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Mariners notebook: Former manager Lou Piniella added as HOF candidate

Ex-Mariners skipper Lou Piniella is the 16th-winningest manager in baseball history. (AP)

If Edgar Martinez eclipses 75 percent and gains entry to the Baseball Hall of Fame next July, there is a chance his former manager could be entering the hallowed halls beside him.

Mariners outright Erasmo Ramirez and Nick Vincent, who elect free agency

A total of 10 candidates were selected for the baseball Hall of Fame Today’s Game Era committee’s consideration, and former Mariners skipper Lou Piniella’s name was among them.

Also joining Piniella on the list are ex-players Harold Baines, Albert Belle, Joe Carter, Will Clark, Orel Hershiser and Lee Smith, former managers Davey Johnson and Charlie Manuel, and late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. The candidates were selected by the 11-member Historical Overview Committee for consideration from the era that spans 1988 through the present. A 16-member Hall of Fame Board-appointed electorate will meet to discuss and review the candidacies at the Winter Meetings Dec. 9 in Las Vegas.

Piniella, who managed the Mariners from 1993-2002, finished his managerial career with a record of 1,835-1,713, good for 16th on the all-time wins list. From 1990 to 2009, Piniella recorded the fourth-most managerial wins, trailing only Hall of Famers Bobby Cox (1,792), Joe Torre (1,703) and Tony La Russa (1,701). With the exception of Gene Mauch, all eligible managers ahead of Piniella on the all-time wins list the are in the Hall of Fame.

Piniella is a three-time Manager of the Year, taking the award twice as manager of the Mariners, the first time in 1995 when he led the team to their first playoff appearance and again in 2001 when the Mariners put up a record-tying 116 wins. In his 21 years managing the Yankees, Reds, Mariners, Rays and Cubs, 11 of his teams finished first or second in their division. Seven of his teams made postseason appearances, with four advancing to a league championship series and the 1990 Reds winning the World Series.

The Today’s Game Era is one of four Eras Committees that are considered twice over every five-year period, providing a second avenue for admittance to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Inductees will be announced Dec. 9.

Notes

• Following the announcement of the Gold Glove Award winners Sunday, the final SABR Defensive Index for the 2018 season was announced and there were a few Mariners in the top 25. Mike Zunino, the highest-ranked Mariner, led all catchers, coming in at No. 14 overall. Jean Segura and Mitch Haniger were ranked 21st and 22nd, respectively. The complete list and positional breakdowns, which counts for 25 percent of the Gold Glove vote, can be found here.

• Mitch Haniger has been putting in work in Hawaii getting ready for the MLB Japan All-Star Series, which starts Thursday.

Haniger is looking all business in his work, as he always does. When I spoke to him in September about the upcoming trip, I got the feeling there was a strategic element in accepting the invitation to Japan, where the Mariners will start the 2019 season with two games against the A’s next March.

“I think having a couple of days of downtime to actually experience everything, because I know next year it is going to be different, especially for me. I will be a lot more focused,” he said. “This time it will be nicer to do some tours and see the country. This time I will be able to do the touristy kind of thing and next time I will lock it in.”

Uh-huh. With the uber-prepared Haniger, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if he also looked at this as an opportunity to get the lay of the land, a scouting trip if you will, ahead of the opening series next March.

• If you are on Twitter – and you should be, follow at @shannondrayer – a great follow both in season and out on the Mariners minor leagues is @MiLBMariners. With that out out of the way, he’s a little FYI about free agency:

Mariners notebook: Marco Gonzales reportedly gets raise for next 2 years

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