The Seattle Mariners will interview A’s bench coach Chip Hale about their open managerial job later this morning.
Multiple baseball sources confirmed that Hale, who was one of the finalists for the job the last time it was open in the fall of 2010, will meet Mariners’ general manager Jack Zduriencik. The two men will meet in Phoenix, Zduriencik, coming down from Seattle and Hale coming up from his home in the Tucson area.
It will be a familiar conversation. Although Eric Wedge, who said in late September he wouldn’t return, got the job the last time there was an opening, Mariners officials came out of the interview process full of praise for Hale, who has been the bench coach in Oakland under Bob Melvin the last two seasons, both of which have seen the A’s win the American League West title.
That feeling hasn’t dimmed in the past three years, and Hale would have to be considered one of the favorites for the job the second time around, although it would be surprising if Zduriencik and his crew didn’t take a long look at Robby Thompson, the former Giants second baseman who has been bench coach in Seattle under Wedge the last two years.
The Mariners were in Oakland in late September when Wedge announced he would not be returning for a fourth season, and at the time Melvin, himself a manager in Seattle in 2003-04, suggested Hale would be a good fit for the Mariners.
“You never want to lose anybody as talented as he is,’’ Melvin said in September. “But he’s paid his dues and he’s ready for a big league job. Seattle would be a great spot for Chip. I know they liked him the last time they went through this process.’’
Hale was the third base coach and infield coach for the Mets in 2010-11 before joining Melvin in Oakland. He worked as the third base coach and infield coach with the Diamondbacks in 2007-09, also under Melvin.
Before that he’d managed in the Diamondbacks’ minor league system for six seasons, winning titles in 2006 with Pacific Coast League Tucson (Triple-A) and 2002 with Texas League El Paso (Double-A). He was the Pioneer League (Class A) Manager of the Year in 2001 with Missoula.