We’re down to the last brushstrokes in this Mariners managerial search and could know something in the next 48 hours or so.
Chip Hale had his final interview with the Mariners today for their vacant manager’s spot. The Oakland Athletics bench coach came up to Seattle for that final chat with Mariners brass.
Lloyd McClendon, who managed the Pirates from 2001-2005, then served as hitting coach for the Detroit Tigers during a playoff-filled run, interviewed up here yesterday. McClendon flew home to Chicago this morning and I chatted with him briefly about it this afternoon.
Joey Cora was interviewed by the team last Wednesday and is currently at home in Miami. There are no plans to make him come up to Seattle for a second set of interviews. Nor are there plans for Rick Renteria, the bench coach for the San Diego Padres, to come up to Seattle either. Renteria is recovering from hip surgery at his California home and can’t travel. In Cora’s case, the former bench coach for Ozzie Guillen in Chicago and Miami is well-known to the Mariners and their higher-ups by now.
That leaves Tim Wallach, the Dodgers third base coach and longtime Montreal Expos star third baseman, as far as remaining interview candidates.
Once the Mariners get done with Wallach — likely tomorrow — they will be able to name their manager as early as Wednesday or Thursday.
The Mariners want their field boss in-place by week’s end because the GM and owners meetings start next week in Orlando and it would be nice to have a sense of who will be running things in the dugout before trade talks begin.
This decision really shouldn’t take much longer. After all, the Tigers saw Jim Leyland pull a surprise retirement announcement after the ALCS was done and already named his replacement — Brad Ausmus — this morning. The Mariners were one of the teams looking at Ausmus, but clearly, he preferred Detroit.
As for the remaining Mariners candidates, McClendon is the only one with prior managerial experience. Hale is a guy the Mariners have looked at extensively before. Wallach is considered a “star” amongst rising potential managerial candidates. Cora has knocked on this door before. Renteria is a relatively unknown candidate compared to the rest, but seems to have made an impression. The timing of his hip surgery could have been better, but we’ll see.