Though the writing had been on the wall for months, yesterday’s firing of manager Don Wakamatsu still came as a surprise from an organization that had come to reward mediocrity over the last decade.
With the team in a free fall and showing no signs of improvement, GM Jack Zduriencik decided that Wakamatsu was no longer the right man for the job, and showed his hand-picked manager the door.
The Mariners entered Monday night with a record of 42-70, the third worst in baseball, after a busy offseason that brought hope of a return to the playoffs for the first time since 2001. With virtually every player on the team underperforming Wakamatsu never really had a chance to succeed (it is a Seattle sports team after all). Wakamastu wasn’t without blame though; his questionable handling of the bullpen and inability to get maximum effort out of the team made the lame duck manager a perfect scapegoat for the M’s numerous shortcomings.
Triple-A manager Darren “Aw Shucks” Brown will replace Wakamatsu for the remainder of the season, though with the current squad, he’s probably not expected to do anything more than shake out the roster and try to figure out which pieces hold value moving into 2011 (so long Jose Lopez, Milton Bradley, Rob Johnson, etc). It would behoove Brown to manage with a bit more evident passion than Wakamatsu, whose Zen-like persona made him appear like an apathetic captain at the helm of a sinking ship.
It’s unfortunate that a classy manager like Wakamatsu had to be fired after just two seasons because of poor front office decisions, but it was apparent from his run-ins with Ken Griffey Jr., Milton Bradley, Michael Lohan and Chone Figgins that he no longer had the respect of his players.
He’s not the only one whose lost respect this season–Seattle’s front office and ownership are also on thin ice with M’s fans after putting one of the sorriest teams on the field in the organization’s storied history.
If more changes aren’t made soon, Wakamatsu won’t be the only one looking for work this offseason…
Filed under: AL West, Baseball, Seattle Mariners | Tagged: chone figgins, darren brown, Don Wakamatsu, Dustin Ackley, Jack Zduriencik, jose lopez, Ken Griffey Jr., michael pineda, michael saunders, ryan rowland-smith, Seattle Mariners |