Tigers’ McClendon in Seattle for second interview
Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon was in Seattle on Sunday to interview a second time with Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik for the team’s vacant manager position, according to a source familiar with the Tigers’ own managerial search.
Zduriencik began conducting second interviews with a handful of finalists this weekend as Seattle zeroes in on a replacement for Eric Wedge, who stepped down at the end of September.
The other confirmed finalist so far is former Mariners second baseman Joey Cora, who was Ozzie Guillen’s bench coach for both the White Sox and Marlins.
UPDATE (1:45 p.m. PT): Now Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com is reporting that A’s bench coach Chip Hale has been asked to interview a second time as well, so that would make three confirmed finalists — Cora, McClendon and now Hale.
McClendon, 54, is the only candidate with previous Major League managing experience who has been publicly tied to the Mariners current opening, as he managed the Pirates from 2001-05.
McClendon had a 336-446 record in five years when Pittsburgh was in the midst of a 20-year run of losing seasons, then was immediately hired by Jim Leyland in Detroit and was regarded as a big part of the Tigers’ success as they reached the American League Championship Series four times and the World Series twice during his eight years.
McClendon previously interviewed with the Mariners in 2010 when they hired Wedge and was under consideration to replace Leyland this past week by the Tigers, who instead named former catcher Brad Ausmus as their new skipper on Sunday.
Ausmus’ hiring in Detroit leaves the Cubs and Mariners as the two remaining clubs with managerial openings, with the Reds having promoted pitching coach Bryan Price and the Nationals bringing in D-backs third base coach Matt Williams. None of the first three hires have any prior Major League managing experience.
Zduriencik initially interviewed about a dozen candidates in Phoenix over the past two weeks. The known candidates in the first round were Padres bench coach Rick Renteria, Giants bench coach Ron Wotus, Dodgers third-base coach Tim Wallach and former Mariners catcher and current broadcaster Dave Valle, along with McClendon, Cora, Ausmus and Hale.
McClendon hit .244 over an eight-year Major League career as an outfielder and first baseman with the Reds, Cubs and Pirates from 1987-94. He originally was drafted as a catcher out of Valparaiso University in the eighth round in 1980 by the Mets. After retiring as a player in 1994, the Indiana native was hired as hitting instructor by the Pirates and filled that job until becoming Pittsburgh’s manager in 2001.