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August 12, 2010 at 1:34 PM

Bobby Valentine reportedly would be interested in Mariner job

valentine.jpg

(Here is today’s minor-league report).

(Bobby Valentine is pictured as manager of the Chiba Lotte Marines before a Japan Series game against the Hanshin Tigers in October, 2005. Photo by Associated Press)

One of the first names to surface in speculation about replacement candidates for the fired Don Wakamatsu was former Rangers and Mets manager Bobby Valentine.

Valentine is not commenting, but friends of Valentine say that it is a job that he would be greatly interested in.

Valentine, who turned 60 in May (I erroneously listed his age as 62 in a previous post), is currently an analyst for ESPN, a job he has held since ending his stint as manager of the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan after the 2009 season.

Valentine’s name is invariably brought up every time there is a managerial opening, and in late June, after pulling his name out of consideration for the Orioles opening, he appeared on the verge of being hired to replace the fired Fredi Gonzalez as manager of the Florida Marlins. But the talks fell apart and the Marlins kept interim manager Edwin Rodriguez.

“If this is a major-league process, I hope I’m never in the process again,” Valentine said on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight. “It’s very disturbing, confusing and it was insulting at times, but it’s over.”

There has been considerable speculation that Valentine could be a candidate to return to the Mets if they fire Jerry Manuel, and he recently said he would be interested in the Cubs’ opening after Lou Piniella retires at the end of the season.

“Anyone who thinks of himself as a manager would love to be considered as one of the people who might take his place,” Valentine told the New York Daily News.

However, someone familiar with Valentine’s thinking said Valentine believes the Mariners job “is among the most appealing jobs in baseball” despite the current turmoil.

Valentine has had clashes with management throughout his career but turned around a struggling Rangers team, won a National League pennant with the Mets in 2000 and a Japanese championship with the Marines in 2005.

He has not managed in the majors since he was fired by the Mets after the 2002 season. Valentine has indicated he doesn’t want to take over a team in midseason because he is still learning the current major-league players. He wants a full spring training with his new team.

The Mariners appear to be looking for an experienced manager to follow first-timer Wakamatsu, and Valentine has 15 years in the majors, plus two stints in Japan, under his belt. The question is whether they would go for a strong-willed – some would say abrasive — candidate like Valentine. He reportedly has a good relationship with Jack Zduriencik, who was the Mets director of minor league operations when Valentine was managing at Triple-A in the Mets farm system.

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