Pat Listach – New Tacoma Manager

November 19, 2014

The Seattle Mariners and Tacoma Rainiers announced on Tuesday that Pat Listach will be the new Tacoma manager for 2015.

This marks the second year in a row that the Mariners have gone outside of the organization to hire a Triple-A manager. They did the same thing last year, hiring Rich Donnelly to manage the Rainiers – only to have plans change during spring training, with Donnelly ending up was the major league third base coach and Roy Howell taking over Tacoma.

Howell managed the Rainiers to a 74-70 record last year – and he’ll stay in the Mariners organization. He was supposed to be the Double-A hitting coach last year before the dominoes fell during spring training, and he ended up doing a fine job as Tacoma manager. I suspect he’ll go back to his prior role as hitting coach – possibly at Double-A Jackson, where he was expected to be last season.

Rainiers fans should be excited about Listach running the club.

Listach last managed in the Pacific Coast League in 2008, leading the Iowa Cubs to an 83-59 record and a first-place finish in the American-North (they lost to Oklahoma in the American Conference playoffs, three games to two). Listach was named the PCL Manager of the Year for his efforts.

At that time, Listach was considered to be a strong major league manager prospect. Lou Piniella was the Chicago Cubs manager, and he recommended Listach for a big league coaching job in Washington. Listach served as a third base coach for the Washington Nationals and manager Jim Riggleman for two seasons, 2009-2010.

Listach left the Nationals to take an opportunity as the Chicago Cubs bench coach under then-manager Mike Quade (bench coach is considered a better job than third base coach for aspiring managers). Listach survived two tumultuous and ultimately very Cub-like seasons in Chicago before being let go after the 2012 season.

The Dodgers hired Listach to work with their minor league infielders during the 2013 season, and then he returned to the big leagues as Houston Astros third base coach in 2014. That lasted one season, as the Astros manager and staff were flushed out, and now Listach will be managing in Tacoma.

That’s a lot of stops over a short period in the big leagues, but a theme can be seen: Listach has been a coach for three poor teams that had no chance of winning right away, and twice when changes were made he was one of the guys looking for a new job. That’s the way it goes on the big league coaching carousel.

The revolving door of managers and coaches is exactly how Listach got his first managerial opportunity: he was serving as the Iowa Cubs hitting coach in 2002 and had never managed before. The Chicago Cubs made a mid-season move, firing manager Don Baylor and promoting Iowa manager Bruce Kimm to big league skipper. They asked Listach to stay with Iowa and manage the rest of the season – and he went 27-28 the rest of the way, decided he liked it, and a few years later was managing at the Double-A level in the Cubs system.

Listach is only 47 years old, and he still has a chance to be a major league manager. Being in charge for another season – even if it is at the Triple-A level – can get him back on that path.

The remainder of the 2015 Rainiers coaching staff will be announced soon – but as a preview, I’m not expecting any changes. In the meantime, let’s welcome Pat Listach to the Tacoma Rainiers family!

Links:

  • We’ll start with the The News Tribune’s story on the Pat Listach hire. Included is a list of all Tacoma managers since the city fielded a PCL team in 1960.
  • Listach was a finalist for the Texas Rangers third base coach job, but when that didn’t work out he accepted the Mariners offer.
  • Like all Tacoma managers, Listach will also coach third base. This 2009 story from the Washington Post details his strategy.
  • Listach has a reputation as a terrific coach of infielders. When Listach was let go by the Chicago Cubs, second baseman Darwin Barney gave Listach a lot of credit for his record-setting errorless streak.
  • As a player, Listach is most known for winning the 1992 American League Rookie of the Year award. As detailed in this story, he was given an unexpected opportunity due to an injury, and he took advantage of it. The story includes some personal details on Listach.
  • Thursday is a big day in the off-season maneuverings of MLB teams: it’s the deadline to set the 40-man roster prior to the Rule 5 Draft. Bob Dutton has a look at the Mariners players who may need to be protected.
  • Ryan Divish thinks that Braves outfielder Justin Upton may be available via trade, and he notes that the Mariners could be in play this time around.
  • Sad news: a historic stadium in the Dominican Republic was destroyed by fire. This is the home of Aguilas Cibaenas – currently Mariners Minor League Co-Player of the Year Jordy Lara is playing for this team.
  • Here’s an interesting story on the struggles top prospects are facing when they make the jump from Triple-A to the major leagues. The takeaway: video scouting seems to favor the pitchers when a hitter first reaches the majors.
  • They are putting together the broadcast team for the 2015 Chamber’s Bay US Open. I guess this thing really is going to happen, eh?

