UPDATE: Seattle is expected to offer DiPoto the job, according to a report from Jim Bowden of ESPN.com. The Mariners may name a new general manager as early as today.
ORIGINAL: It was just last month that the Mariners chose to part ways with general manager Jack Zduriencik and it appears as though they are close to naming his replacement, according to Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. In his report, Dutton cites a source that says an announcement could come as early as Monday, with other sources saying that it's more likely to be announced later this week.
The Mariners are concentrating on two finalists: former Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto and Yankees assistant general manager Billy Eppler.
The Boston Red Sox hired Dipoto to an advisory role in mid-August. New Red Sox club president Dave Dombrowski said recently he hopes to elevate Dipoto to a full-time position if he isn’t hired by another club.
Eppler, 39, has never been a general manager but, in his fourth season as a Yankees assistant, has assisted longtime GM Brian Cashman in all areas of the club’s major league operations.
One twist emerged over the weekend: Eppler had been viewed as the favorite to become Dipoto’s full-time replacement with the Angels, but reports indicate Josh Byrnes has emerged as a candidate for that post.
Byrnes, the current vice president of baseball operations with the Dodgers, has served as the GM for both the Diamondbacks and Padres in the past and could force Eppler out of the running in Anaheim.
Mariners president Kevin Mather has made it clear that he wants to hire an experienced general manger, not one that would be learning on the job. With Felix Hernandez, Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano, the Mariners don't want to bring in a GM that would risk a drop in production of those three stars, as they are getting older by the day.
A quicker resolution to this search will allow Seattle's next general manager a head start on evaluating their roster and mapping out a plan for the Mariners offseason, as they try to turn it around on the field.