life will include plenty of quality starts from homegrown Texas pitchers.