Our next blog update will come on Friday.


Welcome New Rainiers Manager Roy Howell

March 12, 2014

The Seattle Mariners decided on Roy Howell to manage the Tacoma Rainiers this season.

In case you are just tuning in, original manager Rich Donnelly was promoted to major league third base coach after John Stearns had to step down due to hernia surgery.

Howell was brought into the organization as a hitting coach, spending the last two seasons with Advanced-A High Desert. He was supposed to do the same job at Double-A Jackson this year, but he ended up getting a rather nice promotion in the shuffle.

Howell played in the major leagues from 1974 to 1984, with the Toronto Blue Jays, Milwaukee Brewers, and Texas Rangers. He played on the 1982 Brewers World Series team along with former Rainiers pitching coaches Jim Slaton and Dwight Bernard. He was an all-star in 1978, and to this day he holds the Blue Jays record for most RBI in one game (nine, September 10, 1977 at the Yankees).

Howell has limited managing experience – three years for short-season Eugene, although he did manage in the independent Atlantic League in 2011 and that league has a few Triple-A calibre players in it. He also has PCL experience from his days as the Portland Beavers hitting coach from 2000 to 2002.

Howell played in the PCL at the end of his career, in 1985 with the Portland Beavers.

I’ll get a chance to talk to Howell when I go to spring training later this month. Furthermore, I assume we’ll have some newspaper stories to link to on Howell for Friday’s blog update.

The Mariners made their second round of spring training moves yesterday, and quite a few players were optioned to Tacoma.

Optioned to AAA TACOMA (5):

Left-handed Pitcher (1):    Bobby LaFromboise

Right-handed Pitcher (1):  Logan Bawcom

Catcher (1):                      Jesus Sucre

Infielder (2):                      Ji-Man Choi, Carlos Triunfel

Re-Assigned to Minor League Camp (6):

Right-handed Pitcher (2):  Logan Kensing, Matt Palmer

Left-handed Pitcher (1):    Nick Hill

Catcher (1):                      Mike Dowd

Infielder (2):                      Ty Kelly, Nate Tenbrink

A couple of things strike me here: first off, Bawcom and LaFromboise did not get very long looks to make the Mariners bullpen. Perhaps their relief crew is a bit stronger than expected.

The other interesting thing is the wording that Ji-Man Choi was optioned to Tacoma. When I covered the Tacoma first basemen a few weeks ago, I wrote that he could end up starting the season in Double-A because Tacoma is expected to have Jesus Montero and Rich Poythress as the 1B/DH. That could still happen – the “to Tacoma” part of “optioned to Tacoma” is not binding – but for now it looks like Choi will be on his way to Cheney Stadium on April 3.

All of the players “assigned to minor league camp” have a Triple-A profile except for catcher Mike Dowd. He’ll probably go to Jackson.

Links:

That’s it for me today – I’m off to the MGM Arena for the late games on the opening day of the Pac-12 Tournament. Related: I bet I’m the only person in a Las Vegas hotel room who spent his morning googling Roy Howell.

We’ll be back with a full blog post on Friday, and remember that the Rainiers open house is Saturday so plan accordingly!


Looking For A Leader

March 7, 2014

A Recent History of Tacoma Managers

2010: Daren Brown manages the first-place Rainiers until August 7, when he is named Mariners interim manager after Don Wakamatsu is fired. Hitting coach Jose Castro manages the Rainiers for the remainder of the season, and into the playoffs.

2011: Daren Brown manages the Rainiers all season.

