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Thursday, October 14, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.

Mariners
The Mariners' experiment

By Bob Finnigan
Seattle Times staff reporter

Terry Collins, left, and Joe Maddon both managed in Anaheim for Mariners general manager Bill Bavasi.
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With their list of managerial candidates, according to sources, down to single digits and with several interviews reportedly already held in Arizona, the Mariners are in the process of hiring John Boles.

However, Boles, who managed the Florida Marlins in 1996 after Rene Lachemann was fired and in 1999-2001 after Jim Leyland left, is not a potential manager for Seattle.

Boles, who recently resigned as a special adviser to baseball operations for the Dodgers, will join with Dan Evans, former Los Angeles general manager, to help Mariners GM Bill Bavasi rebuild the Mariners.

Given Bavasi's trend of hiring men with whom he had a good relationship in his previous positions with Anaheim and L.A., it would appear that Terry Collins and Joe Maddon might be the top candidates for manager. The Mariners hope to have the search completed in 10 days.

Collins recently worked with Bavasi in the Dodgers organization and previously managed for him with Anaheim, as did Maddon, who has been Angels interim manager three times, including September 1999, when he took them to a 19-10 mark after Collins resigned.

While not getting into specifics, Bavasi acknowledged at his postseason news conference that the relationship between the GM and manager "is one of the most important in the organization, if not the most important."

Both Collins and Maddon satisfy what seems to have become a basic qualification for the Seattle opening — previous managerial experience.

Yet, Collins and Maddon do not have what former Red Sox manager Grady Little brings as another highly regarded possibility: postseason experience.

"Players all talk to guys we know about the names we've heard, and from what I've been hearing Grady Little is the one to get," said one Mariners player. "Everyone thinks highly of him and Boston guys you talk to say they wish he was still there."

Lee Elia, manager Lou Piniella's bench coach and hitting instructor with Tampa Bay, reportedly also has considerable support among the Mariners, as do former White Sox manager Jerry Manuel and former Colorado manager Don Baylor.

Others thought to be on Seattle's short list are Mike Hargrove, former Cleveland and Baltimore manager, Buddy Bell, former Detroit and Colorado manager and, possibly, Jimy Williams, former Toronto, Boston and Houston manager.

Bobby Valentine, former Texas and Mets manager, and former Phillies manager Larry Bowa have also had some form of contact with Seattle officials. The Mariners are also thought to have discussed former Oakland and Mets manager Art Howe, Whitey Herzog, former St. Louis manager and Angels GM, and former Minnesota manager Tom Kelly.

While Bavasi suggested there was no timetable for the hiring, the Mariners are in a situation similar to Arizona, Philadelphia and the Mets, teams all seeking managers.

Little and Baylor have interviewed in Philadelphia and Collins and Maddon (and Melvin) reportedly all have interviewed in Arizona, or are on the Diamondbacks' list.

In other moves, the Mariners will no longer have the services of John Moses, who has been in the organization for about two decades as a player, major-league coach and minor-league instructor, and Jim Slaton, a 16-year major-leaguer, who spent eight years as a pitching instructor.

Note

• The Mariners moved four players off their 40-man roster, including outfielder Hiram Bocachica, who declined the move and has become a free agent. The three others whose contracts were outrighted to Class AAA Tacoma were outfielder B.J. Garbe, infielder Mickey Lopez and right-hander Jeff Heaverlo.

Bob Finnigan: 206-464-8276 or bfinnigan@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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