Monday, August 9, 2010
Wakamatsu has been fired as Mariners Manager
The team had high hopes going into the season coming off a surprising winning season the year before that had them in the playoff hunt until a late collapse did them in. There was hope for this season though the Mariners had finally acquired an ace and him being left handed he should dominate in Safeco. They rid themselves of some dead weight from the year before so the starting pitching staff was more complete. A division rival had just lost their ace so the Mariners gained an ace while another team in the division had lost its ace. Then the season fell apart, nobody could pitch, nobody could hit, that ace they acquired started the year off hurt and by July he wasn't pitching for the Mariners anymore. The clubhouse was a disaster as the team wasn't getting along at all. Yes that 2008 Seattle Mariners team was a total disaster of a team.
This is what Don Wakamutsu was brought into. He inherited a crappy roster that lost its best hitter from 2008 in Raul Ibanez. Expectations were pretty low for 2009. Then the first year manager and team rallied around "chemistry" and the team was getting along. The season ended with the team winning 85 games, Griffey was carried off and even Silva was carrying Ichiro off(the same Silva who threatened Ichiro the year before). The club went in 2010 with great expectations with acquiring Cliff Lee and Chone Figgins. They brought back the hugging duo at DH because team "chemistry" is so important. Then the hugging duo couldn't hit and nobody could hit and everything fell apart. Suddenly it became Wak's fault that Figgins, Bradley, Lopez, Kotchman, random catcher, Jack Wilson were all having career worse seasons. It was Wak's fault that Griffey was washed up. Despite the warning signs the year before because of his .214 batting average but he was a great "leader" and put fans in the stands. Instead Griffey ultimately cost Wak his job. Instead of being a true leader, Griffey sulked when he wasn't playing every day, he even fell asleep on the job then he just up and quit on the team in the middle of the year. Instead of saying "Hey I felt it was time to retire this has nothing to do with Wak". He let the media and players speculate that he only left because of Wak.
The Mariners are awful this season no doubt. Is Wak a great manager? No. Is Wak an average manager? I'd say yes. I think if Wak was managing the Yankees right now he'd do just fine. I think the Griffey situation overwhelmed him as it would most 2nd year managers on a struggling team. Will Wak pull a Bob Melvin and go on to win Manager of the year? Possibly. Will the Mariners hire someone better than Wak? No. The Mariners since Lou Pinella has left in 2002 have gone like this Bob Melvin(156-168,.481 %, 2 seasons), Mike Hargrove(192-210,.478%, 2.5 seasons), John McLaren(68-88, .436%, coached 2nd half of 2007, first half of 2008), Jim Riggleman(36-54,.400%, half a season) and now Wakamatsu(127-147,.464% about 1.5 seasons). As you can see since Lou left in 2002 the Mariners have gone through plenty of managers and none have been successful in their very short stints with the club.
The Mariners next season will again be looking at the same type of manager you saw me list which is either a rookie bench coach from another team or a veteran manager like Hargrove was who nobody wanted(Bobby Valentine). The Mariners are no longer a big time organization so you won't be stealing a top tier manager like they did with Lou back in 1993.
It doesn't matter who is the manager of this team as long as Howard Lincoln and mainly Chuck Armstrong are still associated with the Mariners this team will always be held back. This organization cares more about family friendly atmosphere and reliving 1995 than about putting a good product on the field. Bringing Griffey back was reliving 1995 but you knew it wasn't going to help 2010 at all! We are just one of three franchises to never make a World Series and as long as Chuck Armstrong and Howard Lincoln are in charge I don't see this club ever winning an AL pennant.