Today the Mariners won for the first time in nine games. It felt like forever, and it felt like we were going to lose forever. There were some positives, but for every positive there were multiple negatives. The past week or so has been ugly, and most of our young players (and players in general) have been unwatchable. Ackley, Miller, and Almonte in particular continued to struggle but Kyle Seager had himself a game and Chris Young was serviceable.
Aside from stopping the skid, the worst thing I pulled from the game was Nick Franklin tweeting that he was being sent back down to Tacoma. This is a minor move, but it’s something that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. Calling Franklin up to play in a mere six games just to send him down is trivial to say the least. Sitting Franklin two consecutive games after his season debut makes less sense. The situation from then to now hasn’t changed much since then, and it’s not a move I’m all up in arms about, but there has been a theme of incompetence in our front office. Good moves and bad moves have been made, but the bad moves are very apparent and they seem to leave you scratching your head.
Incompetent. That’s the only word to describe it. And it sucks, it truly does. Mike Zunino, Abraham Almonte, and Stefen Romero should not be in the major leagues. Neither should Roenis Elias, but that’s for an entirely different reason. Jack Zduriencik and company are rushing players left and right, and it seems pretty obvious to me that it’s hurting their progression and ultimately their careers. Name a top Mariners prospect in the past five years during Z’s tenure, and they’ve probably been rushed. Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, Abraham Almonte, Stefen Romero, Roenis Elias, Jesus Montero, Kyle Seager, Dustin Ackley, and Brad Miller have been the latest victims of the knee jerk call-ups. Some have turned out to be fine, and some, well, not so fine.
I can’t sit here and act like I’m some all-knowing, omnipotent being. It’s easy to sit back, relax and be critical of a team and their personnel moves. Somewhere in the organization, something is going wrong with our prospects and how they are being developed. Duh, right? After all this time, you’d think it would have been pinpointed by now. Whether it be hitting and pitching coaches, scouts and our evaluators, Safeco Field, or the water in Seattle and Tacoma, our prospects continually are wetting the bed.
At this point, calling for Jack Z’s head would be a knee jerk reaction. Similar to his knee when he gets a physical at the doctor, or when he sees a prospect hitting or pitching well for 20 games. After a five year sample, I think it’s safe to say Zduriencik has flaws as a GM. In 2008, Z was the Special Assistant to the GM for Player Personnel and Director of Amateur Scouting. Baseball America made him the first non-GM to ever win the Major League Executive of the Year Award. He was good at what he did. Scouting.
As a General Manager, he turned subpar prospects into Cliff Lee! But also gave up Mike Morse for Ryan Langerhans. We managed to pull Jaso for Josh Lueke! But then we traded Jaso for a worse Morse. Z swiped (notably) Vargas, Guti, Carp, and Endy Chavez for just Putz and non-prospects! But then traded Cliff Lee for bad prospects. The list goes on, and I could really do this for a long time but you’d soon start to realize that the good trades and steals run out, and soon it’s just bad trades and getting stolen from.
Geoff Baker wrote a disturbing article about Zduriencik in the Seattle Times that ultimately made Z look terrible, and it made the organization look dysfunctional. In the article, Blengino (who never should have been let go) and Eric Wedge threw him under the bus. The saddest part of the article is that Blengino and Wedge probably aren’t lying. When Blengino says the team is ran differently from how it was ran in 2011-2013 is pretty apparent, in my eyes. Once taking a more sabermetric and analytical approach, Zduriencik now seemingly just wants the Mariners to hit dingers. No longer is the emphasis on pitching and defense, and no longer do we have sabermetric experts in Tom Tango or Tony Blengino. Ultimately, I don’t want to see Jack Zduriencik in Seattle for much longer. Having continuity is great and all, but I don’t want to continue to have Z running the show.
– Michael Ajeto