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Eric Wedge resigned from the Mariners the other day and that made me very happy because Eric Wedge is a horrendous manager, there are worse managers (cough Dusty Baker), but that’s not really the point. The problem with the Mariners lies higher up the food chain than Eric Wedge.
As bad at using the players that he had as Wedge was he certainly didn’t have a lot to work with, and that’s the issue. While a dumb manager can do a lot of damage, the fact of the matter is that a good manager doesn’t add much and managers aren’t really all that important anyways. The problem here was not, and has never really been Wedge. The problem is higher and sits in the GM’s chair.
Jack Zduriencik is absolutely the problem, the man does not understand how modern baseball works and has shown absolutely zero willingness recently to learn. He has gleefully discarded valuable statistics and analysis in the pursuit of home runs and RBI’s. He is the head of probably one of the most backwards thinking front offices in all of pro sports. And while the problem may run deeper, for now I see no reason not to lay this last season directly at his feet.
Look at the roster for Opening Night of 2013 (don’t look directly at it or you’ll go blind) compared to the 2012 roster. The 2012 mariners were by no means a good team, but look who’s gone from 2012 to 2013, it’s all guys who have greater value when you look just even the smallest bit beyond things like ERA or Batting Average, even something as simple as age. Sure Raul Ibanez was not the worst at hitting this year(historically bad at defense, 0.0 WAR) but in what world should a young developing team want him and Jason Bay over Casper Wells and Mike Carp.
These are admittedly not great players, but that’s not really the point, these are equally bad at the least players who are much, much younger. What was the plan last year? This team can’t seriously have thought that they would be good could they? If they did that’s all the more disturbing because it means that this front office is completely incapable of evaluating their own talent. And while I think that was somewhat the case I think the truth is a little more depressing.
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There was no plan, there is no plan, there will not be a plan. Jack Zduriencik is a lame duck, He does not care about the future, he only cares about saving his job for next year. This was the problem last year and it could ruin the Mariners future. Just imagine that last year Jack Z’s desperate plan to sign Josh Hamilton had worked, we’d be in a pretty tight spot right now with a player who occupies a huge part of our salary and with little, to no results to show.
Well guess what? Zduriencik is going to get another chance to make a big move this offseason and I’m praying that it doesn’t work out. Because even if somehow Jack Z can sign a big money free agent our team will not be better. One player is not the key in the MLB, one player will never be the key, you need a whole team, 25 players deep, of decent, major league level, all-around talent. Stars are nice sometimes but you can’t afford to overpay for slightly above average talent when you’re a team like the Mariners.
That’s why I’m out on the Mariners, at least until they install a new front office. We just don’t really have a fair chance to be any good as long as Jack Z is free-styling his roster moves off his home run leader Excel sheet. So assuming that Zduriencik is gone after this year, then I’ll start paying attention, and hope that he hasn’t crafted a ruin of a roster that will take another five years to undo on his way out the door.
Have faith, the Mariners will get better someday, it just won’t be while Jack Zduriencik still has a job in Seattle.