When the Mariners fired Bob Fontaine, then offered Benny Looper a job they were all but certain he wouldn’t accept – and watched him walk away – they lost two good baseball men.
Chances are, before new general manager Jack Zduriencik completes his remake of the Seattle front office and major and minor-league coaching staffs, a lot of other good baseball men will go, too.
That’s not a bad thing.
When Pat Gillick stepped down as Mariners GM, he hadn’t lost his passion for the job or – as the Phillies proved with their championship Wednesday – his ability to do it well.
Sometimes, though, change in baseball comes about for its own sake. In Zduriencik’s case, he has people in mind for certain roles. New people.
The Mariners said they wanted new blood and fresh ideas in a new GM, and they’re getting it. Solid baseball men like Looper and Fontaine won’t be unemployed long, and Zduriencik has gone out of his way to say the organization’s state of disrepair had little to do with either of them.
In this game, players change teams routinely. Managers and entire coaching staffs get rolled over with regularity.
Not because they couldn’t do the job, but because when a franchise struggles – and all of them do at times – something has to change. In the Mariners front office, good baseball men like Looper and Fontaine and others have, as Gillick said, had their kicks at this cat.
They will have more kicks, and both deserve them. Nothing either did caused a 101-loss season in Seattle.
Zduriencik was brought in as an agent of change, and the transformation has begun.
More good baseball men – and players – will be swept up in it.