SEATTLE — Justin Hollander just completed eight days of his baseball career that will be tough to forget.
The executive with the Seattle Mariners finished off a massive contract extension with staff pitching ace Luis Castillo last weekend. On Friday night, he was jumping into the arms and hugging everyone associated with the Mariners after Seattle clinched a playoff spot and ended the longest playoff drought in baseball.
And Sunday, the Mariners announced Hollander was being promoted to general manager, making official many of the responsibilities he has taken on over the past several years with the club.
“It’s been a great and incredible week, and this is obviously the cherry on top for me personally,” Hollander said Sunday.
Hollander, 44, said discussions about the promotion picked up in the past couple of weeks when team chairman John Stanton and president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto approached him about the idea.
It was the continuation of talks that first started last offseason after Seattle made a late run and barely missed the postseason.
“Moving forward, the Mariners are simply a better organization with Justin in this role,” Dipoto said.
Structurally, not much will change for the Mariners. Hollander and Dipoto had already split many of the duties over the past year when it came to dealing with the day-to-day needs of the front office. But the title is recognition of the job Hollander has done and his value to the organization.
“I think it’s probably more of a codification of our present roles than it is a gigantic change. I get to have a cool title now,” Hollander said.
Hollander arrived in Seattle at the end of the 2016 season. He was promoted to assistant general manager before the start of the 2020 season and after that season was a finalist for the general manager role with the Los Angeles Angels.
That job went to Perry Minasian, and in hindsight, staying in Seattle was the result Hollander and his family preferred.
“I was surprised that I got that far in the search with them. And I really wasn’t sure whether I wanted to leave,” Hollander said. “But there’s 30 of these jobs in the world or so, and when someone wants to talk to you about one, you feel obligated to go through the process. And when it was all over, I think I felt mostly relieved. This is where I was most comfortable.”
Hollander started his career in baseball in 2008 with the Angels as a player development and scouting assistant. He remained part of the baseball operations staff when Dipoto and current Seattle manager Scott Servais arrived in as part of a new front-office regime with the Angels in 2011.
“He’s turned into what I call the glue guy in our baseball operations department. He’s the guy that keeps everything together,” Servais said.