Cepeda to be Marlins' bullpen coach (sources)

October 23rd, 2019

MIAMI -- The Marlins still have some unanswered questions regarding their coaching staff, but the pitching side now has some more clarity. 

According to sources, Wellington Cepeda will be Miami’s new bullpen coach, a position in which he will work closely with returning pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr., who will be back for a second season. 

The Marlins intend to announce manager Don Mattingly’s staff when all positions are filled. The club is not confirming each individual hire. Cepeda will replace Dean Treanor as the Marlins' bullpen coach. 

Cepeda, who turns 42 on Nov. 25, will join the Marlins after previously being in the D-backs system. In 2019, he managed the Arizona League D-backs. Before that, he was a Minor League pitching coach. A native of the Dominican Republic, Cepeda was a right-handed pitcher in the D-backs organization from 1997-2000, reaching Advanced Class A in 1999.

Cepeda and Stottlemyre, who was offered an extension after his 2019 contract expired, each have an Arizona connection. Stottlemyre previously coached in Arizona’s system, and he had input in the hiring of a bullpen coach. During his tenure with the D-backs, Stottlemyre was a big league pitching coach as well as a Minor League roving pitching instructor, and in 2014, he was on the big league staff as a bullpen coach. His time in Arizona overlapped that of Cepeda. 

Addressing the bullpen will be one of the Marlins’ top offseason priorities. In 2019, Miami's relievers combined for a 4.97 ERA, which ranked 26th in the Majors. Reducing bases on balls also will be stressed, after 270 were issued this season, which was tied with the Royals for the 11th most by any team. The Marlins finished 57-105, and converted 27 of 49 save opportunities. The 27 saves matched the Orioles for the fewest in the Majors. 

Mattingly received a two-year contract extension in September, and at this point, Stottlemyre and first-base/infield coach Trey Hillman are known to be returning for last years's staff. Hillman’s role, however, may change. Decisions are still being made regarding interim hitting coach Jeff Livesey, assistant hitting coach Eric Duncan and bullpen coordinator Rob Flippo. 

Treanor and catching coach Brian Snyder were not extended contracts for 2020. Tim Wallach, Mattingly’s bench coach the past four seasons, and Fredi González, the third-base coach the past three seasons, each expressed to the organization that they wanted to explore other opportunities. Wallach, whose family is based in southern California, said he wanted to be closer to home.