Dave Valle spent 13 years as a major league catcher with four teams. (Chuck Solomon/SI)
Borrowing a page from the playbook of the St. Louis Cardinals, the Seattle Mariners this week interviewed former catcher Dave Valle about their managerial opening, according to sources familiar with the meeting. Valle, like Mike Matheny when he was hired by St. Louis prior to the 2012 season, has no managerial or coaching experience but is well-known and regarded by the organization.
Valle, 53, was drafted by Seattle in 1978, played 10 seasons with the Mariners before playing three more years with Boston, Milwaukee and Texas and has worked several seasons as a Mariners broadcaster. Valle hit .237 in 970 games overall while gaining a reputation as an excellent defensive catcher with strong leadership skills -- a playing profile similar to that of Matheny. Under Matheny, the Cardinals reached the National League Championship Series in 2012 and the World Series this year.
Major league clubs increasingly are minimizing the importance of previous pro managing experience when considering managerial replacements. In addition Matheny, Bryan Price (Reds), Don Mattingly (Dodgers), Robin Ventura (White Sox) and John Farrell (previously with the Blue Jays) are among recent hires without major league or minor league managing experience at the time of their hire.
The Mariners parted ways with manager Eric Wedge after a 91-loss season, their fourth straight losing campaign and third under Wedge. From 2002-13 the Mariners have lost half their paid attendance, falling from a franchise record 3.5 million paid fans in 2002 to 1.7 million last year.