M’s may already have interviewed top choice

Wotus 300x195 Ms may already have interviewed top choiceI’m already a little tired of discussing the Seattle Mariners managerial search, all the candidates interviewed and others potentially down the pike, but there’s a better than minuscule chance that the eventual top choice has already been interviewed. Notice I didn’t say ‘eventual hire,’ and the reason I did not phrase it that way is because it’s a two-way street. When Steve Sandmeyer offered me his two children, his car and his entire 2014 salary in exchange for coming to work with him at 1090 The Fan, I had a choice, too. Same goes for any candidate the M’s consider as Eric Wedge‘s replacement.

Jon Heyman reported Monday that San Francisco Giants bench coach Ron Wotus is the latest to interview for the position, and this comes after Rick Renteria and Chip Hale already have had an interview, and Lloyd McClendon will at some point soon. Several others will get their chance, too, but if you’re into online betting, wagering that the next skipper of the team has already been interviewed isn’t a bad one.

Hale, Renteria and Wotus all come with high praise as disciplined baseball men with long backgrounds in the game. Hale and Wotus have seen the playoffs recently with the two Bay Area clubs. Wotus has been the bench coach in San Francisco for 14 seasons, learning from and assisting Bruce Bochy while the Giants have won two World Series titles. Renteria, for good reason, is considered one of the frontrunners for the Chicago Cubs’ managerial vacancy.

We’re going to hear about several more interviews and more names linked to the Mariners, but it may not matter. They may have already spoken to their choice.

If that is the case in the end, the question then becomes, will their choice want to manage in Seattle under the current circumstances. Most assume the answer is ‘yes,’  and in most scenarios with most candidates — almost all — that is undoubtedly true. The Mariners are probably going to give the new skipper a two-year deal, even with GM Jack Zduriencik working on one year of guaranteed money, but one that could be considered monthly

Written by Jason A. Churchill

Moi2 Ms may already have interviewed top choice

Executive Editor
Jason founded Prospect Insider in 2006 after getting his start at Inside the Park and covering prep, college and pro sports for several news outlets, local and national, including MLB.com and ESPN Insider. He currently serves as co-host of the Steve Sandmeyer Show on 1090 The Fan, CBS Sports Seattle.

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14 comments on “M’s may already have interviewed top choice

  1. JerryEK says:

    New GMs very frequently change managers. It’s a fact.

    Exceptions to that tendency are almost always cases where a long-tenured GM either retires or moves into another role in the front office, and the new GM is an internal candidate. If (when) Jack gets axed, that clearly won’t be the case.

    GM changes most often include a fundamental change in the direction of the organization. In most cases, that includes the manager. Each new GM will ave their own ideal manager in mind, and will want to hand pick that guy. Honestly, if I was taking control over a team that had a long tradition of sucking, I’d probably do the same thing.

  2. Edman says:

    Are the Mariners going to be filing for bankruptsy soon? Are you going to worry if the Vice President who hires you, is going to be fired, for fear that you’ll follow?

    Doing your job is what secures your position. GMs don’t always clean house. They do what any rational person would do, coming into a new position. They would evaluate those in key positions. If they feel they are part of need for change, they replace them. If not, they retain them.

    Thus, if you’re a good field manager, and you’re doing the job, you’re likely to stay. If you’re not, then it wouldn’t matter if you were Jack, or another GM. Nobody gets guarantees.

  3. JerryEK says:

    I don’t disagree. Any candidate without (or with limited) ML managing experience is likely to take the job. However, its going to be at the bottom of their wish list.

    If you were offered a job at a company that had a great chance of going under in a year, would you take it? If you were unemployed, or the job was a huge promotion, sure. Why not? Its good experience. But if you have the choice between that job and the same job at a strong company? Thats an easy choice.

  4. gwangung says:

    Hmm….by the same token, if you do a good job, that’s not going to go unnoticed, which was exactly the point. Just where IS Bob Melvin now, hm?

  5. JerryEK says:

    Again, I think you’re missing the point. Someone like Terry Francina, Joe Toree, or Buck Showalter wouldn’t likely take the job because Jack is likely to get canned by this time next year. It’s pretty much a moot point, tho, since there aren’t really any of those guys available. First time guys will likely take the job, but not as their first choice. It’s not an enviable position to be in given the lack of stability in the front office.

    The top candidates this year are likely to have Seattle at the bottom of their list for the same reasons. If you’re a top manager candidate, like Chip Hale, which job would you choose: a club like the Cubs, with an up and coming team and stable front office? Or the M’s?

    Don’t underestimate how much stability at GM impacts a managers job security. The manager role has changed, and is somewhat analogous to a Vice President. The manager works for the GM, and functions to implement policies and strategies set by the GM. Thus, the new GM SHOULD want to pick their own guy. Wouldn’t you?

    Knowing that, taking a job with a team who’s GM is on the “hot seat” isnt ideal. Again, look at Bob Melvin. He got fired because of GM politics, not performance. The next M’s manager is VERY likely to suffer the same fate.

