According to a story in the Seattle Times, the Seattle Mariners have their share of dysfunctional behavior and personalities in the front office. This is based on testimony from past employees, such as former manager Eric Wedge. Much of the criticism is directed at general manager Jack Zduriencik.
Unfortunately, the average fan may never know the full extent of conflict that occurs behind closed doors. The comments from former assistant Tony Blengino are particularly harsh, as Blengino basically suggested that Zduriencik doesn’t understand anything about statistical analysis.
A GM that doesn’t understand stats? That doesn’t sound good.
Are these just the rantings of disgruntled former employees? Or, are there bigger problems that will not be fixed until the Mariners have different leadership?
Inevitably this goes back to a general question. Is baseball a simple game? You throw the game. You hit the ball. You catch the ball.
Whether Zduriencik understands statistics or not, the Mariners do have players that in theory were very good in high school or college. Now, could you argue that the team has scouted poorly? Possibly, but the Mariners have some highly-regarded talent in baseball circles.
So, why isn’t this working?
Can you critique the deals that Zduriencik has made? Some, but not all. Fans were excited when he pulled off the Cliff Lee deal, but the Doug Fister trade is never going to make sense to the fans.
The signing of Robinson Cano does have the feel of a desperate move made by a GM who realizes that his master plan of building with youth is just not working. Is Zduriencik worried about a 10-year deal? Mostly likely not. After all, he is unlikely to be here in 10 years. He might be gone in less than one year.
In theory, this will all go away if the Mariners can actually put together a positive first month of the season. That said, the Mariners have some work to do and the young hitters had better start producing fast. If Taijuan Walker and James Paxton don’t pan out, the youngsters still hit .230 and Cano has a slow start, Jack Z may find himself on the hot seat.