Mariners Have A Manager, What About Rainiers?

Yesterday the Seattle Mariners named Lloyd McClendon the 16th “fulltime” manager in franchise history. McClendon has previous managing experience with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and most recently he was Jim Leyland‘s hitting coach in Detroit.

I don’t really have an opinion on McClendon’s hiring. The Mariners struggles in recent seasons have had nothing to do with the manager, and everything to do with the talent on the field – which the manager does not control.

There is lots of stuff to read about McClendon in the links down below.

Now that the Mariners have filled the top spot, they have work to do in the minors. The Rainiers don’t currently have a manager – let’s take some guesses, and handicap the field.

Tacoma Manager Candidates

Jim Pankovits – the manager of the Mariners Double-A Jackson affiliate has been there for three years, and he’s in line for a promotion. Odds: 3 to 1.

Daren Brown – the man who has started the past seven seasons as Tacoma manager keeps getting promoted mid-season. I was hoping he would get the Mariners manager job, and now I’m hoping he gets a spot on the major league coaching staff. However, if that doesn’t happen he could be right back in his office at 2502 S. Tyler. Odds: 9 to 2.

The Field – this is everybody not listed, or alternately “some former Mets or Brewers employee who Jack Zduriencik trusts.” This is one of the most important parts of the Triple-A manager’s job: Jack Z has to trust the opinion of the skipper, when it comes to determining if a player is ready to get called up. Brown told me when he was Tacoma manager he talked to Jack Z almost every day – and when he was major league third base coach, he hardly ever talked to him. Don’t be surprised if the next Rainiers manager comes from outside the organization. Odds: 5 to 1.

John Stearns – the Rainiers “interim” manager after Brown was promoted last year, Stearns told me after the season he was going back to his previous duty as roving catching instructor. However, he could be asked to manage Tacoma again. Odds: 8 to 1.

Chris Woodward – the former Rainiers infielder retired after the 2012 season, and served last year as the minor league infield coach. Woody wants to manage and I think he’ll get the opportunity. However, he’ll probably have to start out in the low minors – although he has a ton of PCL experience and should be able to handle the players here. Odds: 12 to 1.

Scott Steinmann – served as Stearns bench coach after the mid-season shake-up last year. Steinmann has filled just about every role in the Mariners minor league system, but last season was his first in the upper levels of the organization. Odds: 15 to 1.

Jack Howell – currently the Mariners field coordinator, Howell oversees much of the Mariners minor league program. He’s a longshot simply because I’m not sure if he wants to manage – but we’ll list him, because he’s in the picture. Odds: 100 to 1.

Brian Sweeney – the consummate professional and ultimate Rainier, let’s bring in The PCL Dream as a player-manager! Odds: 2,500 to 1.

Roger Hansen – a former PCL player and longtime minor league instructor, the crusty Hansen has been working as a special assignment scout in the Mariners office. He could be asked to manage in Tacoma, which woild be quite a surprise. Odds: 1,000,000 to 1.

We should start to get a good idea which way this is going to go once McClendon’s coaching staff is announced.

The first Mariners Top Prospects list came out today, courtesy of Baseball Prospectus. They are a subscription-based site and their list has a ton of information about the players, and a farm system overview.

If you are a subscriber, you can read it all right here.

Here is their Top-10:

  1. RHP Taijuan Walker
  2. 1B D.J. Peterson
  3. LHP James Paxton
  4. RHP Victor Sanchez
  5. RHP Edwin Diaz
  6. LHP Luiz Gohara
  7. SS Chris Taylor
  8. LHP Tyler Pike
  9. Tyler Marlette
  10. OF Gabriel Guerrero

It’s a big change from last year’s list, due to the graduation of upper-level prospects. Seven of the ten players could begin the 2014 season in Class-A. Only three have a chance of appearing in Tacoma next season: Walker, Paxton, and Taylor. Hopefully Walker and Paxton are in the big leagues instead – we’ll almost certainly see Chris Taylor in Tacoma.

The official list of minor league free agents was published by Baseball America, and several 2013 Rainiers players are currently on the open market.

They are: pitchers Brian Sweeney and Jonathan Arias, catcher Jason Jaramillo, infielder Leury Bonilla, and outfielders Joe Dunigan and Denny Almonte.


That’s it for this week – the next blog update will be on Tuesday.

* I disagree with their rankings – Green Chone Figgins is ranked way too low; that’s easily a Top-5 shirsey.

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