Mariners Insider Blog

Dipoto fires McClendon as Mariners’ manager, several coaches also fired

Seattle Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon talks with players in the dugout during a game on July 10, 2015, in Seattle. Reports indicate that McClendon’s tenure with the Mariners is over.
Seattle Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon talks with players in the dugout during a game on July 10, 2015, in Seattle. Reports indicate that McClendon’s tenure with the Mariners is over. The Associated Press

SEATTLE — Those get-acquainted sessions between new Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto and manager Lloyd McClendon apparently didn’t go well.

At least not well enough.

Dipoto fired McClendon and several coaches Friday in his latest move to overhaul an organization that hasn’t reached postseason since 2001.

"After extensive conversations," Dipoto said, "it became clear to me that our baseball philosophies were not closely aligned."

Dipoto declined to provide specifics.

"In the end," he said, "I just didn’t feel like it was a very good match between Lloyd and I. I respect his baseball. I admire his professionalism for having the players play hard through the final day. I told him so.

"He’s a good baseball man and an honorable person. I thanked him for his time with the Mariners, and now it’s time for us to look forward."

The Mariners plan to retain hitting coach Edgar Martinez and infield coach Chris Woodward on their big-league staff and will offer other positions in the organization to pitching coach Rick Waits and coach Chris Prieto.

But bench coach Trent Jewett, third-base coach Rich Donnelly, outfield coach Andy Van Slyke and bullpen coach Mike Rojas will not return.

McClendon said he had not spoken with Dipoto since Monday before receiving a phone call Friday that he would not return for the final season of his three-year contract.

"I wish the Seattle Mariners the best," McClendon said, "and I want to thank everyone connected with the organization for my time there. The Seattle fans are great, and they deserve a winner.

"I think this team is on the way to being a winner. Unfortunately, I won’t be there when it happens, but I take pride in knowing they’re better than when I got there."

Speculation regarding a replacement is already focusing on Tim Bogar, whom Dipoto hired a year ago, while general manager of the Los Angeles Angels, to serve as a special assistant in his front office.

Bogar, 48, is a former big-league infielder, who stepped in as interim manager of the Texas Rangers for the final 22 games in 2014. He was Dipoto’s teammate in 1995-96 on the New York Mets.

Former San Diego manager Bud Black is also viewed as a possibility.

Dipoto said he already has a short list of candidates — "I’m not likely to share it at any time soon" — and will start the search process immediately.

"We will look to discuss possibilities with other teams around league as the contract season draws to an end," he said. "I know a lot of people in baseball; people who understand me and trust the style."

Most non-playing contracts in baseball run through Oct. 31.

Dipoto said he wants someone with a major-league background as a player, coach or manager.

"I think that lends to credibility in a clubhouse," he said. "Other than that, it’s going to be about leadership, about team-building and about the ability to inspire an environment."

Dipoto downplayed his reputation for having an analytics-driven approach but agreed he wants a manager who is receptive to such information.

That’s no surprise.

Dipoto’s resignation on July 1 as the Angels general manager after three-plus years stemmed, at least in part, from friction with manager Mike Scioscia over the application of analytical analysis.

"I like for everyone to use information in a positive way," Dipoto said. "Critical thinking and decision-making are important. And you can’t make those decisions without the information.

"Through the course of a baseball game, it is not all about the data you’re provided and it’s not all about what you’re seeing with your eyes. It’s somewhere in-between.

"A prerequisite is to find someone who has the ability to balance those two things in an effective way."

Dipoto said, when hired Sept. 28 by the Mariners, that he wanted to get to know McClendon before reaching a decision. Dipoto hedged when asked what those discussions revealed.

"I’m not going to get into any criticism of him as a person or a manager," he said. "I learned that I like Lloyd a great deal…At the end of the day, this was an opportunity to come into an organization and create a vision.

"I feel this is the best way to do that."

McClendon, 56, compiled a 163-161 record in his two years, which means he joins Lou Piniella as the only managers in franchise history to compile a winning record.

But the Mariners struggled to a disappointing 76-86 record this season after being touted in spring training as a strong postseason contender.

Dipoto said he planned to use October to reshape his staff and has moved quickly to do so.

Chris Gwynn resigned Thursday as the director of player development, and the Mariners previously confirmed three other top front-office officials would not return: Ted Simmons, Pete Vuckovich and Joe McIlvaine.

Simmons was a senior advisor to the general manager; Vuckovich and McIlvaine served as special assistants to the general manager.

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