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Originally published Tuesday, June 17, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Mariners are in no rush to hire a new general manager

Lee Pelekoudas is likely to get a good, long tryout as the Mariners' general manager. There were strong indications Monday that Pelekoudas...

Seattle Times staff reporter

Lee Pelekoudas is likely to get a good, long tryout as the Mariners' general manager.

There were strong indications Monday that Pelekoudas will hold the interim job through the remainder of the season.

He almost certainly will do so through the July 31 trade deadline.

"Yes, in fact I've asked Lee to start thinking of his plan and what he would like to do for that," said team president Chuck Armstrong, who will head the Mariners' search for Bill Bavasi's replacement.

"It's tough to bring in someone from the outside, with no knowledge of our organization and the details you need to know to make those moves. I would expect Lee will certainly be the GM at the trade deadline."

In 2006, the Kansas City Royals fired Allard Baird as general manager on May 31, and replaced him immediately with Dayton Moore, who had been assistant general manager of the Atlanta Braves.

Such in-season moves are rare, but not unprecedented. However, Armstrong said he "looked forward to working with Pelekoudas for the rest of the season."

Armstrong said he would call on his contacts from 23 years in baseball in compiling his list, while he and Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln evaluate Pelekoudas' performance.

"We want to leave no stone unturned, and come up with a comprehensive search for the person to be our permanent GM," Armstrong said. "If we decide it's Lee Pelekoudas, it won't be because we haven't turned over every stone in our search."

Here are some of the men — and a woman, if they want to get revolutionary — the Mariners might consider:

• Pat Gillick, Phillies GM: Don't laugh. The man Bavasi replaced, who built the 2000 and 2001 playoff teams in Seattle, has announced his retirement at the end of the year. But Gillick has tried to retire before, and keeps coming back.

Gillick, 70, has a home in Seattle, and could view this position as one final challenge. Asked about the opening Monday by the Philadelphia Daily News, he said, "At this point, I certainly wouldn't have any interest."

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And if the position was still open after the World Series?

"Right now, I think this is probably the end for me," he said. "I might change my mind at the end of the year. But I'm really not thinking anything except trying to win this thing."

• Gerry Hunsicker, Rays senior vice president: Hunsicker built the Houston team that made the 2005 World Series, as well as won four division titles in five years.

He stepped down as Astros GM after the '04 season, reportedly tired of dealing with meddlesome owner Drayton McLane, and now has hooked up with another winner in Tampa.

• Kevin Towers, Padres GM: With the Padres' struggles this year, it might be time for the two sides to part ways after 13 mostly successful years. Towers has strong Northwest roots (he's from Medford, Ore.), and there has been industry speculation that this job might intrigue him.

• Brian Cashman, Yankees GM: A real wild card, but his contract is up at the end of the year. Hank Steinbrenner has talked of re-signing Cashman, but if the Yankees' season falls apart, or Cashman finally tires of working in the Yankees' circus atmosphere, they could sever ties.

• Chris Antonetti, Indians assistant GM: Antonetti, 33, is Mark Shapiro's right-hand man, well-regarded as an up-and-coming star. The Web site USSMariner.com has long campaigned for Antonetti, a favorite of the sabermetric community.

• David Forst, Athletics assistant GM: Another rising star, the 31-year-old Forst — a cum laude graduate of Harvard — has worked five years as Billy Beane's assistant.

If the Mariners decide they want to emulate the Oakland's success, Forst would be an intriguing option. However, Forst is also considered the heir apparent if Beane gets kicked upstairs.

Beane, by the way, has an ownership stake in the A's, is signed through 2014, and isn't going anywhere.

• Kim Ng, Dodgers assistant GM: She has a sparkling résumé as the most viable female GM candidate in the game. Ng interviewed for the Dodgers' GM job in 2005 and has extensive experience in the front offices of the White Sox, Yankees and Dodgers, including a stint running the Dodgers' minor-league department.

• Dan Evans, former Dodgers GM: Evans performed well from 2001 to '04 before he was ousted as part of an ownership change.

Evans, 47, was a finalist to replace Woody Woodward in Seattle when Gillick was hired in 2000, and served several seasons as one of Bavasi's advisers before leaving the organization last winter to become an agent.

• Al Avila, Tigers assistant GM: Avila was a finalist for the Seattle job when Bavasi was hired. As Dave Dombrowski's top assistant, he helped build a Detroit team that won the 2006 American League pennant.

• Bob Watson, former GM of the Astros and Yankees: Watson interviewed for the Mariners position in 2000, and now works for the commissioner's office.

• The Arizona Diamondbacks, who have built a strong franchise under GM Josh Byrnes, have at least two well-regarded underlings in assistant GM Peter Woodfork and director of player development A.J. Hinch.

• Toronto assistant GM Tony LaCava is also rated by many as ready to be a head man.

• From a Boston organization that has produced two World Series champions in four years, Theo Epstein lieutenants Jed Hoyer and Ben Cherington could warrant a look.

• Another name to consider is former Mets and Orioles executive Jim Duquette, especially if the Mariners decide to pursue Bobby Valentine as manager for next season.

• Paul DePodesta, Beane's former Oakland assistant, flamed out with the Dodgers, but his moves look better in retrospect.

Larry Stone: 206-464-3146 or lstone@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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