ADDITIONAL NOTE 4:12 p.m. PT: The Mariners have started to phone finalists for their managerial job to tell them that Lloyd McClendon got it and they did not. The team has also apologized to candidates for letting the news get out before telling the candidates first.
When I spoke to Lloyd McClendon on the phone about an hour ago, he said he still had not been contacted by the Mariners today despite a tweet put out by the Puget Sound Business Journal that he was being hired as the team’s manager. When I tried McClendon again five minutes ago, he’d stopped answering his phone.
#Mariners will name Detroit Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon as their new manager, a source close to team says. Announcement soon.
— PSBJ News (@PSBJ) November 5, 2013
The PBSJ has longstanding ties to the Mariners’ ownership, specifically CEO Howard Lincoln, so you can rest assured that their source for this is genuine. It was a pretty good scoop, too, since, as of a few minutes ago, the team had still not informed all of their finalists for the manager’s job that they were out of the running. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports has since confirmed that the move is happening.
So, indeed, it looks as if McClendon has become the team’s seventh manager since 2007, reprising a role he held with the Pittsburgh Pirates during the seasons 2001-2005.
This also deepens the team’s Pittsburgh connections. McClendon was a player with the Pirates in 1991-93 when Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik was Pittsburgh’s director of scouting. Ted Simmons, now an assistant to Zduriencik in Seattle, was the Pirates’ GM then as well.
McClendon has spent the past half-dozen seasons as a hitting coach with a perennial playoff contender in Detroit, so he’s certainly seen what a winning dugout looks like. But he is also going from a team with an on-field payroll that is roughly double what the Mariners had last season to a squad that has been in rebuilding mode the past five years. A whole lot has to happen to get this thing turned around quickly. Chances are, McClendon might be in for a bit of a wait.
It will be interesting to see who fills out the rest of McClendon’s staff. Tim Wallach, one of the finalists, was said to be a candidate for a bench coach position with the Mariners if he didn’t get the top job.