No time to waste in Seattle

With the announcement of Lloyd McClendon as the new manager for the Seattle Mariners, a new stage of expectations has been set.

The M’s have just hired their third skipper under general manager Jack Zduriencik. McClendon won the position over other possible candidates: Chip Hale, Oakland Athletics bench coach; Joey Cora, Chicago White Sox bench coach; and Tim Wallach, L.A. Dodgers third base coach, according to Fox Sports.

The front office of the Seattle franchise has had some familiarity with McClendon in the past. When searching for a new manager after the Don Wakamatsu era, McClendon was interviewed for the job before Eric Wedge took the position.

Now with a new manager, it is time to stress the importance of his position and the limited time he is going to face with the fans and his new team.

The last time the Mariners had a winning record was the first year of Jack Zduriencik’s tenure as the general manager, partnered with Don Wakamatsu. That was 2009 and the M’s ended up third in the AL West with an 85-77 record.

After the first winning season, the Wakamatsu era only lasted one more year and was replaced by Wedge after a collapse of a season. While with Wedge, the Mariners were unable to reach a winning season, the closest to one was 2012 when they finished 75-87.

A winning record does not always mean playoffs for a Major League Baseball team. The Mariners have not seen the postseason since their historical run in 2001 with Lou Piniella and company.

However, it is not always about winning with this manager position. It will be about developing the young talent and starting to rebuild for the third time under Zduriencik.

There have been numerous promising young players during the draft and during the minor leagues, who failed to contribute at the major league level. A couple of players that come to mind are Jesus Montero, Dustin Ackley and Justin Smoak.

The Mariners have been hovering around landing in the Top 10 farm systems in the Major Leagues for a couple of years now. Last year they were ranked seventh by Bleacher Report; the talent has been there, but the transition has been questionable. McClendon will have to figure out a way to get these promising prospects to play up to their potential in the MLB.

This past year, fans have had the chance to see some of that young talent; it will not be like the last couple of years when Wedge had nothing to work with. Taijuan Walker, Brad Miller, Nick Franklin, and Mike Zunino showed flashes of big league talent, but McClendon needs to push those players to the next level.

McClendon also needs to be a perfect fit for Zduriencik to keep his job. He has told the media and fans that he has a six-year plan. This is year six; there are no more excuses.

There is always speculation that it has not been the manager’s fault these past few years because Zduriencik has been the common element in these depressing five seasons. But he received a one-year extension, and fans are stuck with him. However, with the managerial position open, it could determine a new change for this baseball team.

McClendon will not walk into a dream job when he lands in the Puget Sound. He will take charge of a team that has a lot of holes and will likely have to rebuild for a couple more years. Yet, he will be there from the beginning, know the players that are developing through the system and build a rapport with the fans and organization.