Monday, July 18, 2011

In Jack Z we Trust

By: Insider Steve

.238/.299/.336, 316 HR, 1392 RBI, 1456 Runs (3.4 per game), and 3396 Hits.

There it is Ladies and gentleman, the combined offensive numbers of Jack Zduriencik’s offenses in 2 ½ years as GM. Isn’t she a beauty? One look at those numbers and you can understand why Zduriencik has taken some heat recently. The Mariners are currently riding a 9-game losing streak, and the one common question that is being passed around between Mariners fans is how did Jack Zduriencik let it get this far, and so bad, this quick? Is it even appropriate to ask how much blame we can place on the shoulders of Zduriencik? These are fair questions because under Zduriencik’s watch he was responsible for putting the team together. Has it gotten bad enough that we should be talking about a potential firing? That might be counterproductive, but I will say that any offensive criticism you do throw Zduriencik’s way is beyond fair. I want to discuss the all of the positives because I think that with all of the recent struggles, we may have overlooked the great things Jack Zduriencik has done for this franchise.

I’m going to start with Jack Zduriencik’s successful free agent signings. This seems to be one of the gripes most fans have so why not start here.

  • · Russell Branyon - 2009: .251/.347/.520, 31 HR, 76 RBI
  • · Ken Griffey Jr. - 2009: .214/.324/.411, 19 HR, 57 RBI
  • · Mike Sweeney – 2009: .281/.335/.442, 8 HR, 34 RBI
  • · Adam Kennedy – 2011: .259/.305/.388, 6 HR, 30 RBI
  • · David Pauley – 2 years: 9-12, 3.30 ERA, 81 K’s/44 BB’s, 54 ER/121 Hits in 139 IP
  • · Jamey Wright – 2 years: 3.42 ERA, 42 K’s/30 BB’s in 73.2 IP

Not exactly the big haul most would expect to see, but I want to ask you what all these free agents have in common. All of them were low money free agents either brought in on one year deals or made the club out of spring training on minor league contracts. Signing low money free agents wasn’t the design. It wasn’t like we had money and chose to low ball the higher priced guys. The reality of the situation was Zduriencik had to make do with minimal resources to improve our ball club. If anything this should spot light the financial struggles Zduriencik has had to deal with from day one. The only recourse for Zduriencik to improve the team has been through trades, and Zduriencik has done a brilliant job.

Here is a list of some of Jack Zduriencik’s successful deals.

  • · Sean Green, J.J. Putz, Jeremy Reed, and Luis Valbuena for Mike Carp, Endy Chavez, Maikel Cleto, Jason Vargas, and Franklin Gutierrez.
  • · Fabien Washington for David Aardsma.
  • · Yuniesky Betencourt for Derrick Saito and Dan Cortes.
  • · Ronny Cedeno and Jeff Clement for Ian Snell and Jack Wilson
  • · Jarrod Washburn for Mauricio Robles and Luke French
  • · Brandon Morrow for Johermyn Chavez and Brandon League
  • · J.C. Ramirez, Phillipe Aumont, and Tyson Gillies for Cliff Lee
  • · Cliff Lee and Mark Lowe for Matt Lawson, Blake Beavan, Josh Lueke, and Justin Smoak.
  • · Matt Lawson for Aaron Laffey.

Now granted one look at those deals and one sees the lack of a big name. So how does this team acquire the cornerstone piece it desperately lacks and so desperately needs? One could look at Jack Zduriencik’s last three draft classes for the answer.

  • · Dustin Ackley
  • · Nick Franklin
  • · Rich Poythress
  • · Kyle Seager
  • · James Jones
  • · Taijuan Walker
  • · James Paxton
  • · Danny Hultzen

It can be very easy to overlook all of these positive things Jack Zduriencik has done for the team because of offensive ineptitude that is currently going on in Seattle. I can understand why some fans have started to visually and verbally show their frustration towards the current downward trend. How can one accept the idea of hope when one week ago we were 2 ½ games behind Texas, only to look up one week later and see us at 11 ½ games behind in the standings. One can’t help but point a finger in a direction looking for someone to blame. It’s the 36 years of frustration that has started to make the most patient Mariners fans start to crack at the seams.

This year hasn’t been easy for Jack Zduriencik. When he took this job he assessed the damage from the five years under Bill Bavasi. One look around and he saw a decimated franchise that had a lack of talent at the big league level, an over bloated payroll, and no depth of talent in the minor league system. It has been a daunting task for Zduriencik just to get his baseball team to where it is today, but he has done exactly what he promised to do in introductory press conference. That was rebuild the organization through the draft, have an abundance of minor league talent, and adds the key free agent pieces along the way that will get this team and city the World Series title it deserves. I understand the frustration, but I also think that it may be a little closed minded. I know the feeling of wanting to see a winner now, and he will deliver the goods. In Jack Z we trust….

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