Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has begun the process of interviewing candidates to find a replacement for manager Lloyd McClendon, who was not brought back for the 2016 season.

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Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has begun the process of interviewing candidates to find a replacement for manager Lloyd McClendon, who was not asked back for the 2016 season.

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Tuesday that former Mariners draft pick and Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek has interviewed for the job

Varitek, 43, was a first-round draft pick by the Mariners in 1994. The catcher was traded in 1997 with pitcher Derek Lowe to the Red Sox for reliever Heathcliff Slocumb, a deal that is considered by many to be among the more one-sided trade-deadline deals in major-league history.

Varitek was a three-time All-Star and helped lead the Red Sox to two World Series titles. He has been a special assistant to the general manager for the Red Sox since 2012 and has never been a manager. Heyman reported that Varitek might not be strongly interested in the job because he would have to leave the Boston area.

On Monday, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reported that Rays third-base coach Charlie Montoyo had interviewed for the job. I was told the interview took place in Southern California.

Montoyo is an interesting candidate. A native of Puerto Rico, he’s been with the Rays organization for 19 years, joining the club in 1996 — a year before its expansion season.

He was a candidate to replace Joe Maddon as the Rays’ manager last offseason. He’s managed at every minor-league level for the Rays, compiling a 1,266-1,142 (.526) record. His teams advanced to the postseason nine times, and he’s managed in 63 postseason games (37-26, .587).

Most recently he managed the Rays’ Class AAA affiliate — the Durham Bulls — for eight seasons, compiling a 633-515 (.551) record with seven International League South Division titles, including a league-record six appearances in the International League finals with two Governors’ Cup championships (2009, 2013). The Bulls won the Triple-A title in 2009.

He has a good resume of experience, and by working in the Rays organization he’s embraced advanced analytics and outside-the-box thinking — something Dipoto said he expects from his manager.

The Mariners also reportedly interviewed Phil Nevin, who managed Class AAA Reno this season and was a longtime major-league player. Nevin has interviewed with multiple teams.

Still, multiple baseball sources have said the managerial job likely belongs to Tim Bogar, who served as Dipoto’s special assistant in Anaheim. Bogar was considered the leading candidate before McClendon was let go, and that hasn’t changed.

Bogar is under contract with the Angels until Oct. 31. Before joining the Angels, Bogar was the Rangers’ bench coach in 2014. He was promoted to interim manager on Sept. 5 when manager Ron Washington resigned.

The Rangers went 14-8 with Bogar as manager. He spent four years managing in the minors before gaining big-league coaching experience with the Rays in 2008 under Maddon and then three seasons with the Red Sox staff. He served as manager of the Angels’ affiliate in Class AA in 2013, leading the Arkansas Travelers to 73-66 record. In five years managing in the minors, he compiled a 362-266 record.

Former Padres manager Bud Black was mentioned as a possible candidate, though baseball sources have said he likely will not be a finalist. There was some discussion that Alex Cora and former Mariners shortstop Omar Vizquel, who played with Dipoto in Cleveland and was hired by Dipoto for his first coaching job, could be outside candidates.

It’s unlikely that a decision on the manager will be finalized or announced until next week or possibly until after the World Series.


— Though they were retained for next season, neither Chris Woodward or Edgar Martinez has received a contract for 2016. Asked about his possible return, Martinez said in a text message that he’d prefer to comment after his contract is done.

— Cheney Stadium is getting a Wiffle ball stadium for the kids. The entire play area is supposed to be for kids. But I’m going to dominate on that field.