2012: Daren Brown returns and manages the Rainiers all season.

2013: Daren Brown manages the Rainiers for one month, then is promoted to Seattle to be the third base coach. John Stearns takes over the Rainiers and finishes the season.

2014: Rich Donnelly is brought in from outside the organization to manage in Tacoma. The longtime MLB third coach gets promoted to Seattle on March 7, after M’s third base coach John Stearns steps down due to health-related issues.

Here we go again. The Rainiers don’t have a manager, and opening day (April 3) is fast approaching.

Stearns had surgery for a hiatal hernia. He’s going to be out of action well into April, it seems. He stepped down today, saying (according to a Mariners press release) “It is not fair to the organization, to Lloyd (McClendon) or to the players for me to expect to jump back in after not being able to participate in the bulk of spring training. Instead, I have asked Jack (Zduriencik) to re-assign me within the organization, and he has agreed to do so.”

Stearns will work as a pro scout this season – something he has done before. This means we might see him at Cheney Stadium at some point this season, which would be fun.

So now we once again need a manager in Tacoma.

Who are the in-house candidates for the Rainiers manager job?

Brown is still around and we would love to have him back, but his status in the organization is a bit cloudy after Jack Z broke up Eric Wedge‘s staff last Fall.

Jim Pankovits managed Double-A Jackson for three years, and now he is the roving minor league infield instructor. The story I heard (second- or third-hand) is that Pankovits wanted and requested the roving job – so switching back to a manager role might not be what he had in mind. That being said, he has the experience to do the job.

Jack Howell oversees all of the Mariners minor league managers and coaches. He might just say, “what the heck, I’ll do it.” He’s done some managing in the low minors.

Scott Steinmann served as Rainiers bench coach last year after Stearns came in. He’s currently slotted to be with short-season Everett as hitting coach (Steinmann enjoys working with the younger players). His experience last year might cause him to be reassigned to manage Tacoma.

Former Rainiers catcher Jim Horner managed in High Desert last year, got promoted and is currently set for his first season of managing at Double-A Jackson. They could bump him up to Triple-A – but this would cause an organization-wide chain reaction that might be more trouble than it’s worth.

Roy Howell (no relation to Jack Howell) is the new Double-A hitting coach. He has managed in the lower minors in the Padres system, and he has three years of PCL experience as the hitting coach for Portland from 2000 to 2002. He managed in the Atlantic League two years ago. I have no idea if he’s interested in managing again.

These seem like the most likely candidates to me. It’s probably too late to go outside of the organization. Baseball people commit to a job once spring training starts; the off-season is when managers/coaches shuffle between organizations.

However, the independent leagues could be raided. Maybe it’s time for a blast from the past… Dan Rohn was just named manager of the Traverse City Beach Bums, who are an independent team in his home town. Has enough time passed to bring back Rohnie?

Thank goodness they made the move before the season starts. Whoever the new Tacoma manager is – sources from Arizona say we should find out within a few days – at least he will have the last few weeks of spring training to work with the team.

Here’s an idea that we should actually employ: let the fans manage.

Believe it or not, this has been done before. In the Major Leagues.

Maverick owner Bill Veeck once had a “Grandstand Manager Night” when he owned the St. Louis Browns. He gave fans sitting around the dugout signs to voice their opinion, and let them vote on key decisions. Meanwhile, actual Browns manager Zach Taylor sat in a rocking chair next to the dugout, smoking a pipe.

This really happened in 1951. And the Browns won, too. Fans all-time managerial record, in Major League Baseball history: 1-0.

We can do this.

We can do this.

Should the Rainiers managers be in the bleachers, or down in the Dugout Club?

I can just picture the new Dugout Club sales brochure: “The Dugout Club puts you closer to the action than ever before. You are intensely involved in the on-field action – in fact, each Dugout Club ticket now includes the right to vote on the starting lineup and key strategic decisions during the game. The Dugout Club puts you in the manager’s chair. Each Dugout Club ticket includes unlimited hot dogs, soda, beer, wine, and peanuts.”

