The M’s are apparently looking at Leon Lee — father of Marlins 1B Derrek Lee — as a possibility to take over from Lamar Johnson as the club’s hitting instructor. Lee has an interesting background, in that his professional playing career was spent entirely in Japan. He has also been both a manager and hitting instructor in Japan. As far as I can tell, his only MLB experience was as a Pacific Rim scout for the Cubs a few years back.
The article in the Times (linked above) includes this line: Yet Lee, with his knowledge of the Japanese language and insights into what has led to Ichiro’s late-season fades the past two years, stands out from the group for those reasons. That’s a pretty strong assertion with respect to Ichiro, considering it doesn’t sound from the article as if Finnigan even talked to Lee. I would have liked a bit more information about this, personally.
We have another GM candidate not named Chris Antonetti getting an interview. Milwaukee Brewers special assignment scout David Wilder was interviewed for the job, according to the Seattle Times. Wilder was Milwaukee’s version of Benny Looper during the Dean Taylor reign, but was reassigned after Doug Melvin took control of the Brewers. It should be noted that the Brewers farm system improved exponentially under Taylor’s regime, though we have no idea how much credit should go to Wilder or scouting direcor Jack Zduriencik.
Through the candidates identified as having interviewed, one thing has become clear; the Mariners are looking for another Pat Gillick. Nearly everyone interviewed has a strong background in scouting and little exposure to an organization that utlilizes statistical analysis. They are baseball men who have been in the game for years and bring experience rather than expertise. I can’t say I’m jumping up and down at the thought of any of the candidates taking over the club.