Fast Reaction: The Mariners hiring of Lloyd McClendon

The Seattle Mariners finally announced the team’s third manager in the last five years on Tuesday; the new  manager is former Pittsburgh Pirate — and former Detroit Tiger’s hitting coach — Lloyd McClendon.

Now only if he had thrown the bag into the stands…

McClendon managed the Pittsburgh Pirates from 2001-2005 and he complied a 336-446 record there. During his tenure in the Steel City he became known for his temper, and his tendency to have his team steal bags — although that tendency seemed to vanish each season he was the Pirates manager. It should also be pointed out that while he was in Pittsburgh he earned a reputation as a manager with a hot temper.

While McClendon’s  record from Pittsburgh is absolutely terrible, it is important to note that he was a green manager with one of the worst teams in baseball during his tenure. After McClendon was fired in Pittsburgh he spent a couple of years out of baseball before being hired in 2007 as Detroit’s hitting coach.

Chip Hale is the guy I wanted for the job, but McClendon was my second choice.  He has spent the last seven years working with legendary manager in Jim Leyland;  the same Jim Leyland who has been using platoons the last few seasons.

Platoons are reportedly one of the things that Zduriencik was asking Wedge to adapt too, that Wedge wasn’t willing to do — hell, Zduriecik and Wedge sent off a perfectly good platoon catcher in John Jaso for the massive black-hole in the outfield that was Michael Morse. Now that is not an invitation to reignite the Jaso-Morse trade argument again, I was just stating the facts.

If McClendon uses platoons, and uses them wisely, then he is already a better manager for this young squad than Eric Wedge was. There are a lot of young guys that need to get playing time. These same guys have weaknesses that opposing team’s exploit those young players step up to the plate; the hope is that any free agent acquisitions this off-season can be platooned with the young guys to help them mask some of the issues that those younger players have.

Another thing that has to appeal to Mariner’s fans is the fact that he spent the last seven seasons working as the hitting coach in Detroit; although as some people have pointed out, it isn’t that hard to be the hitting coach of the team that has Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder anchoring the middle of the line-up. It will definitely be interesting to see who he brings in to be his hitting coach — if he brings one in at all.

This isn’t the flashiest manager that the Zduriencik could have hired — and he isn’t the managerial candidate I would have picked — but there is reason to hope that he could be a good fit with this young squad. Especially if he is given some quality free agents to mix into the line-up, and platoon with the younger guys.

Categories: MLB