By: Joey Segur
Surprising news hit the Mariners organization as Lloyd McClendon was fired today with only two seasons as the Mariners manager. McClendon finished the 2014 season with a record of 87-75 and finished this year with a disappointing 76-86 record. McClendon was only the 2nd manager to leave the Mariners with a winning record. In his two years he ended with a 163-161 record. Lou Piniella, who managed the Mariners from 1993-2002, was the only other manager to finish with a winning record going 840-711.
In 2014 McClendon brought the Mariners within one game of the playoffs making them the team to beat this season. Well they ended up being the team that got beat. With a winning season in 2014 and a lot of awesome acquisitions in the off season, the M’s were projected to be the #1 team in the AL west. As you can see that didn’t happen. Now comes the blame game. The question is can you blame Lloyd for the epic failure that was the 2015 Mariners season?
Looking back at the season I see plenty of other issues that might be out of Lloyds hands. For example, the Mariners could not hit with runners in scoring position to save their lives. They finished the season batting .231 with runners in scoring position. The team had one of the best line ups to start the season and they couldn’t drive home anyone, and when they scored it was either off of a no out bases loaded double play situation, a solo homer or a sac fly. Another issue this season was the bullpen. After having the best bullpen in the 2014 season, everyone expected similar results. But what ended up happening was nothing like the 2014 season. Jack Z traded away a good chunk of our solid bullpen pitchers and that showed a huge effect on the team. Between the bullpen, hitters not hitting and players not producing when needed, I think Lloyd had no chance to be successful this year.
So you might ask what is next? Well Jerry Dipoto has a list of people he wants to go after as soon as they become available. With the post season in the works he has to play the waiting game, which might be a good thing because that gives him time to look over individual people and what they can bring to the Mariners organization. Greg Johns from MLB.com reports Tim Bogar is a front runner for the job. Bogar was the Rangers Interim manager when former manager Ron Washington departed late in the season for personal reasons. Jerry Dipoto has a past with Bogar as well, playing together with the Mets for two years and Dipoto also hired him as a special assistant for the Angels last year.
To finish off this, I will say that I feel firing McClendon was a horrible mistake. With only two years in a organization that has failed for over a decade and has become the team with the longest post season drought, I think he didn’t have a chance to show what he can do. It’s hard to say what is right and what is wrong when a franchise fails so much, but with Dipoto cleaning house, I think he has become trigger happy and has cleaned a little too much.