Four days ago I wrote that Mariner General Manager Jack Zduriencik gave manager Don Wakamatsu a vote of confidence, which is the kiss of death.
The kiss came today.
Replacing Wakamatsu on an interim basis-though in truth most managers’ are-is Daren Brown, manager of the Mariners AAA Tacoma team.
Bench coach Ty Van Burkleo and pitching coach Rick Adair also walked the plank of the good ship Mariner. The new bench coach-on interim basis, no doubt, is minor league catching coordinator Roger Hansen, and the new interim pitching coach is minor league pitching coordinator, Carl Willis.
Performance coach Steve Hecht also got the pink slip. I have no idea what a performance coach is or does. Maybe he is a cheerleader or something akin to that.
A manager is responsible for performance and at 42-70 the Mariners were not performing. In truth their pitching was good, with the starter’s e.r.a. among the top five in the American league, but the bullpen has been erratic. Mariner hitting has been atrocious all season.
The poor performance combined with the altercation with Figgins in the dugout doomed Wakamatsu. Whether the firing was fair or not is irrelevant, it is the business of baseball. You lose, you check Craig’s List for a new job.
On the Yankee broadcast today, Yankee announcer Michael Kay said two different people told him that Zduriencik and Wakamatsu did not get along. If true that was bound to be a factor as well. Losing tests the relationship between a GM and his manager.
Trader Jack still must take part of the blame. He built a team based on pitching and defense, but in the American League if you do not have power you will have trouble winning. You need pop in the lineup and Seattle has only fizzle. Balance is always the best route.
If Brown and his coaches can improve team morale, put a charge into the boys, and they finish up with some degree of respect and accountability, he may be on board next season. If not the ship Mariner will leave port in April with a new ship captain sailing again into troubled waters.