D-backs staff retains Mike Butcher, Dave McKay; Williams and Grace let go
Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen confirmed to Today’s Knuckleball’s Jack Magruder and others at the MLB meetings on Tuesday that the Diamondbacks have retained pitching coach Mike Butcher and first base coach Dave McKay, both of whom were already under contract through 2017.
Hitting coach Dave Magadan will also return, according to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford.
Butcher spent his first season with the D-backs in 2016 and oversaw a pitching staff that struggled mightily to record a regular season ERA of 5.09, the highest in the majors.
McKay will enter his fourth season with Arizona and is credited with leading the D-backs’ aggressive base-running tactics over the two years under manager Chip Hale’s leadership.
Following manager Torey Lovullo’s hiring, Arizona has also let go of two familiar faces. As first reported by Arizona Sports 98.7 FM host and AZCentral.com columnist Dan Bickley, the D-backs won’t bring back assistant hitting coach and former Arizona first baseman Mark Grace.
MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert confirmed the report and added that former D-back player and last year’s third base coach, Matt Williams, will also not be on Lovullo’s staff. Hazen additionally said bullpen coach Garvin Alston will not return.
Grace spent the last two years working under manager Chip Hale’s staff after his coaching career began in 2014 as a hitting coach with the Diamondbacks’ Single-A affiliate in Hillsboro, Ore.
The former MLB first baseman spent 13 seasons with the Chicago Cubs before he closed his career playing in Arizona from 2001-03. Grace followed his playing career by becoming a broadcast analyst for the D-backs and FOX Sports until 2012.
Williams joined the D-backs last year after he lost his managerial position with the Washington Nationals. He replaced Andy Green, who left for the San Diego manager position. As a player, Williams spent his final six MLB seasons with Arizona in 1998-2003.
Additionally, the D-backs announced that Jared Porter will become assistant general manager and senior vice president under Hazen. The 36-year-old worked for the Red Sox from 2006-2015 but spent the last year with the World Series-winning Chicago Cubs.
Arizona also promoted Mike Bell to VP of player development and Josh Barfield to assistant director of professional scouting.