The pressure is on you - the fans.

Fans: the pressure is on you.

Here’s more on The Day The Fans Managed. It’s an amazing story – give it a read.

Let the fans manage the Rainiers in 2014!

Needless to say, our final positional preview (the Tacoma bullpen candidates) has once again been postponed. Monday! I really, really, really mean it this time! Unless, um, they name the Tacoma manager that day.

Links:

  • Ryan Divish has a story on the Rainiers manager situation.
  • Those of you who watched a lot of Rainiers games last year are just like me: not surprised at all that it looks like Abraham Almonte will make the Mariners. I’d wager he ends up starting a lot of games, too.
  • The Mariners don’t need Kendrys Morales, John McGrath writes.
  • Lookout Landing has a thorough look at James Jones, who is likely to take Almonte’s spot in the Tacoma outfield.
  • James Paxton is a survivor, Jerry Brewer writes.
  • Meanwhile, after a week of rest Taijuan Walker played catch yesterday. So far, so good.
  • Bob Dutton ran through the Mariners bullpen options.
  • Dutton also talked to new closer Fernando Rodney about his crooked cap.
  • Baseball America’s Matt Eddy reminds us that three potential Rainiers in spring training camp have special contract provisions.
  • If you’re an ESPN Insider, here is Buster Olney’s take on Ken Griffey Jr.
  • Dr. Frank Jobe changed baseball forever. He passed away at age 88 – here is his New York Times obituary.
  • Exhibition round-up: Rodney made his Mariners debut, and Brad Miller turned in a web gem during Thursday’s 7-4 win over the White Sox… defensive problems cost the Mariners in an 8-5 loss to Cleveland on Wednesday. Almonte hit a leadoff homer.
  • We’ve got some PCL news today. The Omaha Storm Chasers will host the 2015 Triple-A All-Star Game. I know many of you want it in Tacoma (and so do I) – the Rainiers did not bid for the 2015 game, due to the Chambers Bay US Open happening at roughly the same time. Patience…
  • The Salt Lake Bees have a new name for their stadium: Smith’s Ballpark. Smith’s is a large grocery chain in Salt Lake City. So long, Spring Mobile Ballpark. This is the third name for the ballpark in my time in the PCL – whatever the name is, it’s one of the finest facilities in the league.
  • Former Tucson General Manager Mike Feder was hired by the Arizona Diamondbacks in a promotional capacity.

Weekend reading idea: baseball strategy books. We might need YOU.


New Skipper For Rainiers

January 15, 2014

The Seattle Mariners announced their minor league coaching staffs today, including a new one for the Tacoma Rainiers.

Rich Donnelly will be the 29th manager in Tacoma baseball history, replacing John Stearns who became the Mariners third base coach. Donnelly will be joined by pitching coach Jaime Navarro and new hitting coach Cory Snyder.

Rich Donnelly is the definition of a baseball man. He’s 67 years old, and has been working in the game since he was signed as a minor league catcher by the Minnesota Twins in 1967. He managed in the minors in the 1970s before embarking on a long career – we’re talking decades here – as a major league coach. Much of that time was spent as Jim Leyland‘s third base coach, a role he held with three different teams (the Pirates, Marlins, and Rockies).

The past three seasons, Donnelly has managed the New York Mets short-season Class-A team in the New York-Penn League, the Brooklyn Cyclones. However, he has plenty of Triple-A managing experience – but it was quite some time ago: Donnelly managed the Sacramento Solons in 1976, and the Tucson Toros for three years from 1977 to 1979. So, he’s been to Cheney Stadium before – but I’m guessing it’s been decades since he set foot in our ballpark.

Donnelly is from Steubenville, Ohio and attended Xavier University. I look forward to meeting Rich in spring training. I’ve been told by media members who have dealt with him in the major leagues that he is – in the parlance of the business – a great quote.

One other thing about Donnelly: apparently he is some sort of world-class racquetball player – check out the links down below.

