Good thing there is a retractable roof at Safeco Field — the sky is falling.
Management candidates, sign in please.
In the wake of the firings of general manager Peter Bavasi and manager John McLaren, the Mariners have named longtime executive Lee Pelekoudas as interim GM and Jim Riggleman as interim manager, but that could be only the start of a franchise face-lift.
Seattle president Howard Lincoln said “nothing is off the table,” indicating that any and all could go in trade — including ace-in-waiting Felix Hernandez and disappointing offseason acquisition Erik Bedard, whose toughness has been questioned.
Bavasi, no longer constrained to say the right thing, was asked at his firing why Bedard had trouble throwing more than 100 pitches in a game while going 4-4 with a 4.14 ERA.
“You gotta ask him,” Bavasi said. “You gotta ask him. Good luck. And he’s gonna have some stupid answer, some dumb--- answer.”
Presumably Ichiro is safe, his change coming when the Mariners returned him to right field last week.
The Mariners are on pace to become the first team in major league history to lose more than 100 games with a payroll of more than $100 million ($117 million), largely the result of Bavasi’s incursions into the free agent market for Richie Sexson (four years, $50 million), Jose Silva (four years, $48 million), Jarrod Washburn (four years, $37.5 million) and Miguel Batista (three years, $25 million).
Sexson appears to be near a release and DH Jose Vidro (four years, $30 million) could be next. Batista, recently moved to the bullpen, and Washburn also could go if anyone will take their contracts.
Pelekoudas, a veteran baseball man whose father is former major league umpire Chris Pelekoudas, will be given a rest-of-the-season audition, but the Mariners also will do their due diligence on other candidates.
The D-Backs have three top executives in waiting — Peter Woodfork, A.J. Hinch and Jerry Dipoto — although contact has not been made yet.
Former Mariners executive Pat Gillick, who has announced he will retire in Philadelphia after this season, could be on a short list. He has a home in Seattle, and he has tried retirement before, without success.
Al Avila, a top candidate when Bavasi was hired in 2004 to replace Gillick, might get another look. San Diego general manager Kevin Towers could emerge if his seemingly tenuous tie with the Padres is severed. Then there is the Yankees’ Brian Cashman, whose contract expires after this season.
NOT 'JUST A CONCUSSION’
“When I hear those words, I start to laugh,” said former major league catcher Mike Matheny, whose career was cut short in 2006 by a series of concussions.
He was speaking after St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina was removed from a game last Sunday with a concussion suffered when he was hit at home plate. Molina has since returned.
“If that had happened to me, I’m sure I could hardly remember my own name,” Matheny said. “If I kept count of how many times I 'just had a concussion,’ it would be perhaps 20.
“They’d tell me, 'Wake up every three hours and let us know how you feel.’ There was often a separated shoulder or something else involved and everybody was paying more attention to the shoulder.”
DETROIT LOOKS AT GARCIA
The Tigers appear interested in Freddy Garcia to shore up a rotation that includes two rookies and will be without Jeremy Bonderman and Dontrelle Willis for an extended period.
Garcia, 32, was 1-5, 5.90 in 17 starts with Philadelphia before undergoing shoulder surgery last year but has a good track record in the AL Central, where he was 40-21 with the White Sox from 2004 through 2006.
NATE THE GREAT
Pittsburgh’s Nate McLouth is 5-for-6 with two doubles and two home runs against Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol this season.
McLouth has five of the 18 hits Marmol has allowed this season. McLouth is hitting .833 against Marmol, while the rest of the world is hitting .095 off him. The Cubs and Pirates meet again in early August.
TELL YOUR STATISTICS TO SHUT UP
Some of the Giants’ impetus in signing Barry Zito to a seven-year, $126 million deal before 2007 seemed to be intended to mollify fans for also signing Barry Bonds for one more year. Zito, 2-11, is 0-7 at home, and was pulled after two innings Wednesday, his second-shortest career start.
ZAMBRANO PITCHES PILE UP
Cubs right-hander Carlos Zambrano has thrown 120 or more pitches in a game 36 times since 2003, the last a 130-pitch effort in eight innings against the Dodgers on May 28. He was 7-1 with a 2.33 ERA counting that start. Since, he is 1-2 with a 5.69 ERA, an MRI and a trip to the DL.
THAMES ON A ROLL
Before doubling Friday, Marcus Thames’ previous eight hits had been home runs, only the third time that had been accomplished since 1974. Mark McGwire had 11 straight hits that were home runs for St. Louis in 2001, and Albert Belle had eight straight with Cleveland in 1995.
“Well, like my wife always tells me … I ask her how many good managers there are in baseball. She always tells me, 'Probably one less than you think.’ ”
CHICAGO CUBS MANAGER
LOOKING AHEAD: Cubs/White Sox, Mets/Yankees, Giants/A’s, Dodgers/Angels — the final weekend of interleague play does not get any better.
Writers from around the league contributed to this report.