Catching Up on Some News
Busy couple of days in Mariners-land, at least in terms of things related to the club. Let’s do a quick recap.
1. Chuck Armstrong is retiring as team president. I know a lot of people like to blame Armstrong (and Howard Lincoln) for the team’s failures, so for a portion of the fan base, this is going to be seen as great news. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, I don’t think there’s any way to know from this distance. I’ve never personally bought into the idea that the Mariners were more interested in profit than winning, or that they were simply a PR marketing firm masquerading as a baseball team, and I don’t have any real animosity towards the Mariners ownership or executives. I wish Mr. Armstrong the best in his retirement.
In terms of what it might mean for the Mariners future, I think the most significant factor is that Armstrong’s replacement will likely have a significant impact on whoever the next GM is, whenever there’s a next GM. Regardless of how optimistic you are about the 2014 Mariners, the reality is that the tenure of a Major League GM is rarely more than 10 years, and Jack Zduriencik is coming up on year six. There’s a pretty high chance that there will be a new GM hired at some point in the next few years, and potentially as early as next year.
More than “bringing respectability” or “lending credibility” or whatever other buzzwords people will use to talk up some celebrity president who they interviewed as a player/manager, the Mariners should be looking for someone who will push the organization towards a more analytical approach than they’ve used in the past. The trend in baseball is clearly moving in this direction, and this could be a chance for the Mariners to bring in someone with some newer ideas, and likely influence the organization to go a little more towards modern thinking when the inevitable front office overhaul happens. The Mariners should absolutely be looking to poach someone like Matthew Silverman from the Tampa Bay Rays, and I’d hope their list of candidates swings far more towards the analytical executive mold rather than a media spokesman type like Nolan Ryan was in Texas.
2. The Mariners announced their new coaching staff. Interestingly, Lloyd McClendon only brought in a couple of guys from outside the organization; Andy Van Slyke (McClendon’s teammate in Pittsburgh during his playing days) and Mike Rojas (Tigers bullpen coach during McClendon’s stint there), while everyone else was promoted from within the organization. Usually, a manager will bring in his own guys and surround himself with people he’s worked with in other organizations, but this at least has the appearance of McClendon not getting the final call on who joined him on the coaching staff. We can’t know exactly how much influence the team had in deciding who got each position, but it certainly looks like McClendon is not going to be given the kind of authority that Eric Wedge clearly coveted during his time in charge.
3. In Mariners writer news, Ryan Divish has officially joined the Seattle Times as their lead beat writer, and had his first day at the paper yesterday. Ryan is a friend and I’m happy for him in his new gig; don’t worry, Ryan, we’ll get the link added to your new blog home shortly. To fill Ryan’s vacancy at the News Tribune, the TNT has hired Bob Dutton, a longtime beat writer for the Kansas City Star. I don’t know Bob personally, but he has a pretty good reputation, and I’m looking forward to reading him on a more regular basis.