The Seattle Mariners haven’t had a winning season since 2009. They have only six seasons over .500 so far this century. They haven’t made the playoffs since 2001, when they won an MLB record-tying 116 games, but didn’t make it to the World Series.
General Manager Jack Zduriencik was hired at the conclusion of the 2008 season. A season in which the Mariners became the first MLB team ever to lose over 100 games with a payroll of over $100 million.
After a winning campaign in his first season, the Mariners have suffered four straight losing seasons with two of them, the team dropped over 90 games.
Down to just this season left on his contract, Zduriencik shocked the baseball world by signing Robinson Cano to a 10-year deal to play second for the M’s. But he did little else to prepare this anemic lineup to be able to support and protect Cano.
Now, in the middle of the AL Wild-Card hunt and hovering just over .500, Jack pulled off two trades at the deadline and one just prior. Bringing back Kendrys Morales seems like a desperation move to me. The team needed a right-handed power bat in the outfield. So he gets a switch-hitting 1B/DH.
The moves made on deadline day make a bit more sense. Getting Austin Jackson from the Tigers for Nick Franklin is a strong move. And while he is a true leadoff hitter, he is not a “power” hitter. Adding Chris Denorfia is viewed as being a “I guess we’ll see” move.
Many “experts” picked this team to compete for the AL West title this season. Some picked them to finish just ahead of the Astros. I had them 4th in the West – and still think they’d be there if Texas hadn’t been dealt so many injuries.
I had the Mariners finishing two games over .500 (82-80) and missing the playoffs by five games. The question is, “What will it take to save Zduriencik’s job?” A record above .500? A playoff appearance? A deep playoff run? A World Series appearance or victory?
No one but Jack and the Mariners front office know what expectations were laid out to him prior to the season. I would hope that a simple record above .500 would not be good enough, especially when there have been opportunities to improve this club that he has passed on.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that Jack didn’t trade Taijuan Walker or D.J. Peterson or other top prospects. But there are other moveable parts on this roster that were left untouched. It makes me wonder if Jack sees that his expectations are within reach and he let off the gas.
I hope not. I hope that the realistic expectation that the front office gave Jack was, “Get in the playoffs.” If that was the edict, then he still has some work to do. There will be players available through trades between now and August 31. Players have to make it through waivers without being claimed by another team, but there will be pieces for him to work with.
These next few weeks will prove pivotal for Jack Zduriencik, the Mariners organization and the team’s playoff hopes. Mariners fans can either hope that Jack falls short of his expectations and loses his job – though that means another losing season for Seattle (most likely). Or they can hope for Jack to do what is necessary to make the playoffs. But then it most certainly means he signs an extension.
What do you want M’s fans? What do you think the edict was from the front office? Sound off in the poll below.
Tags: Seattle Mariners