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Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.

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October 16, 2008 9:11 AM

And the mystery candidate is Jack Zduriencik

Posted by Geoff Baker

By the way, glad to see no lectures from the blogosphere today on the use of anonymous sources. Feel free to continue discussing our stories. If we wait for official team confirmation, it will make for quite the boring weekend, don't you think?

We hinted this morning that there may have been a fourth finalist for the Mariners job not yet mentioned in the media as having participated in the first round of interviews.

Well, there was, and Larry Stone and I just confirmed that it's Jack Zduriencik, a heavyweight candidate from the Milwaukee Brewers.

So the Final Four of Mariners GM candidates are Tony LaCava, Jerry DiPoto, Kim Ng and Zduriencik.

The reason Zduriencik -- vice president and special assistant to the GM for player personnel for Milwaukee -- wasn't mentioned as being among the initial interviewees was that he didn't fly in to Seattle for his meeting with the team until Monday. He was the only external candidate to be interviewed this week, given that the Brewers were not eliminated from the playoffs until Game 4 of the American League Division Series.

Zduriencik is no afterthought. He's a very serious candidate who was named Baseball America Executive of the Year last season when he was the team's scouting director. He's the first non-general manager to ever receive the award since it was instituted in 1998. He has been with the Brewers since October 1999 and directs all of their amateur scouting efforts, both domestic and international.

This is his 25th year in professional baseball and he's been with four clubs, putting him one shy of LaCava's five (Montreal, Atlanta, Anaheim, Cleveland and Toronto) for the most of any Seattle GM finalist. He was director of international scouting and a special assistant to the GM with the Los Angeles Dodgers before his current gig.

He has also served as a director of scouting for the Pirates and been involved in a ton of scouting work with the New York Mets, which led to his being made a special assistant to the GM on that club in 1998.

So this candidate knows what it's like to work in a multitude of places in a scouting and front-office capacity.

His draft efforts for the Brewers have included Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, Ryan Braun, Corey Hart and J.J. Hardy. GM Doug Melvin has given him plenty of credit for helping to build the Brewers' playoff team.

Zduriencik (pronounced Zur-en-sik) was also a minor-league catcher in 1973 and 1974 in the White Sox system.

Obviously, this candidate is much older than the rest of the field. He's 57, making him 10 years older than LaCava, 17 years older than DiPoto and 18 years the senior of Ng. Will this play into the final decision the M's make? It might. Stay tuned.

This is it for the candidates. The Mariners could conceivably make their choice by next week. Whether or not they are allowed to announce it before the World Series is over could depend on Major League Baseball. But there won't be a third round of interviews. It's all done after this week.

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