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First firings of baseball season: Mariners, Mets

The housecleanings have begun in the majors in a couple of entirely predictable places.

In Seattle, general manager Bill Bavasi, architect of a miserable Mariners team, was fired earlier in the week.  And last night in a move that was almost scary in the hush-hush way it was carried out Mets manager Willie Randolph and two of his coaches were sacked in the middle of the night in Los Angeles after the Mets had just won two in a row and four of six.

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Randolph's impending exit was a foregone conclusion after last year's epic collapse and this year's disappointing start that made it appear the Mets hadn't shaken off the hangover from 2007. Still, the way it was handled was simply bizarre. Randolph is replaced by bench coach Jerry Manuel.  The other fired coaches were Rick Peterson (pitching) and Tom Nieto (first base).  First base coach?  Did he forget to tell someone how many outs there were?

The Mariners are 22 games under .500 and playing out the string.  The Mets are one game under .500 and 6 1/2 behind the first-place Phillies.  But both share a common quality -- expensive payrolls.  The Mets are reportedly have the No. 2 payroll in the majors, nearly $138 million.  Incredibly, the Mariners have the No. 9 payroll (sixth in the American League), more than $117 million -- so that falls pretty heavily on the GM.

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