Mariners fire John McLaren
The Mariners have fired manager John McLaren. He has been replaced by bench coach Jim Riggleman.
The Mariners have fired manager John McLaren, replacing him with bench coach Jim Riggleman.
Earlier this week, the Mariners fired general manager Bill Bavasi, replacing him on an interim basis with Lee Pelekoudas.
The Mariners, who have the worst record in the major leagues at 25-47, play at Atlanta on Friday.
"We felt this was the right thing to do for the ballclub ... and for our effort to get better this year," Pelekoudas said at a news conference at Safeco Field. "This club was underperforming. We hadn't shown any improvement the last couple of months, in fact we were probably regressing."
Team president Chuck Armstrong and Pelekoudas each said they expected Riggleman to finish the season with the Mariners. Armstrong said a manager would not be chosen until a general manager had been hired. Pelekoudas will be a candidate for the GM job.
Pelekoudas said Riggleman will be evaluated this season and could be a candidate for the manager's job beyond this season.
"John worked extremely hard," Pelekoudas said. "He did everything he could to try to help us win games. But with 90 games left, we felt we owed it to our fans and ourselves to win as many games as we can."
Pelekoudas said a "different voice" was needed to help the Mariners evaluate players as the team approaches the July 31 trade deadline. Pelekoudas said there could be roster moves made before the trade deadline.
"He's an emotional person. I'm an emotional person," said Pelekoudas, describing McLaren as close friend. "But he also took it very professionally."
Pelekoudas said firing McLaren had been discussed with Bavasi, before Bavasi was fired.
"We talked about a lot of different things, ways to improve the ballclub," Pelekoudas said. "Yes, the managing piece was one of them."
Pelekoudas was asked if "looking forward" meant that the Mariners would begin playing younger players.
"No. Looking forward means improving the ballclub any way we can," he said.
Lee Elia, who was named hitting coach when Jeff Pentland was fired last week, will be the new bench coach, replacing Riggleman. He will be in charge of the Mariners' hitting, Pelekoudas said, but Jose Castro will be the hitting coach. Castro had been a roving minor-league hitting instructor.
Riggleman, 55, managed the Chicago Cubs from 1995-99. He managed the San Diego Padres from 1992-94. He has a career mark of 486-598 (.448) in the majors. In nine seasons as a minor-league manager from 1982-92, Riggleman was 558-554 (.502).
"Jim is an experienced baseball man with broad experience as both a major-league manager and coach," Pelekoudas said in a written statement this morning. "He is intimately familiar with our club and I believe he will do a fine job."
McLaren, 56, took over last July 2 when Mike Hargrove quit. McLaren was 43-41 for the remainder of the 2007 season. He had been a Mariners coach for 11 seasons.
"We want to thank John for his service to the Mariners," Pelekoudas said. "He has dedicated many years of his baseball career to help build baseball in Seattle. We appreciate all of his hard work and wish him all the best in the future."
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
UPDATE - 8:27 PM
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