Dec 12, 2013; Settle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik listens to new Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano (right) answer a question during a press conference at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
The radio silence is finally over for Jack Zduriencik. In Jack’s latest interview on Thursday he discussed a few of the issues the Seattle Mariners face this coming spring. Obviously from a fans perspective, the main concern is (what’s left of) the free agency period and are there more moves coming. I really hope that what he had to say during this interview was just smoke and mirrors.
"I don’t suspect we’ll make a major move but we hopefully will do a couple of things that will be tweaks that help the club certainly for this year"
Sounds to me like someone upstairs said no to more money. I have a tough time seeing that our ball club is really that much better as it stands compared to where we were last year.
Did we make a big splash signing Robinson Cano, yes. Did we make what could be (pending injuries) a couple of nice additions in Logan Morrison and Corey Hart, yes. Do we have our new skipper, yes. But lets look at what the questions were coming into this offseason:
- Who is playing in the outfield for 2014?
- Who is pitching after Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma?
- Who will be 2014’s DH/1B alongside Justin Smoak?
- How do we fix our offense?
So after seeing those four questions, how much better do you think we are at the moment compared to last year? Cano is a great player, don’t get me wrong, but why did we give up on Nick Franklin already?
We just committed $240 million dollars to a guy that has already peaked in his career. $240 million would have brought in 2, maybe 3 guys who would make a serious impact and have answered two of those questions you see above this paragraph.
"As for the pitching rotation, Zduriencik was asked if he was comfortable with how his rotation sits, Zduriencik said, “not tremendously.”"
Well duh. The rotation got worse, not better Jack. That was your job. If he really thinks that bringing in a couple of ‘has-been’ or oft-injured starting pitchers will silence the masses, he is dead wrong.
You did that last season with Aaron Harang, Joe Saunders, and Jeremy Bonderman.. remember? So as it stands we are putting all of our faith in the youth of this ball club’s pitching and banking on the veteran leadership to help those younger guys mature rather quickly.
My cautiously optimistic view for the day is that our offense should be improved from last year. Cano is coming from one of the more hitter friendly parks in baseball to one of the most pitching friendly parks in the MLB.
Even with the fences moved in at Safeco, we still ranked 15th on ESPN’s “Park Factor” list. But I am not sure that matters. He is a great hitter no matter what the park. LoMo and Hart will provide power as long as they can stay healthy.
Our ‘X’ factor for 2014 will be Justin Smoak. He has to produce for us this year. This is make or break time for him. No more excuses. No more coming out of spring training and hiding under a rock til the middle of August. He has to fill the void left by Kendrys Morales and Raul Ibanez.
What about our outfield? Franklin Gutierrez is back. If he is healthy, we all know what he is capable of. He is without a doubt our best option at CF.
I do sincerely believe that this roster can compete in the AL West barring injuries. LoMo, Heart, Guti, Smoak, and most of all, the King must stay healthy. Even with the new roster there is no individual player that will separate us from the rest of the AL West. $240 million will not buy us another 30 wins (see LA Angels).
It will take a team effort. Lloyd McClendon has his work cut out for him.