Seattle Mariners Managerial Merry Go Round

Who’s Next?

If you want to be a cab driver in the United States, you can probably find a job given that there are over 170,000 cab driver jobs in the country.  If you want to be a Major League Baseball Manager, it’s a tougher gig to land.  There are only 30 such positions in the whole world.

With only 30 such positions one would assume that the competition for an opening would be incredibly high.  The Seattle Mariners have such an opening after parting ways with Lloyd McClendon after two seasons.  Who are the best candidates to fill the M’s open position?

Perhaps the better question is, would the best candidates to fill the position want the one position of 30, which happens to be in Seattle?

To put it kindly, the Mariners have had more than their fair share of managers since Seattle was awarded the expansion Mariners franchise in 1977.  Look at the list.  There are 19 of them in the 39 seasons.  That means these guys only lasted two seasons each, on average.

Sweet Lou is the benchmark by which all M's managers will be graded.

Sweet Lou is the benchmark by which all M’s managers will be graded.

1977-1980  Darrell Johnson

1980-1981  Maury Wills

1981-1983  Rene Lachemann

1983-1984  Del Crandall

1984-1986  Chuck Cottier

1986-1986  Marty Martinez

1986-1988  Dick Williams

1988-1988  Jim Snyder

1989-1991  Jim Lefebvre

1992-1992  Bill Plummer

1993-2002  Lou Piniella

2003-2004  Bob Melvin

2005-2007  Mike Hargrove

2007-2008  John McLaren

2008-2008  Jim Riggleman

2009-2010  Don Wakamatsu

2010-2010  Daren Brown

2011-2013  Eric Wedge

2014-2015  Lloyd McClendon

A couple of things jump out at me on this list.  Other than the Mariners propensity for hiring guys named Jim to manage the club, if you take out Piniella, who managed the club for 10 seasons, that 2 season average drops to 1.6 seasons per manager.

That’s 18 managers in 29 years.  Maybe, just maybe, the problem isn’t the guy calling the shots in the dugout.

Never the less, the Mariners are going to hire a new manager, probably within the next week or so.  While new Mariners GM, Jerry Dipoto hasn’t officially named any finalists, here’s a look at what is likely his short list.

1994_jason_varitekJason Varitek

A candidate that has popped up on the radar is former Mariners and Red Sox catcher, Jason Varitek.  You most likely will remember Varitek as a Mariner only because he was part of a trade package that the M’s sent to Boston in one of the worst deals in their entire franchise history.

The M’s sent Varitek along with pitcher Derek Lowe to the Red Sox for one closer named Heathcliff Slocumb.  Varitek turned into a solid, everyday catcher and team captain for the Sox.  Lowe was a solid starter and reliever in his time as well.  The M’s got a year and half of crap out of Slocumb.

Varitek has no managerial experience to speak of at any level of baseball but he was a catcher, and one of the smartest baseball has ever seen.  It’s not a stretch to think he can do the job.  The big concern would be, does he really want the job?

Since his departure from Seattle in 1997, Varitek has put down strong roots in Boston.  I just don’t see him leaving Bean Town although I’d certainly welcome the idea.

Raul Ibanez and Dan Wilson

Both Raul Ibanez and Dan Wilson are names any Mariners fan will recognize.  The former outfielder and former catcher for the M’s are both well-liked by fans, smart enough to do the job well, and have absolutely no managerial experience what so ever.

If your goals is to sell tickets, putting Wilson and/or Ibanez in the dugout alongside hitting coach Edgar Martinez, well then you have the perfect choices all figured out. 

The romantic in me wants this coaching staff in the dugout.  These are all guys I grew up emulating as a high school and college player but I just fear it wouldn’t work out.

Guess what happens if it doesn’t work out?  I get to write and you get to read a headline that says the Seattle Mariners fire Edgar Martinez, Dan Wilson and Raul Ibanez.  Talk about a gut punch.

Realistically, It's Bogar's job to lose at this point.

Realistically, It’s Bogar’s job to lose at this point.

Tim Bogar

Here’s the leading candidate–  Tim Bogar.  Bogar actually has some managerial experience, although it was as interim manager of the Texas Rangers when he was promoted to the top dog in the dugout following Ron Washington’s resignation.

Bogar also has considerable experience managing in the minor leagues.  He started his managerial career in 2004 with the Greeneville Astros of the Rookie-level Appalachian League. Greeneville finished with a 41–26 (.612) record and won the Appalachian League championship and Bogar was selected as manager of the year. He was promoted in 2005 to the Astros’ low Class-A affiliate, the Lexington Legends of the South Atlantic League, where he led the Legends to a league best 82–57 mark and was named the 2005 SAL’s top skipper.

Minor league accolades aside, Bogar’s best trait to get the M’s managerial job might be the fact that he’s Jerry Dipoto’s buddy.  Yup, the two are close, close enough that when Bogar didn’t wind up with the Rangers managerial job permanently, Dipoto hired him to be a special assistant to the GM in the Angels organization.

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.  It always seems to come back to that doesn’t it?

The question now is, Will Bogar buck the trend and make the M’s a winner or will be having this discussion again in 1.6 seasons?

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About Brian Scott

Husband, Philosopher, Animal Rights Advocate, and Author Brian is a Spokane native and Gonzaga University grad. Seahawks, Mariners, GU Hoops and Cougar football are the teams that drive his passion for sports. You can catch him on twitter too! Connect with Brian today!
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