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Kenny Williams update: Seattle has an opening; Toronto's might be closing

Mariners fire Jack Zduriencik to officially open a reported possibility for the White Sox executive vice president

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The last time we heard about Kenny Williams' future, the Mariners joined the Toronto Blue Jays as specifically identified potential landing spots for the White Sox' executive vice president. To refresh your memory, Bob Nightengale wrote:

Jack Zduriencik, who has had seven years on the job but with no playoff berths, likely will follow Amaro out the door, with Chicago White Sox President Kenny Williams coming in, unless Williams instead goes to the Toronto Blue Jays as club president.

Indeed, the Mariners ousted Zduriencik on Friday to begin their search for a new general manager in earnest. Mariners president -- yes, they have a president, and only in his second year -- Kevin Mather said he hopes to have a new GM installed by early October, and the descriptions don't rule out Williams, whether in terms of experience ...

Mather is open to all candidates but has his preferences.

"I would lean toward an experienced general manager or an assistant general manager that’s had a heavy hand in the operation," he said. "I don’t want to hire someone that’s going to learn on the job for the next two or three years. That is a candidate that I’m not interested."

... or analytical savvy:

He said he’d be open to an old-school candidate with a scouting background. "But you’d better darned sure have someone working for you that gets the analytic part, and that voice is loud and clear in your ear," Mather said. " It’s important to keep up with what everyone else is doing."

So Williams is still very much in play, in a way he wouldn't be in the reported criteria the Brewers are using in their search for a new GM. At the same time, Jerry Crasnick says Williams is far from alone:

Some media members who heard those comments Friday assumed that [Mather is] dead-set on a former general manager, which generated speculation on Twitter and in industry buzz about a passel of established executives who've run clubs with varying degrees of success.

Are Jerry Dipoto, Kevin Towers, Dan O'Dowd, Frank Wren, Ben Cherington, Kenny Williams, Jim Hendry, Larry Beinfest and Dan Jennings a long enough list, for starters?


Perhaps the Mariners already have a short list in mind, or maybe Nightengale is dead-on and Williams is their Plan A. In Toronto, it appears that Williams is no longer the priority.

Last week, Ken Rosenthal reported that the Blue Jays were pursuing Cleveland Indians President Mark Shapiro to replace Paul Beeston, their outgoing president.

Those rumors are intensifying, with Jon Heyman seconding Rosenthal's report by saying Shapiro is the Blue Jays' first choice, and the Cleveland Plain-Dealer saying there will be closure on the matter in a few days either way. There's even some speculation about Terry Francona's future, as he has an opt-out clause that he can exercise if Shapiro isn't in the organization.

At any rate, if Shapiro is on the verge of leaving ... and if Cleveland is ahead of the White Sox in the standings ... then I imagine the Sox wouldn't need to be mathematically eliminated in order for Jerry Reinsdorf to allow Williams permission to interview elsewhere. Then again, Williams is under contract through 2016, so it's possible he could ride with this arrangement for one more year if the Blue Jays job is the only one that currently represents a promotion for him.