Tag:Don Wakamatsu
Posted on: October 15, 2010 8:33 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:03 am

Showalter still deciding on coaches

Because during the middle of the ALCS opener you are consumed with worry over the Orioles' coaching staff, we bring you this update: There's no news.

The Baltimore Sun reports that manager Buck Showalter, hired midseason, on Friday was calling the coaches he inherited and telling them he's still deciding what he wants to do with the staff for next season. (How exactly does that call go? "Uh, hey, it's Buck. Just calling to tell you I don't know whether you still have a job." Awkward.) He had told the coaches at the end of the season that he expected to make decisions within a few days, but the process is taking longer.

The Sun points out that the holdup might be the Blue Jays' massive managerial search. They are apparently interviewing everyone who has ever worked in baseball, and that includes two men who formerly coached with Showalter that he might like to hire: Jays third base coach Brian Butterfield and deposed Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: September 18, 2010 8:59 pm
Edited on: September 18, 2010 9:00 pm

Riggleman likely to stay in Washington

Jim Riggleman With a plethora of managerial openings going into the offseason already assured and some likely on the way, potential new managers figure to dominate the conversation over the next several weeks.

The latest dish has deposed Mariners skipper Don Wakamatsu being considered as a candidate for the Blue Jays and Cubs job, reports ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. He also adds that additional candidates for the Jays job include two-time manager Bob Melvin, who is popping up on quite a few lists, and Nationals coach Pat Listach.

Speaking of the Nationals, manager Jim Riggleman is expected to return as manager, the Washington Post writes . While Riggleman inked a two-year deal after a successful interim manager stint guided Riggleman to the permanent job, the second year of the deal could be bought out for a scant $100,000. In other words, Riggleman essentially inked a one-year deal with very little job security past 2010.

But it appears Riggleman has the job sewn up in a year that saw the Nationals take the next step toward contention despite a 62-85 record entering play Saturday.

"We haven't announced a final call, but we've made a definite decision," GM Mike Rizzo said Saturday. "We haven't made an announcement to him or to the public."

However, when asked if the fact Riggleman remained manager is something that could be "read into," Rizzo answered in the affirmative, having nothing but nice things to say about the skipper.

"The whole circus of [pitching phenom Stephen] Strasburg leading up throughout the season, that was management," Rizzo said. "There was a lot of management that he had to do to get through that. I think he kept everybody at their best while that was going on."

So Riggleman seems to get high marks for player management. How about in-game strategy?

"What we've always liked about, as in-game strategist, he's really good about that," Rizzo added. "He's as good as anybody."

It remains to be seen if Riggleman inks an extension. It is likely he will play out the last season of the deal before Rizzo and the organization decide the future of the on-field team's leader.

 -- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: August 4, 2010 12:12 am

Zduriencik: 'Don's the manager'

Don Wakamatsu General manager Jack Zduriencik finally spoke up about manager Don Wakamatsu.

Wakamatsu has been twisting in the wind ever since a July 23 dugout altercation with second baseman Chone Figgins, who had just been taken out of a game against the Red Sox for dogging it in the field. Jack Z held private meetings with both Wak and Figgins, with Figgins going undisciplined and the manager not being publicly backed.

Now, that's happened. Well, sort of.

"Don is our manager," Zduriencik told media multiple times via the Seattle Times . That was his response when asked if Wakamatsu had the support of the front office, whether he would be evaluated after the season and the perception he left Wakamatsu hanging after the Figgins altercation.

We get it. Don's the manager. We can also read in-between the lines.

Zduriencik also refused to speculate on Wakamatsu's future. In other words, consider him a goner after the season. He said that "everybody is evaluated at all times. As we go forward, you have to realize there is always an evaluation process going on at all times."

For Wak's part, he agreed with Z's take.

"I came in here last year with some high expectations," Wak said . "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'm judged on wins and losses and I'll take that. It comes with the territory."

As for the perceived lack of backing of the skipper, Jack Z had this to say:

I"m not sure what the definition of backing is. What I had, 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 it was important that we keep the internal things internal. During the course of a season, during the course of a career, there are things that happen and sometimes they aren't as pleasant as you would like to be. So for all parties involved there's a lot at stake for a lot of people, whether it's players, coaches, teammates, or the fanbase, for that matter, too. Sometimes you are better off when you gather all your information and you've addressed it as I've made a decision to do...

And in my estimation, the best thing to do at that time was to keep it internal and move and play baseball...What I said to the staff and to the players, I think they got the message. 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. 

There have been consistent reports that there is a serious disconnect between the front office and coaching staff, with Zduriencik basically leaving Wakamatsu out to dry -- and the coaching staff isn't happy about it. It's clear that both sides are struggling to co-exist and are just trying to make it to the offseason.

