11:58am: One source tells ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, “I think [the Mariners] have their guy.” Crasnick adds that the Mariners also interviewed former Dodgers GM Dan Evans — currently a Pacific Rim scout for the Blue Jays — but Evans is not considered to be a finalist (Twitter links).
8:04am: It’s been exactly one month since the Mariners dismissed Jack Zduriencik as general manager, and Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that the search for his replacement is in its final stages. One source told Dutton that announcement could come as soon as Monday, with others indicating later in the week was more likely, barring any “snags” in contract negotiations.
Last Friday, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that former Angels GM Jerry Dipoto and Yankees assistant general manager Billy Eppler were the two finalists, and Dutton hears the same from multiple sources. And, while Eppler has also been rumored to be one of the favorites to fill Dipoto’s role in Anaheim, Dutton notes that the Angels’ interest in Josh Byrnes could diminish Eppler’s chances in Anaheim.
Dipoto, of course, resigned from his post with the Angels this summer due to a now-well-documented rift with manager Mike Scioscia. He then took a short-term role with the Red Sox, where’s he’s serving as a senior adviser. Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said at the press conference to introduce new Boston GM Mike Hazen that he would love to keep Dipoto in a full-time capacity, but he first had to wait for resolution on any remaining jobs for which Dipoto had interviewed.
At the time that Zduriencik was released, Mariners president Kevin Mather said that he wanted to hire an experienced GM, as he didn’t want someone “learning on the job” while risking the production of Felix Hernandez, Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano dropping by the time a rookie GM was up to speed. However, reports since then have indicated that Mather and the rest of the decision-making contingent has softened on that stance and would consider candidates without GM experience. Notably, those reports came in conjunction with Eppler’s first interview, so it would seem that he impressed ownership. Heyman noted in last week’s report that both Dipoto and Eppler would interview for a second time, though the specific timing of those sit-downs was not indicated.