As another disappointing season ended in Miami, it was reported that manager Don Mattingly and the club would be mutually parting ways. Over the last few weeks, recent reporting indicated that the final four candidates were Schumaker, Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro, Astros bench coach Joe Espada and Yankees third base coach Luis Rojas. Now it appears that Schumaker has edged out his competition and will take over as the new bench boss for the Fish.
Schumaker, 43 in February, played in the big leagues from 2005 to 2015, spending time with the Cardinals, Dodgers and Reds. He signed a minor league deal with the Padres for 2016 but announced his retirement in March. It didn’t take long for him to get involved in post-game roles, as he was hired by the Padres to be their first base coach for 2018. Before the 2020 season, the Friars gave him the title of “association manager”. “
A year ago, the Cardinals surprisingly parted ways with manager Mike Shildt despite a solid run in the dugout. After they promoted Oli Marmol to take over, they suddenly had a vacancy at the bench coach position and hired Schumaker to take over. The Marmol-Schumaker pairing seemed to work well, as the Cards went 93-69 in 2022 and recaptured the Central division. However, the club will now be looking for a new bench coach for the second year in a row.
For the Marlins, they are looking for a turnaround after years of frustration. Outside of the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, they haven’t made the playoffs since 2003. There have been a lot of frustrating stops and starts for the fans in that time, with 2022 once looking like it could be the year the fans. Marlins made a major leap into contention. They had a strong pitching staff and completed their positional player mix by bringing in outside additions like Jorge Soler, Avisail Garcia, Jacob Stallings and Joey Wendle. Unfortunately, all four of those players have dealt with injury or underperformance or both. When combined with injuries and disappointing results elsewhere on the roster, Miami fell well out of contention once again and ended up with a 69-93 record.
General manager Kim Ng and the rest of the front office will surely hope that Schumaker will be instrumental in turning things around. Coaches’ impacts can be hard to quantify, but there’s no doubt that Schumaker rose through the ranks quickly. Just a few years ago he was still playing, and he quickly joined the big leagues as a coach without first claiming a stint in the minors. From there, he received a promotion in San Diego and was then quickly poached by two different organizations, highlighting the respect he has around the game. If that’s not enough, the Marlins players are quick to show their approval, with Jazz Chisholm Jr. and Sand Alcantara both take to social to share their enthusiasm (Twitter links).
Of course, a manager alone cannot turn a poor team into a champion. There is still a lot of work for the Marlins to do this winter in upgrading their roster. But for now, they can knock one item off their to-do list, adding a young up-and-coming manager who seems to command enormous respect throughout the game.