SEATTLE – Kansas City Royals bench coach John Gibbons got a pleasant surprise upon returning home to Texas after a long season.
Gibbons received a phone call Tuesday from his team, telling him the Mariners had asked permission to interview him for their vacant managerial job. Though he hasn’t been contacted by the Mariners yet, Gibbons, 48, said he’s looking forward to hearing what they have to say.
“I guess they’ll call me when they’re ready and set something up,” Gibbons said. “It’s kind of exciting to know they’re interested.”
Gibbons won’t be the only bench coach the Mariners talk to. But he does offer something many of the others don’t: the fact he has big-league managerial experience, having been the Toronto Blue Jays field boss from 2004 through 2008.
He compiled a .500 record, at 305-305, during three full seasons and parts of two others after taking over in August 2004 following the firing of Carlos Tosca. Gibbons spent parts of two seasons with the New York Mets as a catcher in the 1980s, then broke into professional coaching with that organization.
It was while working with Mets minor-leaguers in the 1990s that he met current Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik.
“In 1996 and 1997, when I was managing in Class A ball, he was the farm director,” Gibbons said. “So, yeah, we’ve worked together before.”
Other candidates the Mariners are expected to interview include San Diego Padres bench coach Ted Simmons, Chicago White Sox bench coach Joey Cora and Boston Red Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale, none of whom has managed in the majors before. Zduriencik had previously insisted that major league managing experience would be paramount in his choice, but later backed off those words.
Sources say onetime Mets manager Bobby Valentine remains in the mix.