The strategy of Jack Z
Public statements are often frustration points for fans who want details that are simply not known or by sharing publicly would jeopardize negotiations.
For whatever Jack said or did not say in the meetings on Tuesday, Jack Z is heading into his fourth off season and his strategy is fairly obvious.
1. Turn Seattle in contenders instead of pretenders
While Jack Z has shown that he isn’t afraid of going after headlining names, there is no single player out there that can revolutionize the Mariners.
While Z would be a fool not to consider a high profile bat such as Prince Fielder, his primary concern is revolutionizing the farm system so that the Mariners don’t have to pretend to be good for a year only to fall back out of the AL West title completion for the following decade.
As a former scouting director he will be looking for potential instead prestige.
2. Work within budget
Young talent is considerably cheaper than old talent. Dustin Ackley signed a 5 year contract with the Mariners with a max payout of 10 million total. Prince Fielder’s asking price is sitting at 8 year 200 million range. Ackley’s five years don’t even total half of one year of Prince’s asking price.
The M’s have about 15-20 million to work with this off season, how they handle that money is a huge factor in why type of ball Seattle can play.
Do they blow that on one player?
What if he is injured?
What if he bombs?
The Mariners are already carrying the contract of a player who isn’t pulling their weight.
3. Power protection
The Mariners need offense because right now, they are an offense. Zduriencik will be looking for bats that have consistency, not merely pop. Consider the Yankees, walk Texeria and you get ARod, walk ARod and you face Cano.
The Mariners may not have that kind of power, but their principle is the same. Guys that hit doubles consistently can be just as troubling to an opposing pitcher as home run threats.
Unless Seattle works a solid #3 and #5 to surround someone like Prince, signing him will make very little difference to the M’s overall offensive efforts.
4. Dominate pitching
In 2011 the Mariners magic number was 4. With four runs in they could often win a game, even against power teams. This is due to the fact that the mariners have a pitching strategy.
The Mariners are always looking for pitching. Jack indicated that he is looking for another starter. This is probably to fill a spot until Hultzen and Paxton are fully ready to join the big league club.
Zduriencik also mentioned that the M’s need a dominant lefty to work out of the pen.
5. Mentoring presence
The Mariners are looking to complement their young staff with veteran player/coaches. Jamie Wright, Adam Kennedy, Miguel Olivo, Wily Mo Pena and Brendan Ryan are examples of the type of guys Zduriencik will be looking at.
Not overly dominant themselves but solid in their technique at their position.
Look for The M’s trades announcements on players that can fill a mentoring role for a season or two until mentorees (Like Nick Franklin, Trayvon Robinson, Fransisco Martinez, etc) can take over in a regular capacity.
The M’s were a mess when Zduriencik took over in 2008, and he is approaching a long tem solution instead of a quick fix. We want answers about this season, he wants answers to 2014 and beyond. Don’t get me wrong.
If the M’s sign Fielder I’ll cheer until I’m horse, but I’d trade the excitement factor for more wins any day.
Get crackin Jack.