(I originally had “Marlins” instead of “Florida” in the headline, but it looks too much like “Mariners” on first glance, and I didn’t want to startle people).
This is a potentially significant development in the Mariners’ managerial search: Tim Kurkjian of ESPN reports that Bobby Valentine has withdrawn his name from consideration for the Marlins managerial opening. According to this story on MLB.com, Valentine was offered the job but turned it down.
This can be interpreted in two ways. One is as a sign that something is heating up for Valentine elsewhere. He interviewed with the Mariners on Monday, and has also talked to Toronto officials about the Blue Jays opening. His name continues to be linked to the Mets’ vacancy, but that’s considered a longshot considering his messy departure from that job in 2002.
UPDATE 10:30 P.M.: I was out tonight and didn’t see this until now, but Valentine is now being linked to the Brewers opening as well.
The other interpretation is that the same dynamics that led to Valentine abruptly pulling out of the Marlins search in June have surfaced again. At the time, Valentine criticized the Marlins’ process. “It’s very disturbing, confusing, and it was insulting at times. But it’s over,” he said at the time on Baseball Tonight. “If this is a major-league process, I hope I’m never in the process again.”
That’s why it was somewhat surprising earlier this week when his name re-emerged as the frontrunner for the Marlins opening.
But now he’s officially out of the running in Miami, opening the door much wider for the Mariners to make a strong pursuit of Valentine if they so choose.