Back Wakamatsu on This One

Q.  Maybe Wakamatsu could "call Felix out" like he did in early 2009, and Felix could resume greatness.

A.  If what we're hearing is remotely close to the truth, Wakamatsu doesn't have the political capital to call Mike Carp out.

That's the last thing Wakamatsu can afford to do, is square off for a cage match with the Franchise Player.  We are maneuvered into a situation here where Felix doesn't have to listen to a word that he doesn't want to.

Of course, knowing how principled Wakamatsu is, he just might do it.  SSI predicts that it would end very badly for its man Wok, but we wouldn't put it past him.

Anyway, SSI sees Felix' state of mind as a monkey on Wok's back in the short term.  He couldn't do much about it during Felix' 7-loss streak, and he's not going to do much about it now.


We certainly hope that Wok emerges from this debacle unscathed.  Not weighting in-game tactics as heavily as most do -- and not agreeing with most criticisms of those anyway -- I see Wok as a great young manager. 

But Zduriencik doesn't have total autonomy as to what happens with Wok.  The players' voices are a very real element there, and Wok is not a "players' manager" like Mike Hargrove is.  Wok is a winner, like Lou Piniella is.  That means he has to win to keep a near-fall on his clubhouse.

Earl Weaver wrote a chapter on how not to be fired (he never was, at any level).  "All It Takes Is A .583 Winning Percentage."


Q.  Is Wok gone?

A.  One scenario that re-establishes Wok -- if Zduriencik believes in him as much as I do -- is this one.  Deal Felix, then get rid of four or five big mouths, overhaul 1/4 of the roster again.  "Now that we've got your attention..."

You did that last time around, with Carlos Silva and Co.  You have to re-tool anyway.  A real "vote of confidence" is one in which you powerflush the guys who are baiting your manager.

That scenario could also be done without dealing Felix, of course.


Remember, all y'all demanded that Wok bench Griffey.  Right?

It is precisely because Griffey did get benched, that Jay Buhner piped up and said, "Look how they're treating Junior!", and Junior stormed out complaining he wasn't even given occasional starts ...

Ryan Langerhans and everybody else goes on TV near tears that Griffey was gone.  We can assure you that Junior's anger at Wakamatsu was infectious.

So, Wok did what you amigos thought was the right thing to do, and some players want him gone for it?  Doesn't Wok deserve for you to back him on that?

Sure, but we don't want him gone for benching Griffey, we reply.  We want him gone for putting Sean White into that game that time. ... which is what the players say.  They want him gone for bonehead moves.  No, if you want a manager who does the right thing, that's when he needs the backing.


Q.  Why keep Wok?  What's the case for?

A.  Managers need to pick the right players, such as Doug Fister, David Aardsma (sigh), Jason Vargas and Shawn Kelley.

They need to make 21st-century decisions -- hey, just eleventeen games ago we were all rejoicing in Wakamatsu's saber literacy.

They need to teach technically, as with Wakamatsu noticing that Jason Vargas should scrap his curve ball and go FB-change.

They need to enforce professionalism, as with powerflushing the Betancourts and putting in an every-game accountability for plate approach.

They need to lead and control a clubhouse, and Wakamatsu's dignified courage is a model of what a pro coach should be.


I've seen precious few tactical complaints that (1) couldn't be argued either way, or (2) might not have had invisible causes, such as Sweeney's back, a reliever's elbow, etc.

SSI doesn't mind reading that Zduriencik and Wakamatsu got real stoopid real quick.  But we're with Capt Jack and his manager.  I think that they're 100.00% as smart as they were twelve months ago.


My $0.02,



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