Wedge out, now what?
The Seattle Mariners execs get to do yet another managerial search this winter. Maybe this group is not the best at picking out major league managers, but they certainly are experienced given this will be their 8th manager search in just over 10 years. Does practice really make perfect?
Replacing a proven, experienced manager like Eric Wedge with someone who has major league experience given the state of the franchise is going to be difficult to say the least, unless you ask Jack Z.
“I think if you look at this organization and where we’re at, and what we’ve done here, it’ll be a very desirable job for a lot of good candidates,” Is what Jack Zduriencik said recently. Well, let’s just examine the facts, shall we?
Here are a few of the many obstacles that any candidate is going to have to accept and live with in order to be sitting in the dugout in Seattle come spring 2014.
Your boss, meaning the Mariners GM, Jack Zduriencik, only has 1 year left on his deal. That’s not exactly a lot of time to fix all of the issues the M’s currently have and if he gets let go, one has to think you go with him. There is a huge lack of major league talent currently signed.
You’ve got Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, and then……..? There isn’t a single proven bat, at any position, currently signed. The most consistent bat on the roster right now is Kyle Seager who just hit .260. Your ownership is a serious question mark.
Despite a statement from Nintendo to the contrary, the idea that the passing of Hiroshi Yamauchi raises no red flags as to who will ultimately run the Mariners going forward is just ludicrous.
Is all that enough to scare away quality managerial candidates? It just might.
The Candidates with major league experience
Charlie Manuel who was let go as skipper of the Phillies this fall is presumably available.
Manuel has the most experience managing in the majors of any candidate that the M’s could possibly look at with about 13 years at the helm of MLB teams. Manuel also has lots of time under his belt as a hitting instructor at the major league level.
We all know the M’s could use some of that. In addition to Philly, Charlie also managed the Cleveland Indians for two seasons and left in 2002 over a contract dispute.
A guy who reads is contract might not be a good choice for the M’s.
Just ask Eric Wedge.
Dale Sveum was just let go by the Chicago Cubs after serving as their manager for two seasons. He certainly doesn’t have Manuel’s experience as his two years in Chicago were his first two as a major league skipper. Sveum did serve in major league coaching roles with Milwaukee and Boston prior to landing his first skipper job in Chicago.
The Candidates without major league experience
Bryan Price is someone I expect will be looked at closely for one reason. He was a popular pitching coach in Seattle and the M’s love to bring guys back that the fans like. What better way to appease Seattle than to bring back a guy from that long since passed 2001 dream team?
Price has never managed at a professional level of baseball.
He’s served as a pitching coach with Seattle, Arizona and currently is with Cincinnati in the same role. Maybe he’s managed a little league team? Sticking with sappy returns of glory to the Emerald City the next guy you find is Joey Cora.
Cora of course signed with the Mariners in 1995 to play 2nd base and was huge part of the team that many believe saved baseball in Seattle. Few will ever forget Joey Cora crying in the arms of Alex Rodriguez after the 1995 ALCS loss to the Cleveland Indians.
After giving up his playing days, Cora managed in the minors for the NY Mets.
He was eventually hired to coach 3rd for the Chicago White Sox by his fiery friend Ozzie Guillen. Cora was promoted by Guillen to bench coach and followed Guillen in the same role to Miami.
Cora even filled in for him as manager during his frequent “absences” although Cora was never officially named as the manager for the White Sox or the Marlins. Cora has also spent time managing teams in the Venezuelan leagues.
Robby Thompson is the final name I’ll mention for now. Thompson was Eric Wedge’s bench coach this past season for Seattle.
Thompson took over the team as Manager when Wedge missed time with his stroke. Prior to his time in Seattle, Robby spent time as a first base coach in San Francisco and Cleveland. He went up to the front office in Cleveland for a while and then came back to the dugout as Cleveland’s bench coach.
Who do they choose?
When the dust settles, I believe the Mariners are going to go with Robby Thompson as their new manager.
It’s the option with the least number of transitional issues for a young team.
Besides, It’s also going to be just about their only choice because I don’t think any of these other guys are going to want the job for the issues I already brought up plus I don’t think the Mariners are going to want to give anyone they hire a very long contract.
The Seattle Mariners have really painted themselves into a corner this time.
How they get out of it without getting paint on their hands is going to be interesting to watch to say the least.