From Larry LaRue – an interview with a pair of the coaches on the staff.
â€œYouâ€™ve got players in that clubhouse who should be team leaders â€“ guys like Richie Sexson, Adrian Beltre, Erik Bedard, even Ichiro â€“ who care only about themselves,â€ one coach said. â€œWhen your best players are hitting 50-60 points below their career averages and wonâ€™t take extra batting practice, what message does that send?
â€œYou had kids at the park six hours before a game to work with (former hitting coach) Jeff Pentland one-on-one in the cage, and you had Beltre, whoâ€™d never do it. Pretty soon, the younger guys werenâ€™t doing it, either.â€
â€œYou had pitchers complaining about having to throw to (catcher) Kenji Johjima all spring, then saw him get a three-year contract extension in April,â€ the coach said. â€œYou had guys watch Felix (Hernandez) work his (butt) off in camp and watched Bedard do the minimum â€“ and Bedard was the opening-day starter.â€
â€œArthur Rhodes started sitting on the bench when players were taking extra hitting, extra infield drills, and shouting, ‘Whereâ€™s Richie? Anyone seen Richie Sexson?â€™ because Sexson was never there,â€ he said.
â€œThen Bedard started setting his own pitch counts, and sitting in the clubhouse during games he didnâ€™t start. Mac tried dealing with that â€“ we all did. How do you make the highest-paid players on your team work harder if they decide theyâ€™re not going to?â€
Honestly, it’s not the substance of the quotes that get me that much – it’s that two people on the coaching staff were willing to say this stuff to a reporter on the record. Apparently they’re tired of being blamed for the failures of the team and are going to make sure the fans know that they’re not exactly happy with the group of guys they were given.
And remember, this was a coaching staff assembled for their experience and leadership – “the best coaching staff we’ve ever had” according to Chuck Armstrong in spring training. As you can see, their leadership is impeccable. Hooray experience…