Red Sox third base coach DeMarlo Hale's interview with Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik started at 7:30 a.m, but you won't hear any complaints from Hale, who is thrilled to be considered for Seattle's managerial opening.
"They're looking for a guy to lead this team and be the face of the organization," said Hale during a conference call with reporters today. "They want someone with the drive of taking to this team to winning consistency year-in and year-out. The ultimate goal is the World Series."
Hale was the sixth of seven candidates interviewed. St. Louis coach Jose Oquendo was interviewed after Hale today. Zduriencik may expand his list of candidates, all of whom have no major league experience. He may also consider some former managers, possibly including Ned Yost and Bobby Valentine.
Other candidates include Red Sox bench coach Brad Mills, Arizona third base coach Chip Hale, A’s bench coach Don Wakamatsu, Triple A Portland manager Randy Ready, and White Sox bench coach Joey Cora.
Asked whether he was surprised none of the candidates have managed in the majors, Hale said, "No. I mean that's the decision and direction they're looking at right now. That's a question they can answer. I'm not surprised. Nice for them to be open and bring in different types of candidates."
Hale said he felt it helps that he's worked under Terry Francona the last three years.
"You understand the commitment and sacrifice it takes and challenges ahead to win," Hale said. "It helps. But in this situation they want to hear your ideas, not the Red Sox' ideas."
Does it feel weird to be competing with Mills?
"I respect Brad Mills a lot. He's a good baseball man," Hale said. "I think he's a very good candidate. I have nothing but respect for Brad. We've shared some things being on Francona's staff. We talk baseball. Among other things, we've become friends. Not weird at all."
Hale, who managed successfully in the Red Sox farm system, said "there's a difference [between] managing in the minors than the majors. The game is faster. There's more [emphasis] put on winning in the majors. Minor league is development.
"I've learned everywhere I've been . . . You learn the commitment it takes, the challenges. You take what you think is important and you hope to apply it when you get that chance to manage. We all learn from different situations and it's been no different for me."
His view of the Mariners?
"They've always played us good, so there's talent on this team," Hale said. "They've got some arms out there. They have some position players and the pieces to be a solid championship-type club. Do you add pieces? Yes. You try to formulate a team where you can get a certain type of production at certain places. You look at this park [Safeco Field] . . . it's pretty big. You definitely need someone who can cover ground in centerfield.
"As you go forward, you start to look at your needs what you can do to compete. It's important for you to have goals, competing in your division in the [AL] West. I can't sit here and give you everything that's gonna take place because I don't know. You try to add to those pieces and make a very good team."