Don Wakamatsu was fired yesterday in his second season as Mariners manager. What does this have to do with the Rays? The Mariners are a franchise that have embraced the Tampa Bay Rays model of pitching, defense, speed and sabermetrics. And when Seattle hired Wakamatsu prior to the 2009 season, many thought they had picked up the next Joe Maddon.
If the Mariners are still looking for “the next Joe Maddon” then one would have to think Dave Martinez will be near the top of their wishlist. Martinez has spent the last three seasons as Maddon’s bench coach and is widely regarded as a future manager.
And if Martinez is hired by the Mariners (or another team) this off-season, we would not be surprised if Wakamatsu is a candidate to become Maddon’s next bench coach. Like Maddon, Wakamatsu embraces pitching, defense and position players that are both athletic and versatile. He also has five years experience as a bench coach (4 with Texas and 1 with Oakland).
All of this becomes even more likely if the Rays hire coaches the same way they acquire players. That is, would they look at Wakamatsu and see an undervalued commodity? If they do, look for Wakamatsu in a Rays uniform next season.