Sleepgate, or whatever you want to call it, isn't over yet. In fact, it may have never left this team. As I was driving into work this morning (and as you can tell, I'm being so productive right now), Geoff Baker was on KJR. He said that he was surprised that Don Wakamatsu did not get fired yesterday. More interestingly, he said that he has heard the M's have to either can Wak, or sever ties with Griffey.
Interesting, to say the least.
First of all, nobody within the Mariners is on the record confirming anything close to this report. They probably will come out and deny it at some point today too. That's just how these kind of things work.
However, as ridiculous as the Baker report is, it adds up more than anything else people have theorized. Just last night, I was at the Rainiers game (and I thought this blog post would be about Michael Pineda), and one of my friends brought up how odd it is that Jack Zduriencik hasn't backed up Wakamatsu as he has come under fire. It seems like an obvious sign that the two aren't on the same page, and almost as if Z wants to fire him.
I hadn't bought into that theory though. Z had just hired Wak last year, and they were always on the same page then. Wak is Z's guy, and they built this team together. Furthermore, Z doesn't seem to be the kind of guy to turn and burn so fast. However, I couldn't deny that Z was acting a bit like an aloof GM positioning himself to fire a guy. It wasn't all adding up.
It didn't all add up until now. The Griffey theory explains it all. Z's actions make more sense if his hands are indeed tied. The Figgins issues might even be better explained as well. When Chone hit his first home run of the year, he flashed a two with one hand, and a four with the other. He said it was a tribute to Griffey, and that Griffey texted him to let him know he saw it.
So, we know Griffey and Figgy text, and that Figgy looks up to Griffey. Now it looks like Griffey is trying to get Wak out of office, because he felt disrespected by the benching. If that is Griffey's stance, and Figgy looks up to Griffey, would it be shocking if Figgy had several disagreements with the manager?
Baker's report also says that Griffey believes Wak circulated the sleepgate story. We will never know, but I will say that it is not the first time I have heard that speculated. There may be some truth to that as well, though that would seem quite uncharacteristic of Don Wakamatsu.
The situation is a mess. We can see that on the field. The underperformance has been staggering. Griffey should not feel disrespected at all over being benched. He stunk, and he should just accept that. Furthermore, if he really has the ear of several players on the team right now, it is a little childish for my taste of him to complain about the way he was treated, especially when he was treated more than fairly in the first place.
However, this isn't all Griffey's fault. There is nothing stopping these players from being professionals, and doing their own thing. Even more disappointing, there is nothing stopping Chuck Armstrong from running the Mariners with winning in mind, instead of the personal interests of a retired 40-something, albeit a franchise icon that is retired and 40-something.
I don't usually buy into conspiracy-ish theories, especially ones as juicy as this Griffey report. However, something has been off between Z and Wak most of the year. I have defended that there is nothing wrong betweent the two of them among my friends, even despite the odd signs publicly.
I am right and my friends are right if this Griffey story is true. It all adds up, but I don't know what it sums to quite yet. I do think that firing Wak would set this organization back a little, but not an unrecoverable amount. We may never notice the step back, because next year's team will be more talented, no matter who manages them.
This situation is really weird. That's the only thing I am certain of right now. I didn't think anything could change my perception of 2010 at this point in the season, but this morning's Griffey report has.