Diamondbacks Hire Former Rangers Manager Jeff Banister as Bench Coach

Jeff Banister

Jeff Banister Named as Diamondbacks Bench Coach

PHOENIX, Nov. 1 — The Arizona Diamondbacks have filled another coaching vacancy, hiring Jeff Banister as their bench coach Monday afternoon.

Banister, 57, brings decades of managerial and coaching experience to the Diamondbacks staff. He spent four seasons (2015-18) at the helm of the Texas Rangers. In each of his first two seasons, they won the American League West. In 2015, he became the first-ever American League manager to win Manager of the Year in his first-ever season managing a major league team. Over the four seasons, he went 325–313 (.509). Prior to his time with the Rangers, Banister was the Pittsburgh Pirates bench coach (2011-14) under manager Clint Hurdle.

“He was always somebody that I admired from across the field, in the other dugout,” said Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo. “From his time in Pittsburgh, I could see the influence that he had on…moving forward with a young group of core players. Clint spoke very highly of him during his time as his bench coach. Then watching him from across the field, when he was a manager of the Rangers, I just enjoyed the way he went about his business. There was a seriousness to his day. He was somebody that that I had targeted from the very beginning as a potential candidate. When he came in and we sat down together, I could see quickly that we matched, and that was the most important thing.”

Resume of Jeff Banister

Banister’s experience in Pittsburgh, helping mold the young core that included Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, Pedro Alvarez, and Gerrit Cole, should translate nicely into the Diamondbacks dugout. Josh Rojas, Daulton Varsho, Zac Gallen, Pavin Smith, Carson Kelly, Ketel Marte, Jake McCarthy, Luke Weaver, and Taylor Widener are all 27 or younger.

While he was in Texas, he had a team that had some seasoned veterans — Adrian Beltre, Robinson Chirinos, Shin-Soo Choo, Prince Fielder, Colby Lewis, and Cole Hamels — to go along with young talent like Elvis Andrus, Delino DeShields, and Rougned Odor. The “ability to meld young up-and-coming players” is a skill that Banister learned in Pittsburgh and brought with him to Texas. Banister said, “When I got to Texas, we had some strong veteran presence inside that clubhouse. But how do you meld that with the young players? How do they fit inside that clubhouse? How do you utilize those those veteran players to help to shape and mold and lead those young players as well?” Since the Diamondbacks will still need strong play from veterans David Peralta, Christian Walker, Nick Ahmed, and Madison Bumgarner, Banister’s experience in Texas will be a valuable resource.

Banister and Lovullo clicked immediately personality-wise, according to both. Lovullo added that it will be nice to have another set of eyes and ears in the clubhouse. “I can’t be in two places at once.” He indicated that Banister’s energy will also bring a welcome contrast to the clubhouse, saying “sometimes I can be so boring that I want to throw up in my own mouth.” In addition, Banister is a catcher by trade. He will double as the primary catching coach now that Robby Hammock is no longer on the staff.

Looking Ahead

The coaching staff for 2022 has three returnees: bullpen coach Mike Fetters; third base coach Tony Perezchica, who also works with the infielders; and first base coach Dave McKay, who works with the outfielders. They have hired Joe Mather to be the new hitting coach and Banister to be the new bench coach. There are still four more positions to fill: a pitching coach and three assistant hitting coaches. They are also considering creating an assistant pitching coach position. Lovullo said they are going to do “as thorough a search as possible for the best candidates that are going to be the best teachers that will help our team grow and learn day by day and hold our guys accountable.”

Main Photo:
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Players/managers mentioned:

Jeff Banister, Clint Hurdle, Torey Lovullo, Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, Pedro Alvarez, Gerrit Cole, Josh Rojas, Daulton Varsho, Zac Gallen, Pavin Smith, Carson Kelly, Ketel Marte, Jake McCarthy, Luke Weaver, Taylor Widener, Adrian Beltre, Robinson Chirinos, Shin-Soo Choo, Prince Fielder, Colby Lewis, Cole Hamels, Elvis Andrus, Delino DeShields, Rougned Odor, David Peralta, Christian Walker, Nick Ahmed, Madison Bumgarner, Robby Hammock, Mike Fetters, Tony Perezchica, Dave McKay, Joe Mather

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