Possible managerial candidates for M’s

 There already have been several names tossed around as potential candidates for the Seattle Mariners managerial job. Since Terry Francona isn’t available, the club will have to settle for someone that isn’t the best manager in the game, but here is what I am hearing on the matter.

Despite all the Lou Piniella garbage that was reported Friday, he’s not going to be the new skipper, and the team apparently called to let him know he is next year’s Mariners Hall of Fame inductee, and the manager’s job came up in conversation. Whether you buy what the team is trying to sell on the topic — I don’t, they lie or bend the truth on almost everything else, it seems — is irrelevant.

The club has said they want a teacher and a leader, and that the next manager will be hired by GM Jack Zduriencik, with input from the front office and those in upper management such as Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong. Input yes, but it will be Zduriencik’s decision.

Among those I believe will considered:  (Not guaranteeing they all get an interview)

  • Pete Mackanin — Third base coach, Philadelphia Phillies
  • Dave Martinez — Bench coach, Tampa Bay Rays
  • Ron Wotus — Bench coach, San Francisco Giants
  • Chip Hale — Bench coach, Oakland Athletics
  • Billy Hatcher — First base coach, Cincinnati Reds
  • Bryan Price — Pitching coach, Cincinnati Reds
  • Brad Mills — Bench coach, Cleveland Indians
  • Rick Renteria — Bench coach, San Diego Padres
  • A.J. Hinch — V.P. of Pro Scouting, San Diego Padres

There are likely be more names in the mix to some extent, but if I had to guess I’d say the next M’s skipper is listed above. My favorites, based on what others in the game tell me, are, in order: Mills, Wotus, Hale.

I do not know whether or not the club has feelers out to Manny Acta, Sandy Alomar, Jr., Dale Sveum or former M’s first base coach and current Cardinals bench coach Mike Aldrete.

Dusty Baker may get a courtesy interview if he wants it, but there are zero scenarios where he makes any sense whatsoever, and nobody I talk to in baseball believe 1) that there is any chance he’s the hire for the Mariners, or 2) that he has any business at the helm of a young team.

Zduriencik said last week that it may be more than a week before the club starts the interviewing process, which suggests they needed time to seek out permission to speak to at least one or two that were working into the postseason, but I do not expect the decision to be delayed much after the World Series, if it takes that long.

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Jason A. Churchill

Churchill founded Prospect Insider in 2006 after getting his start at InsidethePark.com. He spent several years covering prep, college and pro sports for various newspapers, including The News Tribune and Seattle PI. Jason spent 4 1/2 years at ESPN and two years at CBS Radio prior to joining HERO Sports in July, 2016. Find Jason's Mariners podcast, Baseball Things, right here and follow him on Twitter @ProspectInsider.

14 Comments

  1. Now that Detroit has a Manager position open just pushes the M’s down many candidates job list.

  2. I wouldn’t mind Dave Miley getting an interview.

    Well respected among the players he’s coached (minor leagues the last few years), has MLB exp and true, didn’t fare well but he learned and used those skills to make himself a better leader.

    Just my 2 cents. 🙂

  3. Yeah, I don’t think the M’s should go for “name” guys either. First, why would someone like that want to come to Seattle, given that the team is a mess and Jack, Lincoln, and Armstrong are on the hot seat? Second, they really need to focus on finding someone who is good at player development.

    From what we’ve heard out of the front office, it sounds like Wedgie and Jack had disagreements over the latter’s desire to see kids get more playing time. Thus, I’d expect to see the next manager as someone who excels at teaching and development over strategy.

    The other thing that I think is funny is how fans and the media seem to view a lot of GMs as ‘meddling’ in the job of the manager when they try to get involved in decisions about playing time. To me, that is really odd. While different teams will have different power dynamics, a successful team should have a manager and GM who are on the same page. The Seahawks tandem of Schneider and Carroll are the perfect example: they both have a common vision of what type of team they want to build, and Schneider brings in the right players and Carroll puts them in the best possible position to have success.

    The GM’s job is to get talent, and the manager’s job is to get the most out of that talent. If they don’t see eye-to-eye, how can that relationship work? Seems like that might be what happened with Jack and Wedge. Regardless of what the power dynamic is, I’d hope the next manager is brought in to help this specific team. That means player development. This team needs to show some progress soon. A big part of that needs to come from guys already on the roster.

    For some reason, M’s prospects seem to struggle mightily upon reaching Seattle: Ackley, Montero, Smoak, Franklin, Zunino, and Maurer all had a lot of trouble with the jump to the big leagues. Only Seager and (to a lesser extent) Miller have hit the ground running. While the book isn’t closed on any of them – and Zunino, Franklin, and Maurer were all arguably promoted too early – it would be nice to bring in someone who gives those guys the best possible chance to succeed.

    Clearly something isn’t happening (or is happening) with the current coaching staff. This is the chance for the M’s to give someone else a shot. Again, I don’t know much about any of these guys, but Hinch is interesting on a superficial level given his scouting and player development background. The A’s, Ray’s and Indians all have a good track record of player development at the organizational level, too. I’d love to see the M’s coaching staff filled with guys who are good teachers.

