Listen up, Nay-sayers
After all they say, “wasn’t it under Zduriencik’s watch the Mariners 213-273 in three seasons, while hitting .242/.301/.363/.664, and finishing dead last in every major offensive statistical category (HR-210, RBI -1,019, Hits-2,537, and Runs-1,069) over the last two seasons?”
I usually answer the pessimist with a resounding yes. There is no question the Mariners have had their fair share of ups and down’s at the major league level.
I do not think there is much of argument against the contrary, but Jack Zduriencik has been a success in his post as Mariners GM and VP of player personnel.
It goes beyond just wins and losses, although I can understand how some fans cannot look past that.
I will give you 5 good reasons why you can indeed trust Jack Z.
1. Team direction
Jack Zduriencik has been consistent from the onset in saying that his model for building championship contender by putting a heavy emphasis on drafting and grooming homegrown talent. That is a far cry from the days of Bill Bavasi, who failed miserably in drafting or developing homegrown talent.
The result was frivolously trying to build a faux contender by throwing money at any veteran free agent that would listen. If anything Jack Zduriencik has proven in his short time here is, he has not only been consistent in establishing a direction, but has formed one of the most talented nucleus’ in MLB.
The first year player draft has been Jack Zduriencik’s area of expertise since his days as a scouting director with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Having benefited from high drafting slots, Zduriencik has been able draft sure fire MLB talent in Dustin Ackley, Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, and Danny Hultzen, as well as being able to round out his draft classes with prime talent at core positions with 2B/3B Kyle Seager, SS’s Nick Franklin and Bradley Miller, 1B Rich Poythress, C Steve Baron, OF James Jones, and just turned catcher Marcus Littlewood.
Just like with Milwaukee, the fruits of Zduriencik’s labors have already started to pay dividends as Ackley and Seager are already in Seattle, with many more set to make their MLB debuts within the next year.
3. Minor league depth
When Zduriencik took over in late 2008, he inherited a barren wasteland of a minor league system. It was devoid of talent as most mid-to-late season minor league call ups produced nothing much in the way of ready made major league talent.
As a matter of fact, heading into Zduriencik’s first full season in 2009, Baseball America had the Mariners minor league organization ranked #24th in MLB. After his first full draft, the Mariners then jumped to 12 spots in 2010 to #12.
The Mariners 2011 #18 ranking shouldn’t detract from their abundance of talent throughout the entire minor league organization.
4. Major League payroll
It’s no secret that Jack Zduriencik has not had the payroll he would’ve liked to have over his first three seasons. What some may have not realized was that most of Jack Zduriencik’s payroll was tied up in albatross contracts of Jared Washburn, Carlos Silva, Yuniesky Betencourt, Kenji Johjima, Ichiro Suzuki, and Milton Bradley.
Because of that, Zduriencik either had to pay to get rid of some via trade (Silva, Betencourt, and maybe Washburn -depending on how you look at it) or had to just wait out their contracts out altogether (Johjima, Bradley, and Silva).
Whatever room Zduriencik had to maneuver to upgrade the roster had to come from mid-level FA signings, and savvy trades.
For the mess Zduriencik inherited, he has not only been able to make the configuration of the roster work, but he has been financially responsible doing so.
5. Trade savvy
This has been one of Jack Zduriencik’s brightest areas of player personnel. Three team trades that have netted MLB talent (Franklin Gutierrez, Jason Vargas, Justin Smoak, Blake Beavan, Josh Lueke, and Trayvon Robinson) or player for player deals that have equally has payed off (David Aardsma, Brandon League, and Brenden Ryan), has made Zduriencik very popular among the Mariners fan base because of his ability to maximize the Mariners net gain in return value.
It is also giving fans hope that the rebuilding efforts could be short tracked by Zduriencik’s ability to deal.
There should be no argument that Jack Zduriencik’s efforts have been leaps and bounds above where Bill Bavasi left the franchise. I know it’s hard to look at the major league product and not cringe, but this team is headed in the right direction.
It’s going to take time and a little bit of money, but this team is in good hands.
If the playoffs and championships are your thing, you can be breathe easier knowing that winning a World Series title is the only thing on the mind of Jack Zduriencik.
That you can bank on, be able to put your trust in.
After all, in Jack Z, we trust.