Mariners will interview Cecil Cooper for managerial position
Cecil Cooper, who was fired by the Astros in 2009, will interview for the Mariners' vacant managerial position.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Cecil Cooper, a former All-Star first baseman who lasted just one full season as Houston Astros manager, will interview for the Mariners' managerial vacancy on Tuesday.
Cooper, 60, guided the Astros to an 86-75 record in 2008, an improvement of 13 games from 2007. But he was fired on Sept. 22, 2009, with the Astros mired at 70-79. His overall record at the helm was 171-170.
Cooper was hired by the Astros as interim manager on Aug. 27, 2007, replacing Phil Garner, who had been fired. Cooper had been Garner's bench coach since 2005. After guiding the Astros to a 15-16 record to finish '07, he was given the full-time position for the 2008 season.
When Cooper was fired, team leader Lance Berkman told The Houston Chronicle, "Any time you're dealing with a guy that doesn't have any experience at the major-league level, there's going to be a learning curve. The sad thing about that is, it's hard to have a learning curve with a veteran team. I think there's fault on both sides. No matter what you think of the manager, he doesn't pitch, he doesn't hit."
Berkman added, "I do think something has to change. The environment is not good."
Cooper also managed two seasons at Class AAA with Indianapolis, compiling seasons of 64-78 and 66-78 in 2003 and '04.
He worked in the Brewers organization during Jack Zduriencik's tenure there, including stints as director of player development (1997-99), special assistant to the GM (2000-01) and bench coach (2002).
The Mariners will interview former Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons; former Cleveland manager Eric Wedge also appears to be on their list. Bobby Valentine, who guided the Mets into the 2000 World Series and also managed the Texas Rangers and the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan, remains a strong candidate.
Wedge, 42, managed the Indians for seven seasons before being let go after the 2009 season, in which Cleveland went 65-97. But two years earlier, in 2007, Wedge was American League manager of the year after guiding the Indians to 96 wins and the AL Central title. They were within one game of the World Series after taking a three-games-to-one lead over the Red Sox in the ALCS, but lost three straight.
Wedge, a former catcher with brief playing time in four major-league seasons, had a 561-573 (.495) record in seven seasons with Cleveland, twice exceeding 90 victories.
Other names who could possibly draw the Mariners' interest are former Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon, Angels bench coach Ron Roenicke and Dodgers Class AAA manager Tim Wallach.
At the moment, former Mariner Joey Cora, thought to be a likely candidate, doesn't appear to be in their plans.
Larry Stone: 206-464-3146 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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