Former big-league catcher Scott Servais has emerged as the leading candidate to become the Mariners’ next manager, according to multiple reports.
There was no confirmation from the Mariners. While such a move would reunite Servais with general manager Jerry Dipoto, sources told The News Tribune that, as of Thursday night, the job had not been offered to anyone.
Servais currently works for the Los Angeles Angels as assistant general manager for scouting and player development. It was Dipoto, while serving as the Angels’ general manager, who hired Servais as an assistant in 2011.
Fox Sports reported Servais as a "strong front-runner" for the Mariners’ managerial position. Shortly thereafter, MLB.com reported it was a "strong chance" that Servais would join the Mariners "probably" as manager.
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But sources told The News Tribune the Mariners were still conducting interviews Thursday at their offices. They also said Tim Bogar remained a strong candidate for the position.
One source said Dipoto hoped to hire Servais and Bogar, both 48, for next year’s on-field staff. If so, one would presumably serve as bench coach.
When Dipoto resigned in July from the Angels, Servais interviewed for the job, which eventually went to New York Yankees assistant general manager Billy Eppler.
Many industry insiders expected Servais to follow Dipoto to the Mariners in a front-office capacity, perhaps as the director of the organization’s farm system.
But Dipoto filled that vacancy earlier this week by hiring Andy McKay, who spent the last three years at Colorado as that organization’s mental-skills coach.
Servais recently indicated a preference to shift from front-office duties to managing and was one of five identified candidates under consideration by Dipoto to replace Lloyd McClendon, who was fired on Oct. 9.
Bogar is also a former Dipoto assistant with the Angels and has been generally viewed as the favorite throughout the search process.
Dipoto hired Bogar a year ago as a special assistant to the general manager in Anaheim after Bogar failed to get the managerial job in Texas. Bogar closed 2014 as the Rangers’ interim manager.
The other known candidates for the Mariners’ job are Phil Nevin, Charlie Montoyo and Jason Varitek.
Nevin spent the last two years as the manager of Triple-A Reno in the Arizona system. Montoyo served last season at Tampa Bay’s third-base coach after eight years as the manager at Triple-A Durham.
Varitek works as a special assistant to the Boston general manager.
Servais played 11 years in the big leagues from 1991-2001 with Houston, the Chicago Cubs, San Francisco and Colorado.
Once he retired, Servais worked in 2003-04 as the Cubs’ roving minor-league catching instructor before switching to Colorado in 2005 as a professional scout.
Texas hired Servais in 2006 as its senior director of player development, and he remained in that role until he joined the Angels less than a week after Dipoto became general manager.
Bogar is a former infielder who played for three big-league teams in a nine-year career from 1993-2001. He compiled a .228/.298/.332 slash in 701 games for the New York Mets, Houston and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
He began his minor-league managing career in 2004 and spent two years each in the Houston and Cleveland systems before joining Tampa Bay’s big-league staff in 2008.
Bogar spent 2009-12 on the Boston staff before joining Angels’ system in 2013, under Dipoto, as manager at Double-A Arkansas. He was hired by the Rangers in 2013 to serve as their bench coach.