By Shannon Drayer
In his blog on ESPN.com, (subscription required) Buster Olney wrote there were a number of baseball executives “outside the Mariners organization looking in, and they are wistful, wishing they could grab the Mariners’ steering wheel.”
The reason why? According to Olney they see the Mariners as “the great sleeping giant in baseball” because of the “monstrous growth potential” or “potential to become a baseball monster.”
That claim is about to be put to a test as the Mariners will soon be hiring a president.
Olney cited the financial state of the team – something outgoing president Chuck Armstrong is largely responsible for – as one of the reasons why this team is attractive to other executives. He likened the Mariners to a start-up company with loads of cash and talent and no debt.
The press release that announced Armstrong’s retirement, which becomes effective Jan. 31, noted that the Mariners would now begin the process of finding a successor and determining a transition plan. If this move was unanticipated, there is a lot of work to be done, and done quickly.
Before selecting the new manager, both general manager Jack Zduriencik and CEO Howard Lincoln were clear in their vision that they wanted a teacher in that role. What is the vision for what is wanted in a team president? What is the vision for this club moving forward? When Armstrong took over, the vision was about growing a young franchise, surviving and establishing itself both in MLB and Seattle. They made their mark, they got their stadium and they secured their future in Seattle no doubt for a long time to come. More recently they got their television network. Huge accomplishments that set things up nicely for the future. So the question is, what’s next?
In the coming weeks we will get more into the role of the president, what the vision for the Mariners could be, who could be stepping into the position in the coming weeks and the vital transition at such an important time for the franchise.