I’m not gonna lie to you, I’m not exactly plugged in on how many open managerial positions will be open at season’s end. I know there’s the Mariners, the Cubs, the Dodgers, the Pirates, and the Mets. Throw in a whole bunch of possibilities (the Diamondbacks, the Astros, the Marlins, the Cardinals, the Brewers, the Indians, NOT the Orioles) and you have yourself quite the smorgasbord of potential landing spots.
Off the top of my head, any bigtime, highly-coveted manager would EASILY prefer the Cubs, Mets, Dodgers, and Cardinals jobs over anything else. Those places have history – both recent and distant – that puts them near the top of MLB lore. And the rest of those teams, let’s face it, have had more success at one point or another than the Mariners ever have.
Now, for whatever reason, the Mariners haven’t had much luck with managers. Lou Piniella aside, it’s been a WHOLE lotta crap. In fact, in the last 10 years, there have been 7 guys who could call themselves the Mariners Skipper (and have probably lived to regret that). We’ve had interim guys who’ve made it and interim guys who’ve been let go at season’s end. We’ve brought in younger coaches with promising potential for managing and we’ve brought in seasoned veterans who’ve been around the barn dance before. Not a one has stuck.
Which makes this whole search a rediculous concept. It’s the talent, stupid! Have quality players on your team, and the manager will look like a genius! Have shitty, overpriced crybabies on your team: guess what? You go through 7 managers in 10 years.
Would I ideally prefer to have stability in this aspect of the organization? Sure, why not. A stable manager will make for more contented players. Which means other players would be more likely to want to sign with us. Which in turn would make our team better.
But is it vital? And at any rate, would we be able to land one of the “good” managers. Which I suppose boils down to guys who don’t actively put Jose Lopez in the 4-hole or Adam Moore in the 5-hole, or Casey Kotchman in ANY hole!
The last guy, a noted “good baseball man”, was dropped because he couldn’t get along with resident aging diva Ken Griffey Jr. The guy before him, interim coach-turned-manager Jim Riggleman, is apparently working enough wonders in Washington D.C. to be given the keys to a down franchise (and doing a damn fine job of keeping that team out of the cellar). The guy before that was pretty much a nostalgia choice, but also a noted “good baseball man” as he was oft-employed under Piniella as his bench coach. And the guy before that was good ol’ Grover, who was driven to retirement in the midst of a contending season.
What does it say about your organization when a guy chooses his La-Z-Boy and a TV remote over being your team’s manager when the team is more or less winning?
I can’t imagine we’ll be getting the cream of the crop when it all shakes out. Of course, that means very little, since we won’t know if we’re getting cream or crap until the team actually goes out and plays.
In football, you can look to the hiring of guys like Bill Parcells, Mike Holmgren, Marty Schottenheimer, and know that your team’s fortunes are about to change. Because those guys are not only proven winners, but proven winners who’ve won with more than one team. It’s easy to be labelled a “winner” when you’ve won a championship with a single team. But to win with one team, then go to a struggling franchise and turn it into a contender as well? Who’s done that in baseball besides Lou Piniella and MAYBE a couple others? It just isn’t done, unless it’s a complete fluke.
Hopefully, the Mariners will be able to catch a fluke in a bottle.