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Don Wakamatsu “floated” as possibility for Red Sox manager

Oct 1, 2011, 8:48 AM EDT

Blue Jays interim manager Don Wakamatsu at home plate during lineup exchange before their game against the Orioles in Baltimore

We’re going to hear all sorts of rampant speculation about potential candidates for the Red Sox manager vacancy over the next few days, so don’t take this too seriously, but Mike Salk of 710 ESPN Seattle hears that current Blue Jays bench coach and former Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu has been “floated” as a possibility for the job in Boston.

Wakamatsu led the Mariners to a 127-147 record before being fired last August. He was highly praised during his first season in 2009, in which the Mariners won 85 games, but the team underperformed during his second year and the clubhouse turned on him, mostly related to the messy Ken Griffey Jr. situation. The Red Sox reportedly had some issues in their clubhouse down the stretch, so Wakamatsu’s history could work against him there.

Keep in mind that this is all speculation, but Buster Olney of ESPN.com named Giants manager Bruce Bochy, Mariners manager Eric Wedge, Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin and Bobby Valentine as possibilities this morning. In fact, Olney hears that Valentine “has support in at least one important corner of the Boston front office.” It’s still very early in the process and this dynamic could change if Theo Epstein bolts for the Cubs’ GM job, but if I had to peg an early favorite, it would have to be Valentine.

  1. Charles Gates - Oct 1, 2011 at 9:08 AM

    I don’t know if Wakamatsu is being seriously considered, but he’s definitely in the conversation.

    • D.J. Short - Oct 1, 2011 at 9:13 AM

      Well said.

      • Old Gator - Oct 1, 2011 at 2:32 PM

        By being “floated,” is that like Ye Olde Newe Englande practice of throwing a managerial candidate into the water, and if they float, they’re not going to control the clubhouse, but if they drown, they’re the one for the job?

  2. bigleagues - Oct 1, 2011 at 9:17 AM

    The Muddy Chicken offered this post-mortem on Francona:

    “It’s hard, man, with the way we played this year, but by no means is it Tito’s fault,” Pedroia told ESPN.com. “We get paid a lot of money and the biggest thing that I am upset with, and I think a lot of guys are upset with, is the accountability of each other. It’s not the manager’s fault. We need to hold ourselves more accountable as a team, as players. There are a lot of things that went on that was disrespectful and we played like it.”

    That will narrow down the field rather quickly. One thing I do know is that whoever the next manager is will have to come from outside the organization. Someone who will come in without established clubhouse relationships and view everything dispassionately.

  3. proudlycanadian - Oct 1, 2011 at 9:59 AM

    I would rule out anyone mentioned by Olney. Furthermore, I would bet that all of them have contracts with their current team. Wakamatsu was also the catching coach with the Jays and did a great job working with Arencibia. If another team hired him as manager, it would give Sal Fasano a chance to become a coach for the Jay’s He managed a great Double A team for the Jay’s last year.

    • proudlycanadian - Oct 1, 2011 at 10:03 AM

      Edit function — I should have written “most” rather than “all”. I have little respect for Olney and his reporting.

    • Glenn - Oct 1, 2011 at 10:06 AM

      A contract with the current team would most likely be irrelevant if a coach were being offered a manager’s job.

  4. Old Gator - Oct 1, 2011 at 10:06 AM

    If Valentine lands this job – he’s a rim New Englander, if you consider New Haven part of New England (there is some speculation that it, and Yale, broke loose from New Jersey and then got shoved against the coastline by continental waft) – he’s going to have to thank the baseball gods that he got boned by Scrooge McLoria and the Chihuahua. Aside from that unfortunate collision with the outfield wall way back when, they’ve been smiling down on him for most of his career.

    • Old Gator - Oct 1, 2011 at 10:12 AM

      Oh yeah, and speaking of the baseball gods, I’ve been re-reading my Joseph Campbell lately (my old dogeared, canarymarked, profusely underlined and sedimentarily Scotchtaped™ copies of The Masks of God in particular). The chapter on the baseball gods in the never-completed fifth volume, Capitalist Mythology (which may be a Borgesian hron since I’ve never seen another one anywhere else) is providing the details. I’ll relate some of the great myths contained in this priceless book during the orfseason, or as playoff peccadilloes require.

      Stay tuned.

    • raysfan1 - Oct 1, 2011 at 11:34 AM

      Certainly there’s a large group of Crimson-clad folk on the north side of the Charles that would argue that New Haven and Yale are NOT part of New England!

  5. Glenn - Oct 1, 2011 at 10:08 AM

    If you need someone to straighten out a clubhouse of prima donnas, I’m guessing Wakamatsu might not be your man.

  6. mojosmagic - Oct 1, 2011 at 10:09 AM

    Could go the old FA*RT route with Davy Johnson or Bobby Cox.

    • natstowngreg - Oct 1, 2011 at 6:54 PM

      Davey hasn’t been officially hired to manage the Nats in 2012, but that seems to be the way Rizzo is thinking. Just wonder if Rizzo is rethinking with Francona out there.

  7. raysfan1 - Oct 1, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    No matter. The best available manager is Tito Francona, so whoever the RS hire, it will be a downgrade.

    • cur68 - Oct 1, 2011 at 12:07 PM

      I agree, rays’. Wakamatsu seems like a nice man, but I don’t think that job calls for “nice”. Tony LaRussa might be a possibility, if he could be lured away from Phat Al, but he doesn’t exactly peacefully co-exist with the media, now does he? DM is more a Francona type; seems like a pleasant man doing a largely unpleasant job. They need a bastard there (not that TLR is exactly such; but he can be one if he he has to be). A guy who’ll swing a big stick. Maybe Pinella?

  8. jhorton83 - Oct 1, 2011 at 12:44 PM

    Well, of course. Wakamatsu did such a great job of managing that Mariners clubhouse, so this would be an obvious choice to reign in the Red Sox players.

    And yes, that was sarcasm.

  9. sooogone - Oct 1, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    I think Joe Torre’s a lock. What better way to stick it to the Yankees one more time for offering him that ridiculous contract back in the day? And his best asset is handling the media, which is essential in Red Sox Nation.

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