Edgar Martinez asks for role shift, steps down as Mariners’ hitting coach

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Seattle Mariners hitting coach Edgar Martinez watches the field before the action against the Kansas City Royals at Safeco Field in Seattle on Tuesday, June 23, 2015. (Erika Schultz/Seattle Times/TNS)

Edgar Martinez won’t be the Seattle Mariners’ hitting coach next season.

The Mariners say Martinez, who has been with the Mariners since all 18 of his playing years as a player in Seattle and more recently the past four as its hitting coach, will still stay in a new role as the franchise’s organizational hitting advisor. That means he’ll be at spring training and throughout the season working with hitters and hitting coaches at all levels.

The move was announced Tuesday morning. Martinez approached general manager Jerry Dipoto and manager Scott Servais about a transition.

“Edgar came to Scott and me after the season ended and talked to us about his desire to find a position within the organization that would provide more flexibility than the role of major league hitting coach,” Dipoto said in a statement.

“We have spent the past three weeks working with Edgar to design a new position that will allow us to take advantage of his knowledge, passion and teaching skills at both the major and minor league levels, while allowing Edgar flexibility that is unavailable in his current role.”

“I appreciate Jerry, Scott and the team working with me on this new role,” Martinez said in a press release. “I’m looking forward to working with both the big league guys and the young hitters in the minor league system.”

The Mariners now have openings for their top hitting and pitching coaches. Shortly after the 2018 season ended, they announced Mel Stottlemyre Jr., the Yakima native, would not return.

Martinez was scheduled to be available to reporters later Tuesday afternoon. This story will be updated.

The change comes after the Mariners’ morphed into one of the worst clubs offensively in the second half of the season.

They entered the year expecting their bats to be their strength, and it was for the first few months, but from July 1 on the Mariners’ offense scored the second-fewest runs in the American League (just ahead of the Tigers) and ranked 26th in runs scored in all of baseball.

It wasn’t just scoring runs, out of 30 teams their team batting average (.247) was 19th, home runs was 27th, walks 28th, and OPS (on-base plus slugging) was 25th (.698).

Martinez isn’t the only franchise pillar to earn a new role. So did Ichiro midseason this past year when he transitioned from player to “special assistant to the chairman.” Except the Mariners plan for Ichiro to participate in spring training as a player, again, and he’ll most assuredly be on their expanded roster for their season opener, as Dipoto has said, against the Oakland Athletics as part of a two-game series in Tokyo, Japan.

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