SEATTLE -- Mariners president Chuck Armstrong called this season "by far the worst one I've gone through" during his 23 years with the organization, and said he has every intention of staying the course and helping the organization return to playoff-contender status.
"I have never been the president of the Mariners when we lost 100 games," Armstrong said on Friday afternoon during an end-of-the-season interview session with local beat writers at Safeco Field. "[This season] has been miserable."
Armstrong and CEO Howard Lincoln fielded questions about the unexpected struggles of a team that was expected to challenge the Angels for the American League West title and the search for a new general manager to replace the dismissed Bill Bavasi.
The Mariners came out of Spring Training full of hope and high expectations.
The result was the first 100-loss season since 1983.
"Fans have been calling for my head, and Howard's head," Armstrong said. "The good news is they care. They are passionate. In the '80s, there wasn't a lot of passion or interest in the Mariners and [in a season like this] we are the best targets.
"We appreciate their interest."
Armstrong said he has spent the past four months assembling a list of potential GM candidates. He said the next phase of the process is getting permission from other MLB organizations to discuss the job with candidates currently employed by other franchises, and setting up interviews with an undisclosed number of candidates.
"I want to help put things back together with a solid foundation, which would be one of the most significant accomplishments [in franchise history]," Armstrong said.
A final decision could be made and announced just prior to the World Series, or soon after the Fall Classic ends. Lincoln called it "the most important decision" the organization has to make during the offseason.
Armstrong and Lincoln will make the final decision on the Mariners' next GM.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.