Following a disappointing 81-81 season, the Arizona Diamondbacks started to shuffle things around a little bit Wednesday, announcing that first base coach Eric Young would not return to the organization in 2013.
“We had many organizational meetings at the end of the year where we reviewed not only our minor league personnel and staff as well as our major league personnel and staff,” general manager Kevin Towers said during a Wednesday afternoon conference call. “(Kirk Gibson) and I talked at length after those meetings and looked at a lot of different areas and felt like we needed to make a change at first base.”
Young served two seasons as the team’s first base coach. In 2011, when the Diamondbacks won the National League West crown, the club earned a reputation for aggressive baserunning and ranked second in the National League with 133 stolen bases. That number shrunk to just 93 steals in 2012, which ranked 12th in the league.
“By no means are we calling Eric Young the scapegoat for the disappointing season we had this year,” Towers said. “But I really don’t want to get into the details as much as we needed to make a change there going forward.”
Young was brought in to join Gibson’s staff prior to the 2011 campaign along with pitching coach Charles Nagy, hitting coach Don Baylor and bench coach Alan Trammell.
“It was a very hard decision, it’s something I thought out thoroughly,” Gibson said. “I called E.Y. today to tell him about my decision and thanked him for his hard work, he thanked me for the opportunity.
“We both wished each other the best, he’s a class guy, he’s a good guy and the hard part is it’s a bad deal for him — it puts him in a light that I don’t like.”
Gibson also echoed Towers’ sentiment that in no way is Young responsible for the Diamondbacks’ baserunning challenges in 2012.
“This whole thing’s on me and ultimately, I made a decision to move in a new direction,” he said. “E.Y. will get another job and he’ll be better the second time around.”
The club didn’t immediately name a successor for Young, but will consider both candidates in and out of the organization.
“We’ll probably start the interview process here at the end of this week or the beginning of next week,” Towers said.
Towers also said that the team is exploring the possibility of adding a seventh coach to the staff that would serve under hitting coach Don Baylor.
“They won’t be able to be in uniform during the game but they’ll be in uniform pregame, travel with the club and somebody that will be kind of behind the scenes helping out with the hitting responsibilities,” he stated.
Wilson Valera served in that role in 2011, but has been reassigned to the minor league coaching staff.