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November 10, 2008 at 4:26 PM

Riggleman, veteran candidates, out of running

Spoke to Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik moments ago, via conference call, and he confirmed that Jim Riggleman was told he’s out of the running for the team’s vacant managerial post. Zduriencik also has not had any recent conversations with Willie Randolph or Ned Yost. He said he hopes the current list of seven interviewees will be enough for him to cull a new manager off of.
“A this moment in time, I don’t intend to reach out to anyone else,” he said.
So, what happens now?
Zduriencik expects to take the rest of this week to interview remaining candidates.
Brad Mills went today, meeting for 2 1/2 hours with Zduriencik. The pair had lunch, then got down to questions.
Mills feels the organization is looking for someone with “a lot of energy” and “a lot of knowledge” and “a guy who’s done it before.”
By “done it” he means win while working for another team. By that criteria, John McLaren sounds like he would have been an ideal candidate. Obviously, not everything works out the way it’s drawn up in a blueprint.
Joey Cora goes tomorrow morning. Chip Hale is in the afternoon.
Don Wakamatsu goes on Wednesday…and so on.
After that, Zduriencik may or may not invite one or two candidates back for a second interview. In other words, he could have his man by early next week. Zduriencik said it was somewhat of a coincidence that his final list consists entirely of first-time hopefuls. He says he spoke to plenty of veteran managers and was open-minded to including them in his final list. But in the end, this is what he came up with.
“These people have been recommended by guys that I hold in high esteem,” Zduriencik said.
Ultimately, he added, leadership abilities and a winning track record is something he’s looking for and something that all of these candidates have in common.
“And they probably go hand-inhand,” he said.
Then, almost as an afterthought, he threw in that he’d probably like “guys who can handle major league players.”
Oh yes, that. As we saw this year, those players can be a pain when things go bad. My feeling is, this surprising, perhaps welcome, direction the Mariners are taking with their managerial search could soon signal more of a youth movement within the team than many of us expected. We’ll see. Zduriencik says not to read too much into things and that he wants to win as soon as possible. But any team wants that. The Mariners, under McLaren and later Riggleman, had trouble getting their players to perform at times. A brand new manager, first-time on-the-job, might find it easier to break in with younger players still in the impressionable stage. And the M’s, as we know, have several veteran players poised to possibly leave the team within the next year or so. After today, I fully expect to see most of them go.



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