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Gwynn resigns from post on Mariners staff

Director of player development will not return; Simmons' contract will not be renewed

SEATTLE -- Chris Gwynn, who oversaw the Mariners' Minor League system the past four years as the club's director of player development, resigned Thursday as the team continues remaking its front office under new general manager Jerry Dipoto.

Additionally, Ted Simmons, a senior advisor to former general manager Jack Zduriencik, has been added to the list of Mariners staffers who have been told their contracts won't be renewed on Nov. 1.

Gwynn said the arrival of a new GM just made the timing right for him to make a change in his career that he'd already been pondering.

"I sat down with [Dipoto] on Saturday for a few minutes and expressed to him that farm director was not going to happen for me," Gwynn said. "I'm done. Being away from home all the time -- at one point we had nine teams, counting Venezuela and the Dominican -- and trying to help the big league team and keeping the philosophy right, it's a hard job.

"I'm not making excuses. But it's demanding. I've been in baseball 31 years, and the player development part of this job is like Loyola Marymount basketball in the '90s, fastbreaking all the time. It never stops. At this point, I want to take a step back and reassess and this is the perfect time. He probably wants to bring his own people in, so the timing is good."

Gwynn, 50, is the younger brother of the late Hall of Fame outfielder Tony Gwynn. He played 10 seasons in the Majors with the Dodgers, Royals and Padres before retiring in 1996 and becoming a scout for the Padres.

Gwynn said he's not sure if he'll remain in baseball or not. Last month, he interviewed for the Angels general manager position that went to former Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler, but he insists he doesn't have anything lined up now in Anaheim or anywhere else.

For now, he's just going to return home to California and reconnect with family.

"I'm spending time with my wife," Gwynn said. "My mom is 80 and I lost my brother last year. It kind of opens your eyes. You don't have as much time as you think."

Gwynn played with his brother in San Diego in his final season in the Majors in 1996, then rose through the ranks in the Padres scouting department to eventually become director of player personnel before being hired by the Mariners to be their farm director after the 2011 season.

"The thing what I enjoyed most was the organization. The people are good people," Gwynn said. "I enjoyed the Northwest, it's really beautiful, especially in the summer. I enjoyed watching the kids get better and doing what they accomplished. There are a lot of kids who made their Major League debuts under our watch."

Dipoto has been interviewing the Mariners' front office members since being hired to replace Zduriencik two weeks ago. Some of the current staff will be retained, but several departures have already been determined.

Pete Vuckovich and Joe McIlvaine, two special assistants to the GM under Zduriencik, were told earlier this week their contracts won't be renewed as of Nov. 1, as were pro scouts Joe Nigro and Duane Shaffer.

Simmons now joins that group after spending five seasons working for Zduriencik. Simmons, 66, was an eight-time All-Star catcher for the Cardinals and Brewers during a 21-year playing career from 1968-88.

Dipoto has met extensively with manager Lloyd McClendon since taking over for Zduriencik, and he is expected to announce a decision in the next few days on whether to retain McClendon and his coaching staff. McClendon has a 163-161 record in two seasons in Seattle, and he is under contract for one more year.

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast.
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