This postseason has been more than exciting. Dare I say historic? Wildcard Wednesday quickly crept through the whispers of baseball lovers and into the vernacular of game. That was one of the best night’s of baseball I’ve ever experienced, capped by the collapse the Boston Red Sox. That wonderful, wonderful collapse. I don’t remember cheering as loud as I did with that Orioles walk off. I never have. I have never cheered that loud for a team across the country. Imagine if that was Baltimore’s clinching game! The possibilities.
Yesterday, the Detroit Tigers clinched entrance to the American League Championship Series. Great news for Doug Fister fans. Great news for people who just love to watch the Evil Empire crumble. It’s was a great moment for the Tigers ballclub, and now the Yankees will spend more money to correct the “problem” of not winning a World Series. Great. Just, great.
Today is the biggest day of the year for two National League teams. Two team’s seasons end today. If Philadelphia tops St. Louis, it’ll be the fourth straight year of the Phillies making it to or past the Championship Series. The Phillies have a team you dream about drafting in your MLB fantasy leagues, except that Ruben Amaro actually did it. When filling your fantasy starting rotation draft-board, you would dream about Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt playing together, but in actuality you can really only draft one of those players, plus Derek Lowe and Phil Coke. The Phillies really have four aces. In real life. Good golly.
If the Milwaukee Brewers win against the Diamondbacks tonight, it will be the furthest they’ve been since their 1982 World Series loss.
The 2011 Brewers are essentially a Jack Zduriencik team.
If you don’t believe me, examine their roster:
Let’s go right down the list and examine how each player was acquired:
- John Axford – Signed minor league contract March 4th, 2008
- Marco Estrada – Claimed off waivers February 3rd, 2010
- Yovani Gallardo – Drafted by MIL in 2004
- Zack Greinke – Traded for Jake Odorizzi, Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Jeremy Jeffress December 19th, 2010
- LaTroy Hawkins – Signed as a free agent December 9th, 2009
- Kameron Loe -Signed as a free agent December 18th, 2009
- Shaun Marcum – Traded for Brett Lawrie December 6th, 2010
- Chris Narveson – Signed as a free agent December 4th, 2007
- Francisco Rodriguez – Traded for Adrian Rosario, Danny Herrera July 12, 2011
- Takashi Saito – Signed as a free agent January 5th, 2011
- Randy Wolf – Signed as a free agent December 9th, 2009
- George Kottaras – Selected off waivers and signed November 18th, 2009
- Jonathan Lucroy – Drafted by MIL in 2007
- Yuniesky Betancourt – Traded for Jake Odorizzi, Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Jeremy Jeffress December 19th, 2010
- Craig Counsell – Signed as a free agent December 22nd, 2010
- Prince Fielder – Drafted by MIL in 2002
- Taylor Green – Drafted by MIL in 2005
- Jerry Hairston – Traded for Erik Komatsu July 30th, 2011
- Casey McGehee – Selected off waivers October 29th, 2008
- Rickie Weeks – Drafted by MIL 2003
- Ryan Braun – Drafted by MIL 2005
- Carlos Gomez – Traded for J.J. Hardy November 6th, 2009
- Corey Hart – Drafted by MIL 2000
- Mark Kotsay – Signed as a free agent February 4th, 2011
- Nyjer Morgan – Traded for Cutter Dykstra March 27th, 2011
That’s the list, and if you aren’t tired of lists! here’s Jack Zudriencik’s employment history with the Milwaukee Brewers:
- Director of Scouting, 1999 – 2006
- Special Assistant to the GM, 2006 – 2008
- Director of Amateur Scouting, 2006 – 2008
- Special Assistant to the GM for Player Personnel – 2008
The the thing interests me the most are the trades that happened after he left Milwaukee. He is indirectly involved in those trades: all of the players involved with the Greinke/Betancourt trade were either drafted or signed while Zduriencik was with Milwaukee. Lawrie was drafted by Zduriencik. Rosario was drafted by Zduriencik. See where I’m going with this?
Dr. Z was hired by the Mariners because of his ability to evaluate talent. Even after he’s long gone from Seattle, we will still feel ripples of his regime. Three years after his last transaction with Milwaukee, they are still feeling it. From here on out, any player that we trade for will be considered a Zduriencik guy. Everything is linked, connected – his watermark is all over this franchise now.
This is great news, Mariners faithful! The reason Kansas City traded with Milwaukee is because they liked what they saw in those prospects drafted by Zduriencik. Greinke might not have found his way to the Brew Crew if Zduriencik hadn’t drafted the way he did. Marcum definitely wouldn’t have solidified the roster if Zduriencik hadn’t found Lawrie. The same goes with the back end of the bullpen – the Brewers might not have been able to snag K-Rod from the Mets if it weren’t for those draft picks. Axford wouldn’t be the one closing the door if Zduriencik didn’t tell someone in the front office to take a chance on him.
Zduriencik is taking chances right now. Steve Delabar. Tom Wilhelmsen. The substitute teacher and bartender. Kyle Seager made his way onto the big club’s roster: do you think he’ll stick around? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe another team will see something they like in him, and Zduriencik can wheel and deal to make the Mariners better.
Even if the Brewers don’t win today, it still bodes well for us Mariners faithful. It shows us the possibilities of a team built from the ground up. It shows us the excitement that can permeate a city during the playoffs. It shows us hope.
Jack Zduriencik signed a two-year extension with Seattle.
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