Both sides deserve a fair amount of blame. Wakamatsu has skippered some very disappointing performances, while Z was content to let Wakamatsu head into the season with Casey Kotchman -- of all people -- in the third spot of the lineup. However, as the season has progressed, it's become clear Zduriencik is content to let Wakamatsu twist in the wind, and that's not very becoming of him.

Zduriencik won't have any shortage of replacements as there will always be those willing to overlook warning signs to be able to skipper a team. Those that have the luxury of choosing, however, like Joe Torre and Bobby Valentine, to name two, might be wise to take a long, hard look at the occurrences of the season.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
Posted on: August 1, 2010 9:29 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:58 am

Zduriencik hanging Wakamatsu out to dry

Jack Zduriencik As the non-waiver trade deadline passed and people talk about winners and losers, I get a little chuckle. It's easy to talk about winners and losers of transactions, but the on-field wins and losses are a little different.

Sure, there are always opinions on moves -- like I still don't see how the Cardinals are better than they were before the deadline deal that sent an above-average hitter to San Diego for a below-average starter -- but those don't really mean much. It doesn't take much hindsight to find an example. Many, myself included, thought the Mariners won the offseason. General manager Jack Zduriencik was lauded for his moves, including getting Cliff Lee and Chone Figgins. For all those laurels, it's earned the Mariners a 39-66 record, better only than the Orioles, Diamondbacks and Pirates.

For everything Zduriencik did right in the offseason, it seems the season has the Mariners taking on water.

We all saw the ugliness in the dugout a little more than a week ago with Figgins charging after manager Don Wakamatsu. Neither Figgins nor Zduriencik have commented on the incident. If you saw the fracas in the Mariners' dugout, it was worse than the Zambrano outburst -- and Zambrano was indefinitely suspended immediately after the outburst. That announcement was made by Cubs general manager Jim Hendry. Zambrano has since apologized individually to players, to his team as a whole and to the nation on ESPN. You can question the sincerity of that apology, but not the fact that it was at least acknowledged as a mistake and something that shouldn't have happened.

In Seattle, Figgins was back in the lineup the next day. Figgins has since given an indication that he -- and others -- are upset with the way Ken Griffey Jr. was "pushed" out of Seattle. Griffey retired after being pushed aside as the everyday designated hitter. Wakamatsu had little choice not to play Griffey because of his lack of production, but it was an impressive piece of passive-aggressive micro-managing by Zduriencik to make Wakamatsu out as the bad guy in the end of the road of Seattle's most important sports hero of all time.

Don Wakamastsu Now, the Seattle Times ' Geoff Baker has the details of another incident of Zduriencik's lack of respect for Wakamatsu. Writes Baker :
Some of you speculated that today when I told you of how the organization decided to ship Justin Smoak to Class AAA less than 24 hours after Wakamatsu had outlined a course for him that involved remaining with the major league club. Wakamatsu said the move was "an organizational decision.''

Some of you mused, rightfully so, about how the organization keeps making Wakamatsu look bad. Whether intentional or not. Look, I understand the front office was busy today in all kinds of trade discussions that didn't bear fruit. Zduriencik doesn't have time to read every blog post about what Wakamatsu said on the Smoak situation yesterday.

But Zduriencik knows exactly what has been said on his non-support of the manager -- at least in public -- since the Figgins argument in the dugout. Travel from city to city, as we have this week to Chicago and now Minneapolis, and the people who work in baseball cannot understand how Wakamatsu is being allowed to twist in the wind like this.
It seems I have as good of a chance of sitting in the Mariners' dugout next season as Wakamatsu, who is signed through the 2011 season.

So it should be no surprised that according to sources in Seattle, the uniformed personnel in Seattle are as fond of Zduriencik as fish are of BP. But those same sources say most of the rest of the employees of the club feel the same way. Zduriencik's offseason showed he has a great sense of how to handle public relations, and for much of this year he's been able to pass the buck for the Mariners' disappointing season. Wakamatsu got the blame in public -- and among the players -- for Griffey's less-than-rousing sendoff, but as time goes on, it's apparent Zduriencik is the puppet master pulling the strings behind the scene and as a result, solely responsible for the Mariners' sinking ship.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 24, 2010 9:17 pm
Edited on: July 24, 2010 9:22 pm

M's hope to 'move on' despite chaos

Don Wakamatsu The increasingly dysfunctional Mariners seem to be taking the "just hope it goes away" approach to an ugly incident that transpired in their dugout Friday night, when second baseman Chone Figgins apparently went after manager Don Wakamatsu after Wakamatsu removed him from the game for a defensive lapse.

"How we've discussed things is between us," general manager Jack Zduriencik told the Seattle Times after meeting with Wakamatsu and Figgins on Saturday. "We've had our talks and that's it. We're moving on and playing baseball."

