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Seattle manager search won’t get rolling yet

October 4, 2013

SEATTLE (AP) — The process of finding a new manager for the Seattle Mariners probably won’t get rolling for another week to 10 days, general manager Jack Zduriencik said Friday.

It’ll be the third time in his short tenure as the Mariners GM that Zduriencik will be searching for a new field manager. Zduriencik said he’s still in the process of gathering the names of those who have reached out and shown interest and those whom the Mariners want to speak with, and teams in the playoffs could also affect his timeline.

“Until we get to a point where I feel comfortable with all of the names that we have and maybe some of the clubs are out of the playoffs we might have interest in, I won’t even begin the process,” Zduriencik said.

Zduriencik didn’t expect to be in this position. As of a few weeks ago, Zduriencik had planned on spending the first week after the season down at instructional league in Arizona getting a look at some of Seattle’s top young prospects.

Instead he’s preparing for a third managerial search since he arrived as Seattle’s GM in 2008 and to hire the eighth manager or interim manager for the franchise since 2002. Former manager Eric Wedge announced last week that he would not return in 2014, citing differences of opinion with Seattle’s front office on the Mariners rebuilding process.

“I think we have a little better feel for what we’re looking for now because we’ve been here,” Zduriencik said. “We know what we have on the field, we know where we’re going in terms of the type of club I think we’re going to have.”

Wedge was a specific hire that Zduriencik made before the 2011 season to replace Don Wakamatsu, who was fired during the 2010 season. Seattle knew it was going to be fully engaged in rebuilding around young prospects and Wedge had a record of success with that process in Cleveland. Zduriencik said he intends to be open-minded in the process and that it doesn’t matter if a potential candidate has previous major league managerial experience or not.

“We’re wide open to all of it. I don’t want to box our thinking in,” Zduriencik said. “I just think more than anything else you have to look at the ball club, look where you are at and what type of manager could come in right now and feel very comfortable with this group of players, as well as suggestions if you will, and it will all play itself out.”

Seattle went 71-91 and Wedge essentially quit on his chance to continue with the Mariners’ rebuilding process rather than stick it out with what he considered a difficult working situation. Wedge finished his three seasons in charge at 213-273. Seattle went a 12th straight season without reaching the playoffs and continued to look up at Oakland, Texas and the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West standings.

Whoever comes in will need time. Zduriencik is optimistic about some of Seattle’s young prospects and Seattle has a solid pitching rotation anchored by Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma, but there are still considerable questions and holes in the Mariners lineup.

“Every search is different because times are different. The club on the field is different,” Zduriencik said. “Those involved in the search, we’ve been here a long time together. We’ve had a lot of dialogue over the course of the last few years about a lot of things so it all ties into it.”

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