Jaime Navarro you probably already know. The longtime major league pitcher served as the Rainiers pitching coach in 2010, when Tacoma won the PCL title. Navarro received a lot of credit that season for the progress that Michael Pineda made under his watch. Navarro has spent the last three years as the Mariners bullpen coach. We welcome Jaime back to Tacoma – he is part of the Tacoma family in a literal sense: his father Julio pitched for the Tacoma Giants from 1960 to 1962.

Former major league slugger Cory Snyder gets the promotion to Triple-A and will serve as the Rainiers hitting coach. He held the same role for the Mariners Double-A Jackson affiliate the last three years – that will be an advantage, as he’ll be accustomed to working with hitters that move up in the organization.

Snyder hit 149 major league home runs for five different teams, with a career-high of 33 for the Cleveland Indians in 1987. His best overall season was 1988, when he hit .272 with 26 homers and 75 RBI.

Snyder played in just eight PCL games, at the end of his career in 1995 with Las Vegas. Thus, it seems unlikely that he has been to Cheney Stadium before.

Snyder was a three-time All-American at Brigham Young University and he played for Team USA as a collegian – anyone else remember this card?

Rounding things out on the medical side, we have returning trainers Tom Newberg and B.J. Downie, along with a new performance coach in Gabe Bourland.

That’s our crew for 2014. Hopefully they will lead this team to a boatload of victories!

I have received many messages this off-season inquiring about the fate of former Rainiers manager Daren Brown.

Brown started the last seven years as Tacoma’s manager and is the winningest skipper in franchise history (by far). Two of the last four years he was promoted mid-season to serve as Mariners manager (2010) and third base coach (2013).

When he was asked to fill-in in Seattle last May, Brown was promised a job for 2014. Jack Z made good on that promise, creating a new position called “Bunting and Baserunning Coordinator.” Brown will travel through the Mariners minor league system, teaching the finer points of bunting and baserunning.

Hopefully Brown will come see us in Tacoma, but he lives in Amarillo, Texas – and that is close to Rainiers road stops in El Paso and Albuquerque.

Daren is a good friend, and his new job enabled me to send one of my better gag gifts to the former pitcher: this well-worn 1970s instructional book I found on Amazon:

buntingandbaserunning

Links:

  • We’ll start with the link to the Rainiers media release on the new coaching staff.
  • Here is a story on the Rich Donnelly‘s prowess on the racquetball court. The story is from last August and it has a strange error early on, saying he first picked up a racquet while managing the Tacoma Rainiers – that’s not true at all, but… foreshadowing? I suspect the writer got Tacoma confused with Tucson.
  • Donnelly’s minor league managerial record, along with a brief write-up, can be found here.
  • Wanna see something amazing? Check out Cory Snyder‘s college stats at BYU.
  • Ryan Divish posted the entire Mariners minor league coaching staffs, including the roving instructors. Some ex-Rainiers were promoted: Jim Horner will manage Double-A Jackson, Eddie Menchaca (manager) and Andrew Lorraine (pitching coach) move up to High Desert, and Mike Kinkade will be hitting coach in Clinton.
  • Jeff Sullivan writes that Mike Zunino and John Buck serve as bookends on a timeline.
  • If you haven’t seen the video of the Australian League player going all Rodney McCray on the right field fence, you better check it out now.

OK, we have a coaching staff. Time to really start looking forward to the 2014 season.


Mariners Have A Manager, What About Rainiers?

November 6, 2013

Yesterday the Seattle Mariners named Lloyd McClendon the 16th “fulltime” manager in franchise history. McClendon has previous managing experience with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and most recently he was Jim Leyland‘s hitting coach in Detroit.

I don’t really have an opinion on McClendon’s hiring. The Mariners struggles in recent seasons have had nothing to do with the manager, and everything to do with the talent on the field – which the manager does not control.

There is lots of stuff to read about McClendon in the links down below.

Now that the Mariners have filled the top spot, they have work to do in the minors. The Rainiers don’t currently have a manager – let’s take some guesses, and handicap the field.

Tacoma Manager Candidates

Jim Pankovits – the manager of the Mariners Double-A Jackson affiliate has been there for three years, and he’s in line for a promotion. Odds: 3 to 1.

