Mariners Insider Blog

Will changing managers make a difference?

Another day, another member of the Mariners finds themselves now in search of work.

Was it the move, I or others were expecting? No. We all thought that the 6-foot-8 first baseman would be released or designated for assignment today. If you think about the situation, it would have seemed logical – do it today as the team is on a cross country flight and Sexson can take his stuff from Safeco in relative anonymity.

But instead the Mariners chose to fire John McLaren today, and Sexson and his slugging percentage of .360 and .220 batting average got on the plane for Atlanta. I hope he didn't pack to heavy because it should be a short trip. After being booed like Shaun Alexander yesterday, is there anyway the Mariners can allow Sexson to come back to Safeco after this road trip is over with?

The firing of McLaren wasn't really a surprise other than the timing. I really thought it would come mid-road trip or just after. I really figured the bigger issues are keeping Sexson and Vidro on the team, not the man forced to pencil them into the daily lineup.

Was McLaren the greatest tactical manager in baseball? No.

Did he have the most managerial cache? No

But was he the sole problem for the Mariners issue? No.

This team's roster is flawed in terms of its construction, chemistry and overall scope. There is no vision for this team or its future and that cannot be blamed on McLaren.

"All managers are subject to the performance of the players," Pelekoudas said.

Apparently though the players, aren't subject to the performance of the players.

To be fair, McLaren was good man, a humble man and a man who waited a long time to get to this level in baseball. And now it's gone, largely because he put his trust and faith into a bunch of veterans that he lauded and built up all offseason. And they failed him spectacularly.

Perhaps McLaren was far too optimistic. I think boasting that Richie Sexson would win comeback player of the year award is the perfect example. But he believed in his players, or at least he wanted to, and I'm not sure the same could be said for the rest of the people in that clubhouse, including the players themselves.

So now, he's gone and the Mariners move on with Jim Riggleman as the interim manager, Lee Elia moves to bench coach and Jose Castro is the hitting coach with Elia overseeing him.

"John worked extremely hard, but our team continued to underperform compared to our expectations of them," interim general manager Lee Pelekoudas said in a statement. "With 90 games left on our schedule, we owe it to ourselves and our fans to do everything we can to win as many games as possible."

OK, how about beyond those 90 games? If they are willing to do everything, then Sexson must be sent packing along with Vidro, who has an option for next year if he reaches a certain number of plate appearances.

Will Riggleman make this team better? It's doubtful. He isn't a hard-ass like Larry Bowa, and he isn't a players' guy like McLaren. He's a middle of the road guy that's relatively quiet and believes in old school philosophies. But he could be Lou Piniella, Casey Stengal, Joe Torre, Tony LaRussa and Leo Durocher all rolled into one, and I don't think it would matter with this team.

Basically Riggleman is keeping the seat warm for 90 games. The Mariners have to wait to hire a GM first and allow him to make his choice for manager. At least that seems logical, so maybe the Mariners won't do that.

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