The D-Backs announced they’ve hired Jeff Banister as bench coach. It’s the Snakes’ second key coaching addition in as many weeks, as Arizona recently hired Joe Mather as hitting coach.
Banister picked up one big league plate appearance with the 1991 Pirates, but he’s far better known for his post-playing accomplishments. He received his first professional managerial job at age 30, spending 1994-98 managing at the lower levels of the Pittsburgh farm system. Banister moved into a broader organizational role in 1998 and spent the next decade-plus as a major and minor league field coordinator before landing his first job on a big league staff as Clint Hurdle’s bench coach in 2010.
Over the next few seasons, Banister was frequently mentioned as a strong managerial candidate. That opportunity presented itself after the 2014 campaign, when the Rangers tabbed Banister to succeed Ron Washington. Texas was very successful over his first couple seasons, winning the AL West in both 2015 and 2016. Banister was rewarded with an AL Manager of the Year selection in his first year at the helm, but the success proved short-lived. The Rangers finished below .500 in both 2017 and 2018, and the club dismissed him towards the end of that latter season. All told, Texas went 325-313 (.509 winning percentage) in just under four years with Banister managing.
After spending a couple seasons back in the Pirates’ front office, Banister spent this past year as director of player development for the University of Northern Colorado. After one season in Greeley, he’ll return to a big league staff for the first time since being dismissed by the Rangers. The 57-year-old will be the top lieutenant for D-Backs’ skipper Torey Lovullo, who’s entering his sixth season leading the Arizona clubhouse.