Ned Yost. He should be an obvious candidate for this job, not only because he actually had a pretty good year in Milwaukee, but also because of the connection with the Mariners new GM Jack Zduriencik.
Yost has a lot of experience. He worked under Bobby Cox as a bullpen coach in Atlanta for 12 seasons, and spent a few as the skipper for the Brewers too. I think Yostdeserves another shot as a manager, because what he did in Milwaukee was productive.
Art Howe. Howe has had his fair share of ups and downs as a manager. He's had as low as 65 wins (in both Houston and Oakland), and as many as 103 with the A's in 2003. Having spent time in both Oakland and Texas, Howe knows the AL West pretty well.
Howe's contract with the Rangers wasn't renewed after last year (he was a bench coach), and that may not be a great sign for the M's. But one thing is for sure- he has enough experience to be a manager again.
Willie Randolph. Okay, so he didn't exactly have the picture book ending with the Mets, but Randolph would be a good choice. In 2006, the Mets won 97 games, and Randolph's knowledge of the game makes up for his lack of experience. He managed the Mets for a few years, and that's it.
There's a great chance that Randolph would still be the manager in Queens if his team's didn't flub up in the last couple days of the season for the past two years. I think the M's will strongly consider Randolph.
Jim Riggleman. He took over this team when John McLaren got fired. Riggleman did sign on as the bench coach for the Washington Nationals, but surprisingly he's still being considered for this job.
I personally don't think Riggleman will get it because he didn't really do a very good job with the M's in the second half of last season. He has managed the Padres, Cubs, and as a bench coach for the Dodgers. But I think he'll find himself in DC come next season, not Seattle.
Joey Cora. Cora was a member of the magical 1995 Mariners that went to the ALCS. He's been a bench coach for the White Sox for the past couple seasons, and he's been gaining experience, and even earned a ring as a third base coach in 2005. I really think Cora might be the guy.
On certain occasions, Cora has been an interim manager for Ozzie Guillen when he gets suspended, and that's about all of the managerial experience he's had. But I just have a good feeling about Cora, and the people of Seattle love him.
Bobby Valentine. Another former Mets manager, Valentine is the only guy on this list with a pennant on his resumé. That is a bonus right there. Valentine even played for the M's in 1979.
In Texas, Valentine had the Rangers in second place in the AL West nearly every year, which eventually led to his firing. But I would think that Zduriencik has Valentine relatively high on his list.
How I Rank Them
1. Joey Cora
2. Ned Yost
3. Bobby Valentine
4. Willie Randolph
5. Art Howe
6. Jim Riggleman
Let me know if I left any big candidates out!