It appears the Mariners have decided to go with experience instead of a new face, and so Lloyd McClendon has won the manager job in Seattle, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal. The PBSJ isn't the most obvious source to break the news, but they're highly connected to the Mariners organization and aren't in the business of reporting unconfirmed rumors.
#Mariners will name Detroit Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon as their new manager, a source close to team says. Announcement soon.— PSBJ News (@PSBJ) November 5, 2013
Soon after, Jon Heyman confirmed the news.
McClendon comes over from Detroit, where he's been the hitting coach since 2007. McClendon managed the Pirates from 2001-2005, eventually getting fired. He didn't produce a winning ballclub, but he didn't have much to work with either.
McClendon marks the second consecutive re-tread manager hiring for the Mariners, and the third manager under Jack Zduriencik's regime.
McClendon was the least interesting candidate of the group of managers that were connected, simply because he's done it before. The Mariners did interview him the last time around before settling on Eric Wedge.
It would be unfair to judge McClendon solely on what he did a decade ago. He's absorbed a lot since then, and he's been a part of a very successful organization over the past several years, working under a legendary manager in Jim Leyland. He's a highly regarded hitting coach and was a candidate for the Tigers vacancy before it eventually went to Brad Ausmus.
McClendon was notorious for challenging umpires and fighting for his players in Pittsburgh, so Mariner fans looking for a bit more fire from their bench should be pleased. It's been over a decade, but here's what he said in 2002:
"I'm sure it's nothing intentional on their part. I certainly would never question their integrity. But it's human nature to relax a little and take something for granted. We've lost for so long that I think it's easy for umpires to lose respect for us and take us for granted. I've got to change that. If I get thrown out of 100 games, then I get thrown out of 100 games. I'm going to keep demanding a playing field that's equal for my players. I don't think it's wrong to demand the umpires' best effort every day."
McClendon also famously stole first base during an argument with umpires in 2001.
I don't know if Lloyd McClendon was a good manager before, or whether or not he'll be a good one now. Trying to evaluate managers is something that those who watch from afar can't do with any accuracy, and I'm not going to attempt to do it. He was the least intriguing of the available options, so of course that's who the Mariners chose. Retread city.