"If I had to make a decision today I would lean towards someone with experience, but you have to let the process unfold," he said. "I don't want to box myself in and say that is absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt what has to be because I do think you would limit yourself. But I do think that is the criteria we start with."
According to the scouting grapevine, White Sox bench coach Joey Cora has emerged as a strong candidate for the Seattle managing job.
What do Cora and Ted Simmons have in common? They are managerial virgins. At least, in the Major Leagues. Cora has managed in the minors and in the Venezuelan Winter League, but it's safe to say the egos probably aren't the same.
Of course, experience is only one of several things Zduriencik is looking for, and the fact that neither Simmons nor Cora has ever managed in the bigs isn't enough for me to disqualify them as interesting candidates. They've both been around the game for a while. They've both worked in the dugout. They've both spent several years playing. Experience isn't an attribute on its own. The attribute is the ability to lead and communicate, and Simmons and Cora may very well be able to prove their worth in an interview.
It's easy to be cynical about Cora and complain that the Mariners just continue to cycle through 1995 nostalgia, but the man is a serious candidate. He's been around White Sox teams that failed. He's been around White Sox teams that succeeded. He's been around White Sox teams with clubhouse concerns, and he's been around White Sox teams that overcame them. He was with the Sox when they won the World Series. He's spent the better part of a decade working with or next to Ozzie Guillen. Joey Cora wouldn't just be a PR move. Joey Cora could be a good big league manager, and the M's are going to give him his due consideration.
It's worth noting that Felix absolutely loves the guy, which could never be bad. As the number of Latin players on the roster continues to dwindle, installing a Puerto Rican as manager wouldn't be the worst idea in the world. Jose Lopez has one foot out the door. Felix is going to need a new friend.
We'll see what happens. There are plenty more candidates to be named. Some of them will be experienced, and some of them will not. All I know for sure is that none of them will be Don Wakamatsu.