  6. JerryEK says:

    Edman,

    That theory applies to already established managers with ML experience. And it’s valid. The role of manager has changed, with skippers now in charge of overseeing strategies set by the GM. And I think that’s the way it should be. Bringing in a “big name” GM isn’t worth it.

    Thus, taking a job in an organization that is highly likely to see turnover at GM is risky. Sure, there are tons of first time candidates that will jump at that opportunity, since there are only 30 such jobs in the world. That’s why all the names we’ve seen linked to the M’s are guys with no previous experience.

  7. diderot says:

    I think both Z and Lincoln mentioned ‘teaching’. That seems to be the guiding light.

  8. lukearkins says:

    It’s tough to know what exactly will drive the selection process of the Matiners’ management or what will drive a potentional manager’s decision to accept/decline a job offer. It’s probably not much different than a hiring process in any other industry. If that’s the case, the candidates’ resume/reputation gets them the interview. After that, it comes down to how the candidate “wows” the interviewer(s). Certainly, personal chemistry and shared philosophies will play a big role. Regarding the candidate, they’ll make the choice that’s best for them and their families. Fractors such as job security, family, their role on the decision making process, and other career opportunities will probably come into play.

  9. patrick the pragmatist says:

    Pretty sure 95% of the people who might get offered the job would take it. Unless they are reasonably assured that they are going to get some other job soon and/or are holding out for a contending team to call.
    Some former managers may be content in the announcers booth or something like that, but even most of them would jump at the chance to manage again even in Seattle.

    There are only 30 MLB managing jobs. Rookie managers cannot be too choosy if they want to get their feet past the threshold and into that exclusive group. Plus it pays seven figures, most of the candidates for the job were not star players and many never played in the majors. That is a big payday for someone who had a cup of coffee in the majors as a player or never even rose above the AA level.

    Experience is nice, but most of these guys have plenty of it as bench coaches and/or minor league managers.

    Most fans like the comfort zone of a familiar name and some sort of track record. The M’s should pick who they think is the best guy for the job and if he is a formerly successful manager or star player so be it. If they think the best guy is someone most fans have never heard of so be it. I recall reading a book about the Yankees twenty years ago before they returned to greatness in the mid-nineties that had an epilogue that declared the days of Yankee greatness were all in the past and that they were currently managed by “Someone named Buck Showalter.” I seriously doubt the recently retired Jim Leyland was a familiar name to most Pirates fans thirty years ago unless they once lived in one of the lower minor league towns he played for or against. And since the Seahawks are doing well these days, what sort of playing career did Pete Carroll have? Bob Melvin played in the majors but was not a star. Pat Gillick apparently screened the candidates hard when he choose Melvin. It turned out that he was a good choice and it was not his fault the team got old fast with a weak farm system to fall back on in 2004.

  10. mgvernon says:

    I noted that Lincoln and Armstrong have let it be known that the new manager selection is strictly up to Z. If the team improves we’ll see and hear a lot from them, if not it’s on Z. In that event JZ can’t complain that he was not given the time to create visible change.

  11. Edman says:

    I think the “Good field managers won’t work if Jack is GM, because they will be fired when a new GM is selected” crowd is way off the mark. It doesn’t really matter what GM they work for, if they are successful, an incoming GM is not likely to replace them. Chances are if he’s doing a good job, Jack keeps his job. It’s BS that good candidates won’t come to Seattle, because of Jack’s situation. Managing at the big league level is always good on a resume. Think about it logically. A new manager can come in with lots of payroll flexability, a young core, and a more realistic expectation that the team will be better, than the concept that it could be worse. There is really only to stay the same, or more likely, improve.

    The bigger concern if I was an incoming manager, is that I get solid input into the selection of Free Agent acquisitions, than if Jack is in charge. I’d want control over the roster that I’m going to manage.

  12. diderot says:

    Agreed. People keep talking about what a terrible job this is–but I think the opposite is true.
    If someone comes in and the team continues to tank, the takeaway is, ‘no one could have turned around that mess’. The new guy doesn’t take the blame.
    If they improve: ‘look what he did with a team that had consistently lost 90 games’.

    In other words, no way is it a career-ender…but it could be a career-maker.

  13. mgvernon says:

    I seriously doubt the M’s will fire Z mid-season. If it’s called for it might be in September so they can start interviewing candidates before the World Series. If they do replace him the new GM will be stepping into a pretty good deal with the talent base Z has assembled and the income stream the team will have.

  14. Paul Martin says:

    Jason, what do you mean by this?

    “…with GM Jack Zduriencik working on one year of guaranteed money, but one that could be considered monthly.”

    Is Jack’s job really that unstable, would they just fire him a couple months into the season? If that is the case, I don’t understand why they just don’t fire him now? Do they want a guy they have such little trust in with authority to trade away prospects and guys on the current roster?

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