Monday, August 9, 2010

MARINERS: M’s fire manager Wakamatsu and rest of coaching staff, begin looking to 2011

If you have not already heard, or even read below, the Mariners have begun step one of moving on from the disappointing season of 2010. Don Wakamatsu has been relieved of his duties as team manager, along with pitching coach Rick Adair, bench coach Ty Van Burkleo, and performance coach Steve Hecht.

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This firing was not unexpected, but could be regarded as somewhat sudden. Wakamatsu had been walking on a thin line since the All-Star break, but failing to show improvement, has been shown the unemployment line.

Jack Zduriencik put it simply as “This has been difficult to watch.” I couldn’t agree more Mr. Z!

Wakamatsu was serving his second year as head of the Seattle Mariners. After a surprising above-.500 record in 2009, expectations were high for the 2010 season. With a new season came new hope for the Mariners, however, this hope was soon dashed as losses began piling up.

Controversy swarmed throughout the M’s organization, leading to the retirement of a Seattle legend, and the firing of yet another couldn’t-cut-it manager. Let me remind you that the last time Seattle has seen playoff baseball was back in the days of Lou Piniella.

Wakamatsu finished his managerial career in Seattle with a record of 127-147 (.464). The empty coaching positions will be filled temporarily by much of the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers staff, including interim manager Daren Brown, who has managed in the farm system since 2001. An active search for the next Mariners manager begins now, and Jack Zduriencik vows to look for the best candidate possible.

In my opinion, this firing was the right move by Jack Zduriencik and the Mariners front office; Wakamatsu could not command a winning team or even motivate the players to earn their salaries. Seattle’s payroll, which hovers around $100 million, should be producing at a more effective rate, and another hundred loss season is something that cannot be accepted in the Mariner organization.

I understand that much of the wrath and punishment has been laid upon the manager, however, don’t think that other changes will not be made once this horrific season comes to an end. This firing was a showing by Zduriencik and the front office that they do care about winning, and they will strife to return the Mariners to a respectable level.

It all starts at the top, and unfortunately, that meant showing Wak the door. This move will not make the M’s better to end the season, however, bring a manager many of the players are familiar with may spark some energy. My hope is Brown can light a fire underneath the team and move away from being one of the worst teams in franchise history.

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