GM Jack Zduriencik hasn’t been able to duplicate the success he had in Milwaukee to Seattle
The Seattle Mariners made the announcement Friday morning that they have relieved general manager Jack Zduriencik of his duties and that assistant general manager Jeff Kingston will be the interim GM for the remainder of the 2015 season.
This move by the Mariners is not much of a surprise. Zduriencik was hired by Seattle in October 2008, mainly due to his ability to draft and develop prospects. In his previous position Zduriencik was the Brewers director of scouting and was responsible for stocking the Brewers farm system with future stars including Prince Fielder, J.J. Hardy, Corey Hart, Ryan Braun, Yovani Gallardo, Rickie Weeks and Jonathan Lucroy.
With names like that on his list of prospects, Zduriencik had much success in Milwaukee. He was considered a scouting and development guru of sorts. The team who hadn’t been to the post season since 1981 finally were named as the National League Wild Card in 2008 and in 2011 they won the NL Central due in large part to the players Zduriencik had scouted and helped acquire.
His track record with the Brewers was what encouraged Mariners’ owners Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong to hire him as the new general manager, replacing Bill Bavasi, back in 2008. Unfortunately, Zduriencik’s success did not translate in Seattle. The team has had issues with prospects ever since, with the exception of Kyle Seager who Zduriencik did sign to a long-term contract after last season.
Now including Seager the team has $80 million tied up among five players – Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, Felix Hernandez, Seth Smith and Seager. Having that much money tied to just five players isn’t exactly an ideal situation even though Cano, Cruz and Hernandez are all considered top talent.
That being the case the team needs to be able to develop players from within their own system but that hasn’t happened under Zduriencik. Not that all the blame should be put on him, even though he did have a pick in the top three – three different times during his seven-year tenure.
But prospects like Dustin Ackley, Mike Zunino and Danny Hultzen have not become the cornerstone of the team as they were expected to be. Other prospects like Nick Franklin, Taijuan Walker, Brad Miller and Brandon Maurer just haven’t made a smooth transitions into the Majors suggesting that the Mariners’ farm system can’t turn good minor leaguers into successful Major leaguers.
There have also been questionable trades made under Zduriencik like the trade that sent that sent now-big league starter Michael Pineda to the New York Yankees, the Mariners could definitely use Pineda today.
2015 has been a huge disappointment for the Mariners who are currently in fourth place in the American League West. Coming into the season – off an 85 win season in 2014 – the Mariners were the favorite to win the division. Sadly, the Mariners have just never been able to get it together under Zduriencik so his departure from Seattle isn’t exactly a new idea.