There are conflicting reports swirrling right now that the Mariners have settled on Detroit Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon to be their next manager. The Puget Sound Business Journal — of all sources — had the scoop before anyone on the Mariners beat, which is sort of odd, but not totally.
#Mariners will name Detroit Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon as their new manager, a source close to team says. Announcement soon.
— Puget Sound Business Journal (@PSBJ) November 5, 2013
Seattle Times out-going beat guy Geoff Baker (if you haven’t heard, Ryan Divish will be assuming that role at the end of this month) and FOX Sports’s Ken Rosenthal and CBS’ Jon Heyman would chime in with these tidbits:
Lloyd McClendon just told me he hasn't heard a thing from the #Mariners yet.
— Geoff Baker (@GeoffBakerTIMES) November 5, 2013
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 5, 2013
mcclendon gets mariners job, confirmed. puget sound is correct.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 5, 2013
I was a little hesitant to trust the original source. While Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln is known to have close ties to the publication, I don’t know why he would leak that information and why they would report on it, especially if the normally tight-lipped front office had yet to inform any of the candidates of their decision.
Heyman, of course, is a much more reliable reporter on such matters. Then again, he could have heard the news from the same source, so who knows. Right now we’re left to guess that Lloyd McClendon is probably the next Mariners manager, but maybe not.
What kind of manager will McClendon be? No one really knows, because it’s impossible to know how any man will manage a group of 25 other unique men and personalities, especially when we don’t even know who those 25 men will be yet — let alone how talented they’ll be.
Dan Szymborski pointed out one thing that I do vaguely remember: McClendon was a big fan of base running.
"Other than pitching and defense, baserunning will win more games than
anything," McClendon, 2002
— Dan Szymborski (@DSzymborski) November 5, 2013
The Mariners have been linked to interest in one Jacoby Ellsbury. Okay, that’s extreme assumption work on my part, but hey, who knows, right?
The other thing I remember about McClendon is when — during a tantrum with umpires after a disputed call — he yanked first base out of the ground and took it with him to the dugout. So, he might have a little Lou in him, too.
While this sort of feels like a re-tread pick, that assertion might not be very fair. McClendon managed some pretty awful Pirates teams before being shown the door. There’s no reason to think he couldn’t do a better job with a better roster, because that’s true for every single manager out there. We may not know how he’ll manage a bullpen, or construct a lineup, but we do know that in most cases these issues are resolved when the man making those choices doesn’t have to constantly tinker because the players aren’t getting the job done.
The players will determine the narratives. If they hit, McClendon may get some credit. If they don’t, he might be the next fall guy.
It’s nice to have this portion of the off-season out of the way. Now, go build us a winning roster, Jack.