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Report: Mariners narrow GM search to final two candidates

And, well, hey it looks like this may be going fairly well.

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If you will click right here you will be taken to the "News and notes" article by one Jon Heyman, CBS baseball reporter of renown and Twitter fame. It's a longish article and the lede is buried. You are a busy and important person (seriously, you've done great work this week. You're almost done! Good job!) so let me get you right to the pertinent information:

Ex-Angels manager Jerry Dipoto and Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler are believed to be the finalists for the GM job, with second interviews coming. Mariners interim GM Jeff Kingston, Blue Jays exec Dana Brown and others have been interviewed at least once ...

We've already said we're totally cool with Dipoto, for his seeming intelligence, regard within the indsutry, forward thinking and ability add yet another reason to enjoy beating the Angels. We haven't talked much about Eppler, but he's a well regarded "up and comer" in the ranks of baseball. This article from True Blue LA has some helpful background on the Yankee Asst. GM, including that he was originally hired by the Bombers as the Assistant to the Traveling Secretary* and has been with the organization for over 10 years.

In fact, Eppler was considered by many as the front runner for the hated rivals San Diego Padres' GM position before they settled on 5-time fantasy baseball champion AJ Preller. Eppler chose to remain very zen about the whole thing (again, from the True Blue LA article):

"Oddly, I’m not upset," Eppler told Feinsand. "Maybe if I did something and had a misstep, I would be disappointed in myself. I think the baseball gods didn’t feel like it was my time to leave the Yankees."

One interesting note on Eppler is that in addition to holding the assistant general manager position he has oversight over the entire pro scouting department, a position currently held in Seattle by Tom Allison. Big changes appear to be coming.

We'll obviously be keeping a very close eye on this as it develops. While everyone has favorite candidates and ideas for the best direction for the franchise I find it hard to not be encouraged. Both Jerry Dipoto are Billy Eppler are younger, highly regarded executives. Dipoto is almost universally believed to have been removed from the Angels position not for poor performence but for not continuing to robo-sign Arte Moreno's massive free agent checks or correctly folding Mike Scioscia's underwear. Both men appear to be ticketed for a general manager position somewhere in the very near future. Now, it appears one is likely to land in Seattle.

Equally encouraging is that, while there were a lot of initial rumors about the Mariners hiring an experienced GM, the names that invoke the biggest cringes - Kenny Williams, Frank Wren, etc.  - have been notably absent from the process for some time. Kevin Mather appears, so far, to be doing a fine job in his first major decision as Mariners' President. We'll keep watching for more.

*Cotton uniforms forever