By Shannon Drayer
Dodgers third-base coach Tim Wallach is expected to interview with the Mariners on Thursday for their vacant managerial position. Wallach, 56, has never managed at the big-league level but did manage the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate, the Albuquerque Isotopes, for two years and has spent the past three years as the Dodgers' third-base coach.
Tim Wallach, who has been the Dodgers' third-base coach the past three seasons, is expected to interview for the Mariners' managerial position on Thursday. (AP)
"He really is a well respected guy within the Dodgers organization," Saxon said. "There were even people within the organization where if (manager) Don Mattingly decided to walk a couple of weeks ago, a lot of people were really comfortable with Wallach stepping in."
Although Wallach has been coaching for a veteran team, Saxon believes he could also work well with a younger team like the Mariners.
"He's just a good baseball guy," Saxon said. "Players respond to him because he was a good player for 15 or 16 years. I think that statistically-minded people, he can kind of hang in that discussion."
Saxon then pointed out a skill that could be highly valued by the Mariners, who could be starting players with less than one year experience up the middle next year and whose top pick in the 2013 draft was a third baseman.
"He's a very good infield instructor," Saxon said of Wallach, who was third baseman during his 17-year career in the Major Leagues. "Last year, Hanley Ramirez was moving back to shortstop and there were a lot of people who thought he simply couldn't do it and Wallach really dug in with him in spring training, and even in the winter a little bit, and really made him a serviceable shortstop if not a Gold Glove kind of guy."
Wallach would know a little something about the Gold Glove Award as he has three of them. He also made the All-Star team five times during his career, the majority of which he spent with the Montreal Expos.
Wallach, who was a finalist for the Red Sox job last year, interviewed with the Tigers in Detroit last week and there have been a couple of reports that have him as a possible favorite for that position. This is not a surprise to Saxon.
"This is a guy who is on the cusp," he said. "Obviously, there is interest with the Tigers as well. I would think if Seattle wants him they shouldn't drag there feet because I do think this guy is going to be a manager very soon."