Obviously there has been much speculation about the status of Don Wakamatsu's job as the manager of the Seattle Mariners.
GM Jack Zduriencik addressed that speculation, taking numerous questions about Wakamatsu's job status and saying often ... "Don is our manager."
Here's a few of his quotes ...
"Certainly, Don has my support," Zduriencik said. "He is our manager. We are trying to win baseball games with Don running the ship."
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"Don is our manager," Zduriencik said. "He’s running the ball club. He’s here right now. He’s running the ball club. I don’t much more I could say. He is the manager of the Seattle Mariners."
Wakamatsu knows people have questioned his job status and he knows why such speculation exists.
"They have every right," he said. "I came in here last year with some high expectations. We had a good year last year.(This year) we've had some disappointments and injuries, but everything that's come out of my mouth is we want to put a product on the field the fans can respect. We haven't done that. To point the finger or look at me, they have a right to do that. I feel it every day. I don't sleep at night. That means a lot to me.
"The city of Seattle and fans mean a tremendous amount to me, to give something back. We haven’t given anything back. What I have to do and continue from this day forward is look at our club, look at each individual player, dialogue with them about mistakes and areas we can get better in."
Of course, Wakamatsu knows that he will get much of the blame leveled at him for this disaster of a season.
"I've been around the game a long time," he said. "I'm judged on wins and losses and I'll take that. It comes with the territory. I am very, very disappointed and it bothers me tremendously that we haven't been able to give back … we felt a major connect with the fans last year and that's what is in my heart right now. That's what we want to get back to. That's what we set out to do. I'm not going to sit here and dwell on the past. I have to figure out how to make this club better and that's all I'm focused on."
Much of the speculation has centered on Zduriencik and President Chuck Armstrong not publicly backing Wakamatsu and his role and admonishing Chone Figgins after the blowup in the dugout. Zduriencik didn't feel it was necessary because it was handled internally.
"I’m not sure what the definition of backing is," Zduriencik said. "I had my meetings with Don privately, had my meetings with Figgy privately, then I had my meeting with them together and then I had my meeting with the big league staff with everyone in the room, and I think I made it perfectly clear – behind closed doors – what the expectations were and who was in charge. So at that moment, I felt that to was important that we keep the internal things internal."
And Zduriencik believes that enough was said in those meetings.
"What I said to the staff and to the players, I think they got the message," Zduriencik said. "Don is the manager and Don is in charge of this ball club. And that point, I believe I got it across. But to bring it out and air it out exactly how it went down, I didn’t think it was the proper thing at that time. That was my judgment call."
Zduriencik wouldn't guarantee that Wakamatsu would be back for 2011, saying that everyone is being evaluated for next season. But listening to Zduriencik talk, he did give off the sentiment that he's not blaming Wakamatsu for this disaster. Now whether Armstrong or Howard Lincoln have similar feelings is completely different.