With the Seattle Mariners posting a seven-game winning streak, while going 9-1 over their last 10 games, placing them four games out of first place in the AL West, and one game out of the AL Wild Card, the club has announced that they will be having a press conference at 11:30am PT today to make a "major announcement." (watch the press conference here) That announcement now appears to be the resignation of manager Mike Hargrove.
We will update in the comments of this thread the details of the resignation. Clearly, this isn't something coming from the front office given the team's performance this season.
UPDATE: Resignation to come after today's game. Press release from Mariners below:
Seattle Mariners Manager Mike Hargrove announced today that he has decided to resign, effective at the end of today’s game vs. the Toronto Blue Jays. Hargrove was named manager of the club on Oct. 20, 2004. He is fifth among active managers with 1,187 career wins, including 191 with Seattle , heading into today’s game.
“Over the past several weeks, I have come to the realization that to be fair to myself and the team, I can not continue to do this job if my passion has begun to fade. I want to stress how much I respect, and love, the players in the clubhouse, and the coaches and staff that we have in place here, and I can not stress enough what a tremendous place this is to work because of the people who work above me. I am very proud of the work we’ve done to turn this club around in three years, and I have high expectations for the team this season.”
Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Bill Bavasi announced today the Mariners have named John McLaren as field manager, effective tomorrow. McLaren has agreed to a contract for the remainder of the 2007 season. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not announced. McLaren is the 12th full-time manager in franchise history.
“Mike took over the team at a difficult point in time, taking over after the 2004 season. He has been a ‘team player’, and successfully developed a group of young, inexperienced players from our farm system and incorporated several veterans into a winning team. As a result, we are in much better shape today than we were when Mike came to town,” Bavasi said. “I would like to thank Mike for his efforts. We’re disappointed that he has decided to step down, but we respect his decision. We wish him, Sharon and his family all the best.
“I believe that Mac provides us with an opportunity to have as seamless a transition as possible,” Bavasi continued. “He knows the club and has been intimately involved in every decision we’ve made this season. We had a chance to see him run the club for a few days earlier this season, and I have every confidence that he will help us achieve the goals we’ve set.”
McLaren, 55, rejoined the Mariners this year as bench coach. He is in his 21st season as a big league coach and his 11th with Seattle . His 11 seasons as a Mariners coach are the most by any coach in Mariners history. This is his first Major League managing job. He ran the team for a pair of games June 2 and 3 (2-0) while Hargrove attended his daughter’s high school graduation.
“I am really looking forward to the challenge of taking over this club and continuing to build on what Mike has established here,” McLaren said. “When I came back here I said I wanted to be a part of taking this team back to the post-season, and back to what our fans expect and deserve. That’s still the case. My focus, and the focus of every one of my coaches is to help these players achieve what they are capable of, and that’s getting this team back to the post-season.”
McLaren managed in the Toronto minor league system for eight years prior to working as a Major League coach. He made his managerial debut with Medicine Hat in the Pioneer League in 1978. He guided Kinston to the first half title in 1981, and managed Southern League Championship clubs in 1984 and 1985. He was named Co-Manager of the Year in the Southern League in 1985.
Mac also managed Winter League baseball for the Willard team in Colombia (1981 and 1982) and managed in Venezuela in the winter with Lara (1984, 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1993) and LaGuaira (1997 and 1998).
Prior to re-joining Seattle in this season, McLaren spent 15 years as a coach on the staffs of manager Lou Piniella, including spending from 1993-2002 in Seattle .
McLaren began his big league coaching career in 1986 as the Toronto Blue Jays third base coach (1986-1990). He was the bullpen coach for Boston in 1991, and was the bullpen coach for Cincinnati in 1992. He joined the Mariners in 1993 as bullpen coach (1993-94) and was named bench coach in 1995. McLaren was the Seattle third base coach in 1996 and 1997, and returned to the manager’s side in 1998 as bench coach (1998-2002). He was the bench coach with Tampa Bay from 2003-2005 and spent the 2006 season working as a special assignment scout for Tampa Bay .
Hargrove, 55, has led the Mariners to a 44-33 start this season, good for second in the American League West and (4.0 games behind the LA Angels) and second in the Wild Card standings (1.0 game behind Detroit). He has recorded a record of 191-210 (.476) overall with Seattle , as the team improved to 69 wins in 2005 and 78 wins in 2006. Seattle is on pace for 93 wins this season. Hargrove has a career mark of 1,187-1,173 in his big league managing career with Cleveland (1991-1999), Baltimore (2000-2003) and Seattle. He won five Central Division Titles (1995-99) and two American League Pennants (1995 and 1997).
Hargrove has agreed to continue to work with the Mariners as a Special Assistant to the Executive VP, Player Personnel, joining John Boles, Dan Evans and Ken Madeja in that role.