Daren Brown – the man who has started the past seven seasons as Tacoma manager keeps getting promoted mid-season. I was hoping he would get the Mariners manager job, and now I’m hoping he gets a spot on the major league coaching staff. However, if that doesn’t happen he could be right back in his office at 2502 S. Tyler. Odds: 9 to 2.

The Field - this is everybody not listed, or alternately “some former Mets or Brewers employee who Jack Zduriencik trusts.” This is one of the most important parts of the Triple-A manager’s job: Jack Z has to trust the opinion of the skipper, when it comes to determining if a player is ready to get called up. Brown told me when he was Tacoma manager he talked to Jack Z almost every day – and when he was major league third base coach, he hardly ever talked to him. Don’t be surprised if the next Rainiers manager comes from outside the organization. Odds: 5 to 1.

John Stearns – the Rainiers “interim” manager after Brown was promoted last year, Stearns told me after the season he was going back to his previous duty as roving catching instructor. However, he could be asked to manage Tacoma again. Odds: 8 to 1.

Chris Woodward – the former Rainiers infielder retired after the 2012 season, and served last year as the minor league infield coach. Woody wants to manage and I think he’ll get the opportunity. However, he’ll probably have to start out in the low minors – although he has a ton of PCL experience and should be able to handle the players here. Odds: 12 to 1.

Scott Steinmann – served as Stearns bench coach after the mid-season shake-up last year. Steinmann has filled just about every role in the Mariners minor league system, but last season was his first in the upper levels of the organization. Odds: 15 to 1.

Jack Howell – currently the Mariners field coordinator, Howell oversees much of the Mariners minor league program. He’s a longshot simply because I’m not sure if he wants to manage – but we’ll list him, because he’s in the picture. Odds: 100 to 1.

Brian Sweeney – the consummate professional and ultimate Rainier, let’s bring in The PCL Dream as a player-manager! Odds: 2,500 to 1.

Roger Hansen – a former PCL player and longtime minor league instructor, the crusty Hansen has been working as a special assignment scout in the Mariners office. He could be asked to manage in Tacoma, which woild be quite a surprise. Odds: 1,000,000 to 1.

We should start to get a good idea which way this is going to go once McClendon’s coaching staff is announced.

The first Mariners Top Prospects list came out today, courtesy of Baseball Prospectus. They are a subscription-based site and their list has a ton of information about the players, and a farm system overview.

If you are a subscriber, you can read it all right here.

Here is their Top-10:

  1. RHP Taijuan Walker
  2. 1B D.J. Peterson
  3. LHP James Paxton
  4. RHP Victor Sanchez
  5. RHP Edwin Diaz
  6. LHP Luiz Gohara
  7. SS Chris Taylor
  8. LHP Tyler Pike
  9. Tyler Marlette
  10. OF Gabriel Guerrero

It’s a big change from last year’s list, due to the graduation of upper-level prospects. Seven of the ten players could begin the 2014 season in Class-A. Only three have a chance of appearing in Tacoma next season: Walker, Paxton, and Taylor. Hopefully Walker and Paxton are in the big leagues instead – we’ll almost certainly see Chris Taylor in Tacoma.

The official list of minor league free agents was published by Baseball America, and several 2013 Rainiers players are currently on the open market.

They are: pitchers Brian Sweeney and Jonathan Arias, catcher Jason Jaramillo, infielder Leury Bonilla, and outfielders Joe Dunigan and Denny Almonte.

Links:

That’s it for this week – the next blog update will be on Tuesday.

* I disagree with their rankings – Green Chone Figgins is ranked way too low; that’s easily a Top-5 shirsey.


Manager News

October 15, 2013

How’s that for a misleading title? You thought I was going to tell you how the Mariners manager search is going, or who Tacoma’s manager will be next year, didn’t you?

Nope. I have no clue.

But we do have some manager news in the PCL.

First and foremost, the only manager in the history of the Reno Aces is moving on. The Miami Marlins hired Brett Butler to be their third base coach next year.

