Red Sox former catcher Jason Varitek interviews for Seattle Mariners open managerial position


The Seattle Mariners have interviewed former Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek for their open managerial position, according to a report from CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman.

Seattle’s new general manager Jerry Dipoto recently fired Lloyd McClendon and has been looking for a replacement to right the ship following a disappointing season that saw the Mariners finish 76-86. Dipoto worked as a consultant for the Red Sox back in August and September, tasked with evaluating talent in the farm system, prior to accepting the GM position in Seattle. During his brief time in the Red Sox organization he may have interacted with Varitek, who has been with the team as a special assistant to the GM since 2012.

Varitek has no managerial experience at any level since retiring in 2011, but that may not dissuade teams from considering him for their vacant positions. He was widely considered one of the smartest players in the game during his 15-year career, which could be enough to convince a team that he has the chops to manage in the big leagues.

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It would hardly be unprecedented for a former player to step into the manager’s seat without experience. Mike Matheny in St. Louis, Brad Ausmus in Detroit and Kevin Cash in Tampa Bay are all examples from recent years that have done it. Like Vartiek, they were all catchers in their playing days.

It’s interesting that Seattle is the team considering Varitek for the position, considering the Mariners were the franchise that once let him get away. Seattle traded Varitek to the Red Sox in 1997, along with Derek Lowe, for Heathcliff Slocumb in what will always be remembered as one of the most lopsided deals in franchise history. Slocumb was a disappointment during his year and a half in Seattle, while Varitek and Lowe both went on to make multiple All-Stars appearances during their lengthy careers in Boston. They both also played a key role in snapping an 86-year old championship drought by helping the Red Sox win the World Series in 2004.

Heyman’s report indicates that Varitek’s competition for the role in Seattle includes at least two others with ties to the Red Sox. Tim Bogar, who spent four years on the Red Sox coaching staff prior to leaving for a job with the Texas Rangers in 2014, is being considered among the favorites for the Mariners managerial position. Alex Cora, who spent four years as an infielder in Boston, is also in the mix.

Varitek has been reluctant to move his family from the Boston area since his playing days came to an end, so it’s unclear how interested he is in an opportunity to move to the West Coast. He has remained a valuable resource to the Red Sox since hanging up his spikes, but a more significant role may be in his future.

The former team captain has the potential to become a great manager, but it doesn’t seem like he’ll be given the chance here in Boston anytime soon. Perhaps he’ll get his chance in a city like Seattle, as it would be great for Red Sox fans to get to see ‘Tek back in a prominent role in the majors again.

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