Apparently there will be no consequences for Figgins, who was in his usual spot in the lineup Saturday and still hasn't spoken with reporters since the incident. That doesn't seem right to one veteran reporter, Larry LaRue of the News Tribune of Tacoma, who wrote this on his blog Friday night: "There almost certainly will be some disciplinary action -- and it would be nice if, for a change, the Seattle front office backed its manager instead of standing quietly on the sideline."

No public support of Wakamatsu was in evidence Saturday, though the manager, who held a brief team meeting in the afternoon, said the right things when he met with reporters.

"No one wants to come out of a ballgame," Wakamatsu said. "No one wants to be put in that situation. Whether it's Chone or anyone else, it's never an easy situation, but it kind of shows you a little bit more about how much we care down here. There's certain situations that need to be handled during the season that aren't public. It happened to be public last night."

The Seattle clubhouse hasn't been a happy place this season. Some players thought Wakamatsu forced Ken Griffey Jr. to retire by reducing his role, which the manager denies. The Mariners were a popular pick to win the American League West this season but have been arguably baseball's most disappointing team.

Figgins was brought to Seattle in large part because of his potential leadership qualities. But he criticized Wakamatsu for dropping him to ninth in the lineup earlier in the season and now has cast a negative spotlight on the team with a public physical altercation with the manager (even if he didn't intend a physical confrontation, it became one as teammates worked to separate them). That's way out of bounds, and the failure of Seattle management to respond doesn't bode well for Wakamatsu.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 24, 2010 1:25 am
Edited on: July 24, 2010 2:06 am

Mariners scuffle in dugout

The drama in Seattle wasn't another Jonathan Papelbon blown save, but a scuffle in the Mariners' dugout after manager Don Wakamatsu pulled Chone Figgins from the game.

"What people have to understand is that everyone in the dugout cares," Wakamatsu said after the game. "Tempers flair there, but what happens there, stays there."

Replays showed Jose Lopez being restrained by Jack Wilson and Ryan Rowland-Smith, while Russell Branyan was held back by several other teammates.

It appeared Branyan was going after Figgins, when Lopez got in the way. At some point, Lopez's jersey was ripped off in the scuffle.

Figgins was lifted after a play in the fifth inning where it appeared he stood on second base and watched an errant throw from left fielder Michael Saunders to go wild, allowing Mike Cameron to go to third. It didn't cost the team a run, as Jason Vargas got out of the jam.

Wakamatsu said he didn't feel Figgins gave enough effort on the play, so he pulled him from the game.

In the bottom of the inning, Figgins was replaced by Josh Wilson. Wilson came up with two on and two outs in the ninth and struck out to end the game.

The incident overshadowed Josh Becekett's return from the disabled list. He went 5 2/3 innings, allowed five hits and a run, walking three and a striking out five.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 16, 2010 11:05 am

Table accident sidelines Branyan

Russell Branyan Yesterday the Padres placed Mat Latos on disabled list with a strained left side after he tried to hold a sneeze in, but that wasn't the only bizarre injury of the day.

Mariners first baseman Russell Branyan missed last night's game and will miss today's game after a table fell on Branyan's left foot Thursday morning in his hotel room, cutting and bruising his toe, manager Don Wakamatsu told the Seattle Times ' Larry Stone .

"He went to close the curtains this morning at 5," Wakamatsu said. "He knocked over the table and it landed on his foot."

Meanwhile, Stone also reports Erik Bedard has had a setback in his return from labrum surgery and went to see the doctor who performed the surgery last August.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
Posted on: June 11, 2010 10:38 pm
Edited on: June 12, 2010 12:53 am

Big doings in Seattle

Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times recaps a busy day in Mariner-land :

• Pitcher Mark Lowe will undergo back surgery that will likely end his season.
Luke French replaces Ian Snell in the rotation.
Chone Figgins is back at the No. 2 spot in the lineup.
• And manager Don Wakamastsu has gotten the dreaded vote of confidence from general manager Zduriencik.

"Don's our manager," Zduriencik told reporters. "Look, he's our manager. Last year, there were so many praises, and so many people were high on the job Don did. Because the club's been in a bad stretch, because the club hasn't played well, certainly Don's disappointed like everyone else. He's our manager right now. We're moving forward. I expect Don to right the ship. I expect Don to take charge of the thing. He's the manager. That's his job. I look forward to watching it. Don hasn't swung a bat this year, Don hasn't fielded a ground ball, and Don hasn't thrown a pitch.

"As we move forward from here on out, I'd like to say this club is going to play better baseball from here on out. That's would certainly be what I'd hope to see. And Don will be the manager watching them do it."

So that means, what, two more weeks of the Wakamatsu reign?

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com