Butler was the Reno manager from their first season (2009) up through this year. He even has a bar at the stadium named after him, called “Bugsy’s.” I suppose it could be named after Bugsy Siegel, but I prefer to believe it is named after brett “Bugsy” Butler.

I enjoyed interviewing Bugsy a couple of times each season for the pregame show, he was always available and very forthright. Best of luck to him in Miami.

Also on the manager front, former Seattle Mariners outfielder Darnell Coles was named manager of the Nashville Sounds late last week.

Coles was the Mariners first round draft pick in 1980, and he reached Seattle in 1983. He was an up-and-down guy for three years with the Mariners before blossoming after (stop me if you’ve heard this before) being traded to Detroit.

He was a starter for a couple of years in the majors, but was able to hang around for a long time as a fourth outfielder.

Cole had been working as a hitting coach in the minors, but two years ago he got the Brewers Double-A manager job, and they just promoted him to Triple-A for 2014.

I look forward to interviewing Coles when we play Nashville this year. Gotta ask him what it was like being traded for Rich Monteleone.

Links:

  • Brett Butler talked to the Reno newspaper about his decision to go to Miami.
  • The Nashville Tenneseean has a few notes on Darnell Coles.
  • Baseball America has its Top 20 Prospects from the PCL now online. The list is free (at the bottom-right of this link), but the good stuff is in the scouting reports which require a subscription.
  • Today is the 25h anniversary of Kirk Gibson‘s limp around the bases. If you have some time to kill, enjoy this oral history from ESPN.

Mariners Season Ends, Manager Search Begins

September 30, 2013

The Mariners lost the final game of the season on Sunday afternoon, finishing with a record of 71-91. It was the last game of the three-year tenure of manager Eric Wedge.

Wedge walked away from the job saying that he did not agree with Mariners upper management on their plans moving forward. This was a surprise, after GM Jack Zduriencik had stated that he and Wedge were in agreement on everything baseball-related.

Wedge quitting isn’t an unusual move in the normal working world: he didn’t like the direction his job was going, so he quit. But for a Major League Baseball manager? That’s really unusual.

The Mariners didn’t emerge from this situation looking very good. They may have trouble drawing interest from experienced managerial candidates, so we could be looking at a rookie manager next year.

Personally, I’m hoping Daren Brown is a candidate. I’d like to see him get another shot – a full season, this time.

Three other names I’ve seen thrown out there by respected baseball writers on Twitter: ex-Mariners infielder Joey Cora, former pitching coach Bryan Price, and A’s third base coach Chip Hale. You may remember Hale: he managed Tucson to the PCL Championship in 2006.

Yesterday was supposed to be the last day of the MLB regular season, but no! Texas and Tampa finished in a tie for the final wild card spot in the American League, so they will play a rare Game 163 tonight to break the tie and see who advances to the playoffs.

Tonight’s game is at 5:00 (Pacific, televised on TBS) and the winner will fly to Cleveland and face the Indians in the do-or-die AL Wild Card Game on Wednesday.

In the NL Wild Card Game, it will be Cincinnati at Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

So, we have three days of win-or-go-home baseball. This will be fun to watch.

Links:

  • We’ll start with Ryan Divish’s season wrap-up.
  • Geoff Baker’s news story for the Seattle Times has all of the surprising quotes from Eric Wedge.
  • Larry Stone wrote that the Mariners manager position is something of a joke.
  • Jerry Brewer has a column about the disconnect in the Mariners front office.
  • It’s hard to disagree with Dave Cameron’s assessment of the Mariners season.
  • The Mariners will have the No. 6 pick in the June draft. That’s a protected slot, so they can sign free agents without losing their first round pick.
  • In case you missed it amid all of the Seahawks mania, Marlins pitcher Henderson Alvarez tossed one of baseball’s oddest no-hitters on Sunday. He was standing in the on-deck circle when he finished his no-no.
  • Nashville manager Mike Guerrero has been promoted to major league coach for 2014 by the Milwaukee Brewers.

I’m pulling for the Rays tonight.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 41,095 other followers