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The Mariners designated John Buck for assignment

Jul 8, 2014, 8:55 AM EDT

John Buck Getty Images

The Mariners won last night but Seattle Times reporter Ryan Divish says the atmosphere in the clubhouse afterward was “similar to a 12-inning loss.” Why? Because, as Divish reports, the M’s designated popular veteran catcher John Buck for assignment.

Buck was hitting .226/.293/.286 with one homer in 84 at-bats this season. This is the sort of production they probably should’ve expected from Buck when they signed him to a one-year, $1 million deal back in January and they’re not likely to receive better production behind the plate from any internal replacements (they are likely to call up Jesus Sucre from Tacoma). But Divish notes that there were “concerns about Buck’s defense and receiving and blocking from the Mariners crew of hard throwers” among M’s brass, so he’s out.

This may bug M’s players and maybe some M’s fans. But, assuming those fears about Buck’s defense are well-founded, it’s the kind of around-the-edges improvements that teams in the playoff hunt make to improve their chances. Maybe Buck is still on the team is they’re a dozen games back of the wild card leaders. But that’s not where the Mariners are these days, and when you’re contending sometimes you gotta make tough choices.

  1. hushbrother - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:31 AM

    I’ve been saying they should have gotten rid of Buck for years! Finally McCarver is gone. Now how about replacing Buck with Al Michaels or Bob Costas or someone, anyone else?

    Oh, wait a minute …

  2. rawdog2013 - Jul 8, 2014 at 9:51 AM

    It’s pretty clear the wrong team left town. Mariners are helpless.

  3. unlost1 - Jul 8, 2014 at 10:32 AM

    making room for montero?

    • seattlej - Jul 8, 2014 at 6:59 PM

      Montero doesn’t catch.

  4. Old Gator - Jul 8, 2014 at 10:44 AM

    We got a long hard look at Black Hole Buck here in Macondo, and I’m always amazed how these guys who simply can’t play baseball anymore manage to keep hanging around – and for a million kazooties? I must say, though, that in the time he was here there really wasn’t anything noticeably wrong with his defense; it was his offensive cluelessness, his “swing hard in case you hit it” batting style, that made him such a liability.

    And does anyone remember what Scrooge McLoria, usually the quintessence of impecuniousness when it comes to salaries, authorized the Feesh to pay him? If you said three years at six million per, you got it. Go figger.

    • tmc602014 - Jul 8, 2014 at 3:34 PM

      Thumbs up for “kazooties”

      • Old Gator - Jul 8, 2014 at 4:41 PM

        I was there. I spent kazooties on Ring Dings and Joyvah jelly rolls.

  5. randomjoeblow - Jul 8, 2014 at 11:42 AM

    Another Allard Baird failure.

  6. dlevalley - Jul 8, 2014 at 11:45 AM

    Nothing wrong with improving around the edges — and if replacing Buck with Sucre (or Kottaras?) is an even incremental improvement, then it’s completely worth it, and a career backup catcher understands that every job is fleeting.

    But this is a classic M’s move: after a good, dominant win, with the team in a great mood, on BUCK’S BIRTHDAY, they release him, a guy the whole team appears to love, with no apparent need to not wait until the next day. So that becomes the story the players are asked about in the postgame interviews, and that’s the front page of the paper this morning (instead of the fact that for the first time in a decade, this team is on a real roll).

    The M’s organization seems to have these stories come out enough (the hullabaloo this offseason with Wedge and releasing Randy Wolf on the eve of the season just the two latest) that it’s pretty clear there’s a lack of coherent communication in the front office.

    • nworca - Jul 8, 2014 at 3:24 PM

      While I agree that the DFA of Buck was strange in its timing, your two other examples of M’s organizational bad stories are, in my opinion, actually examples of the M’s doing things right. Dropping Randy Wolf made room for Chris Young, which no one could argue has been a bad thing for the M’s. And Wedge wanting to be rewarded for years of failure with a multi-year contract leaves me scratching my head wondering what could Eric possibly be thinking.

      • tmc602014 - Jul 8, 2014 at 3:38 PM

        I thought at the time was Wedge wanted to be absolved of the pressure to try to make something out of ill-planned, ill-timed, incoherent front office moves. There is always a caretaker manager while a team rebuilds and Wedge got tired of taking all the crap, knowing he’d be out as soon as the M’s got close.

      • dlevalley - Jul 8, 2014 at 4:59 PM

        There’s a lot more to both those stories. “Wedge leaving” was meant to refer to the Geoff Baker article/Wedge quotes/Tony Blengino quotes about a dysfunctional front office: http://seattletimes.com/html/mariners/2022420240_mariners08xml.html

        The Randy Wolf story was also handled rather poorly: http://blogs.seattletimes.com/mariners/2014/03/25/randy-wolf-opts-out-of-his-contract-after-refusing-to-sign-45-day-clause/

        Neither of those mean the M’s are making bad decisions — you’re right, the Wolf move has worked out fantastically (especially because Jack Z has said they specifically played hardball with Wolf knowing that Young was soon to be available), and the Wedge and Blengino comments have to be taken with a grain or two of ‘former employee’ salt.

        But the organization does have a tendency to let stories like these — moves that are entirely defensible and could be positive all around — turn into awkward situations for the team and the organization. Why couldn’t they have waited until this morning to release Buck and call up Sucre? Then the story last night and this morning would have been about the game, and today’s updates would mostly be about Sucre… With the added professional courtesy of not releasing a guy on his birthday.

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