The Mariners search for a replacement for departing president Chuck Armstrong is focused on candidates inside the organization at this point, but if it expands beyond that, former Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is "on the Seattle Mariners' short list of candidates," sources tell Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
For his part, La Russa appears to be ready to get back into the game in some capacity within a major league front office, telling Nightengale-
"I'm interested in getting to the competition upstairs.I've missed the competition since I left the field. I talked to the commissioner about it. It's not a thing where you miss the dugout, but I miss the winning and losing.
The situation has to be right.''
The 69-year-old La Russa was recently named to the Hall of Fame for his accomplishments as a manager. La Russa won three Wold Series and six pennants in 35 years in the dugout with the White Sox, Athletics and Cardinals. He retired with a lifetime record of 2728-2365 after the 2011 season.
The Mariners search for a new president could be extremely important to the team's offseason outlook from this point on. GM Jack Zduriencik has been aggressive this winter as he heads into the final season of his contract with the club. However, after signing Robinson Cano to a $240 million deal, adding Corey Hart through free agency and trading for Logan Morrison, it is unclear if the Mariners are willing to continue spending to bolster the rotation and complete the overhaul they have started. In mid-December, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported that the team was near their payroll limit and would only make an exception for the right player. The new team president should have a great deal of say on that subject.
Though La Russa is certainly the most familiar candidate for baseball fans, he doesn't appear to be the person most likely to land the job at this point. Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times believes that the team is leaning towards an internal promotion and that Executive Vice President of Finance and Ballpark Operations Kevin Mather and Executive Vice President of Business Operations Bob Aylward are the leading candidates.
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