(Don Wakamtsu confers with pitching coach Rick Adair during an Aug. 4 game at Safeco Field — four days before both were fired. Seattle Times staff photo).
On Nov. 8, 2009, Don Wakamatsu was still manager of the Seattle Mariners, coming off a highly successful season and seemingly ensconsed in that job for the foreseeable future.
On. Nov. 8, 2010, Wakamatsu — out of work since being fired by the Mariners on Aug. 9 — accepted a position as bench coach for new Toronto Blue Jays manager John Farrell. That’s somewhat of a surprise, since most people thought Wakamatsu would land as bench coach for Baltimore manager Buck Showalter. Wak held that job under Showalter in Texas, and his pitching coach in Seattle, Rick Adair, will be Showalter’s bullpen coach in Baltimore.
Even with today’s news, Wakamatsu remains under consideration for the Mets’ manager job, one of two remaining openings (the other being the Pirates). It’s believed the Jays would let him go if the Mets hired him. However, Terry Collins, formerly manager of the Astros and Angels, is regarded as the favorite to become the next Mets manager. The word out of New York is that Wakamatsu will interview with new Mets GM Sandy Alderson on Wednesday.
I fully expect to see Wakamatsu managing again at some point in the not-too-distant future. The fact that his name was on the radar of many teams this fall shows that he still has a solid reputation despite the disastrous end to his Seattle stint.
Unless he gets detoured to New York, Wakamatsu will be reunited with former Mariners pitcher Brandon Morrow, who had something of a breakout year in 2010. He’ll also be with a team that led the majors with 257 homers — 46 more than the No. 2 slugging club, the Red Sox, and a mere 156 homers ahead of the Mariners.