Marlins' coaching staff taking shape under Schumaker

December 13th, 2022

In the month since the Marlins introduced Skip Schumaker as their manager, the first-time skipper has been busy filling out his coaching staff. After Schumaker confirmed several names at last week's Winter Meetings, Miami made a formal announcement on Tuesday morning.

Bench coach Luis Urueta, hitting coach Brant Brown, assistant hitting coach John Mabry, first-base/outfield coach Jon Jay, third-base/infield coach Jody Reed, field coordinator Rod Barajas and quality assurance coach Griffin Benedict will join returning pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr., bullpen coach Wellington Cepeda and bullpen coordinator Rob Flippo.

Last week, general manager Kim Ng told MLB Network that the front office had "ultimate say," but that Schumaker was a "huge part of the process in picking that staff."

"First, I wanted a good person," Schumaker said. "You have to be high character. I bet on good people for the most part. The baseball stuff is second to me. Good people, then good baseball. And luckily everybody that we hired has both qualities. I definitely would not hire a really good baseball guy if they were a bad person, so that was important to me. Built-in relationships in some capacity were important. So whether it was I coached with them, played with them or had a really good friend or former teammate that trusted in this particular coach was important to me as well."

Here's a breakdown of each newcomer:

Luis Urueta, bench coach
Schumaker previously stated he wanted an experienced bench coach to balance him out as a first-time skipper. The Spanish-speaking Urueta fits the bill.

The 41-year-old Colombian spent his previous 21 seasons with the D-backs, including the past five on the MLB staff. He served as Arizona's bench coach from 2020-21 before becoming the Major League player development and instruction coordinator in '22. During the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Urueta managed Team Colombia, defeating Canada and losing in extra innings to both the United States and the Dominican Republic.

Urueta, who played five Minor League seasons, has managerial experience with the Dominican Summer League D-backs, Leones de Montería in the Colombian Winter League and Gigantes del Cibao of the Dominican Winter League. He won three straight Manager of the Year Awards and two championships in Colombia, and he led the Gigantes to the 2021-22 LIDOM title.

Brant Brown, hitting coach
Brown, 51, spent the previous three seasons as a hitting coach for the Dodgers after serving as the club's hitting strategist from 2018-19. Under Brown, Los Angeles ranked second in the NL in runs and first in OPS. Prior to joining the Dodgers, Brown was a coach in the Mariners' organization for five seasons, including '16-17 as the offensive coordinator. From '07-12, he was a hitting coach in the Rangers' organization. During a five-year big league career, Brown played 41 games for the 2000 Marlins.

John Mabry, assistant hitting coach
Mabry, 52, served as a Major League coach for the Royals over the past three seasons. Prior to that, he was the Cardinals' hitting coach from 2013-18 under Mike Matheny and the assistant hitting coach to Mark McGwire in '12. St. Louis’s offense batted .330 with runners in scoring position in '13, which stands as the highest mark in the Majors since the start of the Modern Era (1901-present). The 14-year MLB veteran spent eight seasons with the Cardinals, including '05 as a teammate of Schumaker's, and played 82 games for the '01 Marlins.

Jon Jay, first-base/outfield coach
The 37-year-old Jay is as local as they come, attending Carver Middle School, Columbus High and the University of Miami. Jay, whose 12-year MLB career ended in 2021, spent six seasons with the Cardinals, three as Schumaker's teammate. An outfielder on St. Louis' World Series-winning club in '11, Jay doesn't have any previous coaching experience.

Jody Reed, third-base/infield coach
A Florida State University product, Reed began his 11-year MLB career with the Red Sox as a shortstop, finishing third in American League Rookie of the Year voting in 1988. Following his playing days, he earned Gulf Coast League Manager of the Year in 2007 with the Yankees and later joined the Dodgers from '11-13, receiving Rookie-level Arizona League Manager of the Year honors in '11. Reed, 60, rejoined the Yankees for six years as the field coordinator, and he's been Miami's infield and baserunning coordinator each of the past two seasons.

Rod Barajas, field coordinator
Barajas, 47, won a World Series with the D-backs in 2001 as part of a 14-year MLB career. The former catcher spent eight seasons ('14-21) in the Padres' organization as a coach, beginning as manager of San Diego's Rookie-level affiliate. Following a successful stint as Triple-A El Paso's skipper, in which the club captured three consecutive Pacific Coast League division titles, Barajas was named San Diego's bench coach in 2019 and assumed interim managerial duties for the final eight games of the season following the dismissal of Andy Green on Sept. 21, 2019. His time as the catching and quality control coach from '20-21 overlapped with Schumaker's tenure as associate manager in San Diego.

Griffin Benedict, quality assurance
Benedict, 35, was the Cubs' Triple-A hitting coach in 2022. A former Minor League backstop, his time as the Padres' bullpen catcher (2011-20) also overlapped with Schumaker's stint in San Diego.