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October 29, 2008 at 4:42 PM

Benny Looper out

Mariners vice-president (player personnel) Benny Looper has opted to leave the organization. Looper spoke by phone with new Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik on Monday and was told he’d be reassigned to a professional scouting role covering major and minor league baseball in the center of the country.
“He told me he was bringing in his own people for supervisory roles,” said Looper, who would have been stripped of his VP title.
Looper had kept two residences, in Seattle and Oklahoma, over the years. But he sold his Seatte home two years ago and rented an apartment instead. The lease on that was up on Oct. 23 and he chose to let it expire and relocate to Oklahoma full-time to be closer to his family. He says he knew when he made that choice that the M’s might ultimately change his job, but had been prepared to make a case for staying in his current role.
He never got the chance.
Zduriencik told him right away that the pro scouting job was what he had for him. Two more phone conversations later, Looper told Zduriencik he was moving on.
“I think one of my greatest strengths is being able to work with people,” Looper said. “But in this role, I wouldn’t be doing that. I’d be on my own in one place for five days, then move on to another. I just thought it was best that I moved on at this time.”
Looper has known Zduriencik for 25 years.
“Jack’s a great baseball man,” Looper said. “He just wants his own people running things the way he wants them run and I can appreciate that.”
Looper spent 23 years with the Mariners in various capacities and was one of three finalists, along with Al Avila, for the team’s GM job that went to Bill Bavasi in 2003. His son, Aaron, also pitched for the Mariners in 2003. He says his dreams of becoming a GM are long done and he now wants to focus on areas of baseball where he feels most suited and comfortable working at.
“I’ll really miss Seattle,” he said. “There are a lot of great people up there that I had the chance to work with and I don’t regret any of it for a second. I had some great times up there and I will always remember them fondly.”
Looper is technically under contract until Nov. 1. He’ll wait and see whether he gets approached by another team in the next week or so, then start making his own calls if nothing develops.
In a release put out by the team, Zduriencik said: “As a part of the restructuring of the Mariners baseball operations department and in an attempt to upgrade our pro scouting efforts, with Benny relocating to Oklahoma he was offered a position in our Pro Scouting department. He has declined the opportunity and determined that it was time for him to move on. I had truly hoped he would stay with the organization, but respect his decision and, on behalf of everyone here, thank him for his many years of service to the Mariners.”



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