It’s Official: Welcome Don Wakamatsu
KING 5 either broke the story or guessed right this morning, depending on your point of view, but Baker et al confirm that there’s a press conference tomorrow to name Don Wakamatsu as the new manager of the Mariners.
As we’ve said hundreds of times here, the field manager matters a lot less in baseball than in most sports. For the most part, they’re all very similar – they basically all do the same things, so the difference from one to another is mostly minor. There are a few guys who definitely have an impact on their clubs one way or another, but the majority of them are all pretty much the same.
However, I still think we should be encouraged by this hiring. Not necessarily because we have any reason to think that Wakamatsu will be one of those few that make a significant positive impact, but because of the way this entire process was handled. I know a lot of you were concerned when Zduriencik was hired that this was just going to be more of the same, with huge amounts of micro-managing from Armstrong and Lincoln, and a perpetuation of old school, 20th century ways of running an organization.
Instead, we’ve seen Zduriencik clean house in the front office, make his #2 guy a man with significant statistical leanings and empower him to create a department of baseball research, and now interviewed seven managerial candidates with no experience and picked the guy whose reputation is for being extremely well prepared in pregame analysis and comes from the A’s organization. In picking Wakamatsu, he bypassed Joey Cora, who was clearly the guy the suits upstairs had a preference for, and went with the man he felt was best equipped to help this team win.
There’s no way to describe the last month as anything but total and utter change of direction. And that, in and of itself, is encouraging.
Welcome to Seattle, Don Wakamatsu. Please win.