Taking two of three games from Kansas City wasn't the answer - Seattle Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu and three coaches were fired today, with Tacoma Rainiers manager Daren Brown named interim manager.
Along with Wakamatsu, bench coach Ty Van Burkleo, pitching coach Rick Adair and performance coach Steve Hecht were fired.
“I have concluded that these changes needed to be made now and that they are in the best interest of the Mariners as we move forward,” general manager Jack Zduriencik said. “Don, Ty and Rick are all good baseball men and they have done their very best. But we are where we are. I no longer have confidence that Don, Ty and Rick are the right long-term fit for our organization. New leadership is needed and it is needed now.”
Wakamatsu, 47, was hired by general manager Jack Zduriencik before the 2009 season, when the Mariners were one of the surprise teams in baseball, winning 85 games. This season, Seattle has been in last place since earlty on and won just six games in July, maltching the fewest wins in a month in franchise history. His record with Seattle: 127-147.
The move ended a widening gap between Wakamantsu and his staff and the front office. When the Mariners acquired Justin Smoak and three minor leaguers last month for Cliff Lee, Mark Lowe and cash, coaches said they learned of the trade on television. Adair, who'd coached with the Rangers and knew the two minor league pitchers involved, was never consulted about the deal.
Zduriencik's early issues with the team in 2010 were that players were under achieving - especially new acquisitions like Chone Figgins, Casey Kotchman and Milton Bradley - and in May, batting coach Alan Cockrell was fired. Figgins has begun to hit, although his numbers are still well below career averages, but Kotchman and Bradley has essentially been non-factors in the Seattle offense.
The pitching, the strength of the 2009 team, remained strong this season - especially a rotation built around Felix Hernandez and Lee. But pitching well wasn't enough when the Mariners offense simply couldn't put up enough runs to win. The Seattle defense wasn't as tight this year as last, nor was the Mariners bullpen - and base running gaffes by veteran players last month cost Seattle runs and games.
Brown, 43, will take over the Mariners after 10 years in the organization, the last four spent managing the Rainiers. A former minor league pitcher who won 90 pro games, this will be Brown's first shot in the majors.