mariners

Mariners second half uncertainty revolves around the deadline

Don’t Be Complacent Jack!

As the Seattle Mariners open up their second half of the schedule tonight in Houston, there seems to be an undercurrent of apprehension moving forward amongst the fan base. Will they or won’t they be sellers come July 31st?

It’s a fair question to ask. With the team currently sitting nine games under .500 (43-52), they are more likely to be the Houston Astros at the end of the season than the Oakland A’s.

The Mariners definitely have the sort of record that would indicate they should be sellers.

Don’t get me wrong, but it came as no surprise (to me at least) that GM Jack Zduriencik publicly stated this week to Mariners beat writer Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times that he is not actively shopping anyone off of his 25-man roster.

Now some may look at that as posturing from the lame duck GM, but I don’t necessarily see it that way.

There were expectations heading into the 2013 season for the Mariners.

On paper, the Mariners were good enough to finish at .500 at the worst. As we know, baseball isn’t played on paper. Because of inconsistency and some mismanagement of injuries,  the Mariners floated through the first half of the season much in the way most Mariner skeptics anticipated.

Outside of the last 13 games or so, they have largely been a big disappointment but let’s understand that nine games below .500 isn’t a death nail to their season. Jack Zduriencik understands this better than anyone, which is why this deadline doesn’t have the same feel as the previous four.

Seattle Mariners’ general manager Jack Zduriencik

Expectations and setting the bar high are two things hard to achieve in the Jack Z era.

There is determination to improve this team with this deadline. There are also subtle notes of desperation as well.

Expectations

Expectations have been a hard thing for the Mariners to achieve in Jack Zduriencik’s five years in charge. Outside of the draft, this team has failed more than it’s seen success (360 losses in four complete seasons, with a myriad of bad trades to be exact, but who’s counting?).

Zduriencik can not afford anymore failures if he indeed has the want to continue his tenure. The 2013 ball club that he assembled must come close to that .500 mark or this season will go down as an epic failure, which is exactly why he’s not going to be a seller.

He can’t afford to ship off any of his veterans even if that means he loses out on compensatory draft picks. His job hanging on by a thin thread. He has to push all his chips in and let the cards lay where they fall.

He understands the new collective bargaining agreement. He understands the Mariners are actually in front of the curve with some of their pieces, but he also realizes he may not be around next season to reap the benefits.

That is where the shades of desperation lay. He has two and a half months to convince Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong that he is indeed worthy of the two year extension he covets.

All drafts aside, it’s not enough to retain him. Up to this point, he has not shown he has the ability to field a team worthy of .500. It’s been a hodgepodge of one year deals mixed in with underachieving youth.

Maybe you can write most of that off with excuses. Unfortunately, the time for excuses is over. It’s either live up to your expectations or get out.

Seasons cannot continue to be wasted on the hopes and dreams of youth. Success in major professional sports is dictated by how many rings you have, and the last time I checked we have zero.

That doesn’t mean Jack is a failure, it just means he cannot be complacent.

Be sure to tune in to the First Pitch tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. PST on Fox Sports 1380 am as Dre from the 206 and I determine whether or not Zduriencik is indeed posturing by publicly stating he’s not a seller.

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