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The rift between the Mariners' coaches and the front office is very real

Jul 27, 2010, 5:03 PM EDT

We’ve heard rumblings this week that there is an increasing riff between the Mariners front office and the coaching staff, including manager Don Wakamatsu.  This came up when Chone Figgins was openly defiant of Wakamatsu in the dugout the other day yet wasn’t disciplined in any way.  Geoff Baker reports today, however, that the problems go all the way back to this past offseason.

Baker reports that the Mariners’ coaching staff begging for more offense, but that in their eyes “the front office did zero to make the offense better.”  Adrian Beltre was allowed to walk without an offer. Figgins came in but, because of other holes, was moved to second base. No one had any confidence in the Milton Bradley or Casey Kotchman trades.  They viewed the Mike
Sweeney signing as a sign of desperation. Baker also writes that “they knew Ken Griffey Jr. was done like an overcooked
Thanksgiving turkey.” A

Finally, and most damningly for front office/dugout relations, Baker writes that Wakamatsu and company were dumbfounded when, after the team got off to such a slow start, Jack Z fired hitting coach Alan Cockrell. It was the roster’s fault, the staff believed. Not Cockrell’s.

It’s striking, isn’t it, that despite all the hype surrounding the Mariners’ offseason moves — and remember back to January-March; there was a ton of hype — those moves not only proved to be poor ones in large part, but have served to create no small amount of in-house friction in Seattle.

Runnin’ a baseball team: it ain’t an easy business.

  1. geoknows - Jul 27, 2010 at 5:22 PM

    I hate to say I told you so, but…I told you so. I never understood why everybody was so hot for the Mariners this year when it seemed clear they were going to have a severe lack of offense.

  2. okobojicat - Jul 27, 2010 at 5:30 PM

    Baker hints at it a couple times, but I wonder how much control Z has had and how much Armstrong has had. I just don’t see Z bringing in Griffey without a lot of people above him telling him he has to.
    The Cliff Lee Trade(s) were great. Not dumping Lopez for a song over the winter was quite stupid. The Silva/Bradley trade was a good move even if it didn’t work out. Kotchman was a good move that didn’t work out. Ian Snell was a huge risk that didn’t work out, but not a bad trade considering what they gave up.
    When you’re making trades for fringe players, there is a lot of risk, and Z got bit by all of his fringe trades, well, that’s life. It sucks. That there is friction should be a no doubter. If you’re not winning, and you came in expecting to win, you should be pissed.

  3. Michael - Jul 27, 2010 at 6:25 PM

    How soon you forget, Craig: that’s classic Geoff Baker. The “true” problem with the team is not how they stink on the field, but a clubhouse “rift.”
    The coaching staff “had no confidence” in the trades? Well, that’s an AWFUL coaching staff. It’s also obviously hindsight. And trying to talk about UZR now after ignoring it for so many years in favor of “intangibles” – does anyone actually take Baker’s writing seriously anymore?
    Yet again, Baker finds the clubhouse crank and uses him for financial gain.

  4. frightwig - Jul 27, 2010 at 6:50 PM

    When I first heard that Griffey was coming back for another season, I was afraid that he’d have to quit like Schmidt–but of course that wasn’t a baseball decision. And before anyone gets too smug about saying “I told ya so” now, let’s be fair and look again at the numbers put up by some players who really should be doing a lot better.
    Nobody could have expected Figgins, Lopez, and Bradley to be sinkholes in the lineup (even if Bradley is a notorious headcase, he usually can hit). I doubt that many foresaw Gutierrez regressing in his age 27 season. Kotchman, in his age 27 season, is hitting below his career levels. Hell, even Ichiro is having on off year. The only guy from the regular April lineup who has really played to his proven ability, much less anyone’s potential, is Sweeney–and of course he would have to get hurt.
    The lineup Jack Z constructed was never going to be great, but it had at least 5 hitters who should have been league-average or better; and if Kotchman had enjoyed an age 27 career year, or if Sweeney could’ve stayed healthy, the lineup might have even been decent. The production shouldn’t have been this bad.

  5. frightwig - Jul 27, 2010 at 6:51 PM

    When I first heard that Griffey was coming back for another season, I was afraid that he’d have to quit like Schmidt–but of course that wasn’t a baseball decision. And before anyone gets too smug about saying “I told ya so” now, let’s be fair and look again at the numbers put up by some players who really should be doing a lot better.
    Nobody could have expected Figgins, Lopez, and Bradley to be sinkholes in the lineup (even if Bradley is a notorious headcase, he usually can hit). I doubt that many foresaw Gutierrez regressing in his age 27 season. Kotchman, in his age 27 season, is hitting below his career levels. Hell, even Ichiro is having on off year. The only guy from the regular April lineup who has really played to his proven ability, much less anyone’s potential, is Sweeney–and of course he would have to get hurt.
    The lineup Jack Z constructed was never going to be great, but it had at least 5 hitters who should have been league-average or better; and if Kotchman had enjoyed an age 27 career year, or if Sweeney could’ve stayed healthy, the lineup might have even been decent. The production shouldn’t have been this bad.

  6. quint - Jul 27, 2010 at 11:13 PM

    I’ll give you figgins, he should be doing better.
    Bradley is a head case and didn’t hit last year, so it wasn’t like that was a sure thing or anything. And Lopez?
    Kotchman is nothing, Griffey and Sweeney were terrible signings.
    Cliff Lee and Figgins were about the only good things the M’s did last season and they didn’t address hitting.
    The coaching staff is 100% right.

  7. BigdogpoppaD - Jul 29, 2010 at 8:59 PM

    The manifestation has finally arrived for all to see who obviously don’t know the Mariners very well and did not see it coming. The GM is a wannabe GM who has no baseball insight, the first base debacle being a perfect example. You let Branyan walk and bring in Kotchman who without a doubt is the best fielding First Baseman in MLB. You know he makes contact but lacks power (10 – 15 dingers a year maybe) and is a .275-.285 hitter who does well in the 7 hole. He makes your infield defense so much better covering his position (unassisted DP the other night that was unbelievable) and scooping bad throws from across the diamond (example look at the throw Lopez made the other night that Smoak could not handle and man on, game over another loss). So panic sets in when he starts to slump (oh by the way the whole team outside of Ichiro can’t hit for their weight in average) and you grab Sweeny? Does anybody beside me know this guy gets hurt all the time and will most likely miss big chunks of playing time? More panic sets in when he does tweek so lets go after Branyan who walked away and now we need to give up players to get him back. You have Cliff Lee and you know he is not staying around with these dysfunctional managers (GM and Wako-matso) so instead of getting a 3rd Baseman or Relief Pitchers to plug the holes the team REALLY HAS and keep the 7th inning leads we have had, lets go get 1st Baseman #4 who is a PROSPECT hitting .200 with 10 homeruns because we really like his UPSIDE. Wow that really made sense. Felix is 7-7 with a 2.86 ERA, are you kidding me? So Figgens can’t play the ball on the over throw on a stand up double, instead protecting the bag so it would not move the other night and he jacks off the manager in the dugout? Wow – I thought it was just the teenagers that got away with that crap! You are 50 games out of first and your 36 MILLION dollar baby who is hitting .230 can’t hustle and then shoots his mouth off and you are afraid to bench him? Please tell me WHY??? Have you got no one else who can hit .230 in his place??? If this were a real business Jack Z and Don Wacko would have been shown the door long ago but baseball is very forgiving, just not sure how much longer the fans will be forgiving.

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