Former manager Don Wakamatsu just finished a conference call with reporters and spent much of it thanking the Mariners for hiring him and Mariners fans for the support they gave him and the team.
Today, Wakamatsu put his family on a flight back to their home in Texas. Later this week, he will spend a few days with his parents and grandparents near Hood River, Ore.
Wakamatsu refused to speak about issues that led to his firing on Monday, although what he didn’t say seemed pretty revealing.
He was asked about reports that he and the coaches, some who had significant knowledge of the Texas Rangers’ minor league system, weren’t consulted about the players the Mariners received from the Rangers in the Cliff Lee trade. He didn’t deny those reports.
“I’m not going to get into any of that stuff,” Wakamatsu said. “The whole reason I wanted to get on this call is to thank everyone.”
Wakamatsu said the firing didn’t surprise him, although the timing did.
“Obviously, there were things in the papers (about) the state of the club and everything,” he said. “I was a little surprised at the timing.”
He said general manager Jack Zduriencik called him into his office Monday morning to give the news.
“Jack called me into the office and said they decided to go into a different direction,” he said. “I understood that it all comes back to the manager, the wins and losses
“We set out to build something longterm. The way the season went, there was a lot of disappointment on my side. The club wasn’t playing up to the level of expectations to what it should be… to what we expected here in Seattle.”
What happened since last year?
“I don’t want to get into that stuff,” Wakamatsu said.
He also wasn’t prepared to look ahead to his next baseball job.
“Right now, I’m going to focus on spending some time with the family,” he said. “I’ve been away so much this year, really over the last 2 ½ years. I think there will be opportunities in the future and I look forward to them.”