SAN FRANCISCO – Ron Wotus planned on some rest and relaxation in the offseason, but the Giants’ longtime bench coach has been in constant motion.
His trajectory won’t take him to Seattle, though.
Wotus didn’t make it past the first round of interviews for the Seattle Mariners managerial position, which went to Lloyd McClendon. And with the hiring of Rich Renteria by the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday, all 30 manager seats in the majors are filled.
Five teams hired skippers. Four are first-time managers.
Wotus is still waiting for his chance.
“Well, I feel two different ways,” said Wotus, reached on his cell phone. “I was interested in the position, obviously, because I want to manage. After researching the Seattle club a little bit, they do have the makings of a club that can move in the right direction. They have some arms and up-and-coming young players. So it’s a fairly interesting situation – an opportunity to get with a club that has a chance to be good.
“On the other side, the GM there is signed for one year.”
It's a harsh reality: There are few stable jobs in baseball, and even fewer that match the stability Wotus has enjoyed in his 16 seasons on the Giants' major league staff. How many bench coaches can say they are on their third manager, when the reverse is more typically true?
“I’m glad to be right where I’m at, trying to get our team together and get us going here,” the 52-year-old former infielder said. “I love it in San Francisco. I’m excited about the upcoming year. This is where I want to be, obviously, and if someone wants to talk about a managing position, I’d definitely do that and weigh all options. We didn’t get that far in this process.”
Wotus flew to San Diego for a breakfast meeting with Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik that he described as informal and lasting a couple hours.
It was the first time Wotus had interviewed for a major league managerial job since 2006, when the Giants hired Bruce Bochy and the San Diego Padres hired Bud Black. I’m told Wotus made very strong impressions when he finished behind Grady Little for the Dodgers job in 2005 and also with the Pirates in 2000.
Yes, the Pirates hired McClendon after that search, too.
When Wotus meets with a GM or club official, I asked him, is there any specific message he wants to send or impression he wants to make?
“Not necessarily,” said Wotus, who received a call from Zduriencik a few hours before word got out that McClendon was the Mariners’ choice. “It’s just a matter of comfort with each other. Usually there’s some sort of history or connection with some of these positions. That what it boils down to. When I interview, I let them ask the questions they need to ask, I ask the questions they need to ask and we get to know each other.”
Wotus certainly is comfortable with the Giants. And that’s a pretty good fallback position.