    The single most important thing the next manager needs to be able to do is teach kids how to have success at the ML level. I know that everyone is focused on free agency as the cure to the M’s ills, but I think the M’s future rests largely on what happens with guys already here, like Zunino, Montero, Ackley, Smoak, Franklin, Miller, Saunders, Maurer, Walker, Paxton, Hultzen (gulp) and eventually Pederson. Even if half those guys turn into solid big league players, the M’s will be in a lot better position going forward.

    If they continue to struggle, a new GM will hopefully do a better job selecting the next manager at this time next year.

  4. Never happen in a million years. Ever been to the Maryland/DC area. Cal Jr. is a God in that part of the country. I mean, Not only is he from an Oriole family, he’s a local boy (Aberdeen), and he owns a huge baseball complex/young academy, which includes an Oriole farm team. He son was drafted by the Orioles. He could get away with managing the Nats because they are in the NL and still local for Cal Jr. Cal Jr. wouldn’t go anywhere else unless the Orioles rejected him (and rumors have him not having the best relationship with the front office), but still I don’t think the Orioles are that stupid. Ain’t gonna be no ‘splashing’.

  5. Mike Harris at The Washington Times writes that, “As incredibly cool as it would be to have an icon like [Cal] Ripken [Jr] as the manager of the Nats, it is not a good idea. Not now anyway. There’s also no question he knows the game. You don’t play it as well as he did for as long as he did without knowing baseball. He’s the son of a manager. Odds are, Ripken will be a good manager one day. Ripken would be a splash hire. Choosing him would be discussed around the world. The attention would be considerable. The Nats don’t need a splash hire. They need a solid hire, a strong manager who has experience doing exactly that at some level: managing. They don’t need someone who will command a lion’s share of the attention. Ripken isn’t the type to demand that, but it will come if he’s the manager. For those reasons and more, someone like Nationals bench coach Randy Knorr or Diamondbacks third base coach Matt Williams are much better choices for the job than Ripken.”
    Harris’ reasons for not wanting Ripken for the Nats would make him a good choice for the Mariners. He would be a “splash hire” who would vacuum the attention off of the front office and the young players from Day 1. He’s had a great career, knows the game, is the son of a manager and as the Hollywood Reporter might say “is boffo at the box office.”

  6. For me I like

    Mackanin
    Hale
    Muelens
    Wotus
    Wallach
    Martinez
    Price

    In that order.

  7. “To have a season worse than the past one the team plane would have to crash.”

    Seems like people say this every year, then it either gets worse or stays the same. It’s not like the M’s had a ton of unpredictably bad performances or injuries.

  8. Whoever takes the job gets a team with some decent young talent capable of breaking out next year, two proven ace pitchers, a decent farm system, plus payroll space and trade chips to fill some holes this off-season. To have a season worse than the past one the team plane would have to crash. I don’t think they will have trouble finding a capable person to manage the team.

  9. I don’t know much about any of those guys, but snaking someone from well-run organizations like Oakland, Tampa, or Cleveland would be smart. It would be cool to see Bryan Price too.

    One of my favorites is Manny Acta, since it would signal a willingness to adopt a bit less of an “old school” philosophy.

    But the best fit could be an unknown guy who could surprise. Whoever takes this job will be coming into a shitty situation with a lame duck GM and an organization that needs major change at the top of the front office. It’s basically a one-year audition.

  10. That’s pretty good list Jason, I’d be reasonably happy to excited to see any of them in Seattle. I would add Jeff Banister the Pirates bench coach as he has been exposed to their effective and somewhat unique procedures. Terry Francona made news a couple of months ago when he made a big thing of pointing out how “great” a manager Jason Giambi will be when he quits playing and how he looks on Giambi as a player/coach now. Evidently Giambi wants to play another season and make it 20 years for his career and Francona says he wants him back even though he’s below the Mendoza Line. Go figure.

  11. Two other names I’ve seen floating in cyber-space (so it must be true) are Tim Wallach and Matt Williams. I have no idea if they are good canidates for the M’s or not.
    Also Alex hinted at the possibility “that having an established and respected manager in place would help in attracting the talent you desire.” Let’s see, Joe Girardi is out of the question, that leaves Charlie Manuel who is 69 and an east coast NL guy, no doesn’t look good. Any one want to take up a managers pool?

  12. Jason,

    Do you know if Brett Butler is a candidate? I know that if he was, he would be a dark horse but I think his credentials are there and he has managerial experience with Reno.

  13. I have heard the terms:
    “tireless worker”
    “advanced thinker”
    “creative mind”
    “great leader of men”

    I don’t KNOW any of these candidates, but this is what a handful of baseball people tell me about the candidates Mills, Wotus and Hale.

  14. “My favorites, based on what others in the game tell me, are, in order: Mills, Wotus, Hale.”

    What are the common traits these three have that leads you to this opinion?

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