Mariners Interview Jason Varitek for Managerial Vacancy
The Seattle Mariners search for a new skipper took an interesting turn on Tuesday morning. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports is reporting that the M’s have interviewed Jason Varitek for their managerial vacancy.
Jason Varitek played 15 seasons in the big leagues, winning a pair of World Series titles with the Boston Red Sox. Long considered one of the smartest catchers in the game, Varitek served as the captain of the Sox for 7 seasons. He represented the BoSox at three All Star Games, finishing with a career .256/.341/.435 slash line.
Varitek had his best season for the Red Sox in 2005. As a 33-year-old, the veteran backstop hit .281 with 22 home runs and 70 RBI. He won a Silver Slugger for his remarkable performance, and was awarded with the Gold Glove following the season. Varitek was an All Star in 2005, and finished 21st in MVP voting.
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It would be a homecoming of sorts for Jason Varitek if the Mariners opted to hire him. The Georgia Tech alum was drafted by Seattle in the first round of the 1994 draft. Varitek was involved in one of the worst trades in club history when he and Derek Lowe were sent to the Red Sox at the 1997 trade deadline for Heathcliff Slocumb. Varitek and Lowe helped end the Curse of the Great Bambino in Boston, while Slocumb spent a couple of unproductive months in a Mariners’ uniform.
Former Red Sox GM Ben Cherington hired Varitek in 2012 to be a special assistant to the GM. However, it is unclear how Varitek fits into the Dave Dombrowski front office. The Altamonte Springs, FL product has been hesitant to leave the Boston area where his children live. Moving across the country seems unlikely, but he must be interested enough in the opportunity to take the interview.
It is worth noting that Jerry Dipoto briefly worked with Varitek in Boston. After stepping down this past July in Anaheim, Dipoto was hired by Cherington to serve as a special assistant to the GM with the Red Sox. Dipoto was only in Boston for a month, but he could have easily developed a relationship with Varitek.
Tim Bogar is still considered the favorite for the job, and he seems like the right fit in Seattle. Bogar is very experienced, having managed five seasons in the minor leagues and spent numerous years as a coach at the big league level. He is also close with Dipoto, which could be a deciding factor.
Alex Cora and Charlie Montoyo have also been connected to the Mariners’ manager job. I’m still holding out hope that Dipoto interviews Dan Wilson and Joey Cora in the coming weeks. Wilson is Seattle’s version of Varitek, and is one of the most respected men in M’s history. Joey is one of the most beloved Mariners’ of all time, and is a veteran big league coach.
Jason Varitek’s name being connected to the M’s is likely to generate some national buzz. Varitek managing the Mariners is an exciting thought, but there are a few concerns that force me to pump the brakes. Varitek has zero managerial experience and has never coached at any level. Seattle is built to win now, and they cannot afford to waste time waiting for Varitek to find his comfort zone.
However, I would be very happy if Dipoto and his staff decide that Varitek is the best option. He was a superb leader as a player, and I have no doubt that he will be a quality skipper. Varitek is a prominent figure in baseball, and it would be nice to have a person like that in the Mariners’ dugout.
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