It is officially unofficial: the Seattle Mariners have the search for their next manager down to five candidates: Padres bench coach Rick Renteria; Dodgers third-base coach Tim Wallach; former Mariners second baseman Joey Cora (and righthand man to Ozzie Guillen); A’s bench coach Chip Hale; and Tigers hitting coach and former Pirates skipper Lloyd McClendon.
As of right now, General Manager Jack Zduriencik is conducting the second series of interviews with these five leading candidates, all poised to replace manager Eric Wedge who surprisingly stepped down at the end of the season.
According to baseball sources, Renteria is also deep in the running for the Chicago Cubs managerial position, the only other vacant hot-seat in baseball. And because Renteria recently underwent surgery, he will be the only one of the five finalists not conducting their second interview in Seattle.
Here, in brief because you have seen it dozens of times before in recent weeks, is a quick resume for each of these potential managers:
Rick Renteria is 51 years old and has worked for the Padres’ staff the last six years, the past three as the bench coach. He also managed Mexico in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. He has been in the Padres’ organization since 2003, and has years of experience as a minor league manager in Triple-A Portland among others. Renteria spend 43 games with the Mariners from 1987-1988.
Chip Hale is 48 years old and spent six seasons as a manager in the D-backs’ Minor League organization. He was Pioneer League and Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year before joining Bob Melvin (former M’s skipper) as the third-base coach and infield coach in Arizona from 2007-09. In 2010-11 he worked for the Mets as a third-base coach before finding Melvin again in Oakland as his bench coach.
Tim Wallach is 56 years old and had a pretty good career as a player: five-time All-Star and a three-time Gold Glove Award winner as a third baseman for the Montreal Expos and later with the Dodgers and Angels in a 17-year career. He has been the Dodgers’ third-base coach the last three seasons, and was the Pacific Coast League manager of the year in 2009 with Triple-A Albuquerque. He was also a hitting coach for the Dodgers from 2004-2005.
Lloyd McClendon is 54 years old and is only candidate with previous MLB manager experience. He was 336-446 from 2001-2005 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Since being hired by Jim Leyland in Detroit, McClendon has been a major cog in the machine that has been the successful Detroit Tigers franchise.
Joey Cora is 48 years old and played for the Mariners from 1995-98 during an 11-year Major League career. He was on Ozzie Guillen’s staff with the White Sox and Marlins from 2004-12 spending the last eight years as a bench coach.
Who do you think it will be? Who do you want it to be?
I for one don’t really know too much about any of these guys, but going with my gut (which is correct 90% of the time every time) I think it will come down to Hale or McClendon, with the job ultimately going to Lloyd.
Regardless, the M’s should act fast to hire a new manager so that the excitement that is the MLB offseason can get underway in the Pacific Northwest. Cause let’s face it, the Mariners have a lot of work to do.