Mariners News: Jack Zduriencik Out as M’s GM


The Seattle Mariners fired longtime General Manager Jack Zduriencik on Friday morning. The M’s broke the news on twitter, and the fanbase immediately erupted with joy. Assistant GM, Jeff Kingston will serve as the interim GM for the remainder of the 2015 season.

Zduriencik’s tenure in Seattle has been largely unproductive. He spent nine years in the Milwaukee Brewers front office prior to being hired by the M’s in 2008. Z arrived in the Emerald City with a reputation for developing young talent. However, he was unable to duplicate the success he had drafting players in Milwaukee.

The Mariners amassed a record of 505-595 under the command of Zduriencik, good for a .459 winning percentage. Across his seven seasons in Seattle, the M’s tallied just two winning seasons. Worst of all, the Mariners failed to make any postseason appearances with Z at the helm.

Seattle Mariners’ CEO Howard Lincoln released a statement regarding the firing of Jack Zduriencik shortly after it was announced.

Lincoln’s statement is pretty basic, but it is worth noting that Zduriencik “was committed to building a winning team.” Obviously, that is every GM’s goal, but few have failed more than Z in this department.

Drafting was Zduriencik’s calling card in Milwaukee. He was reportedly responsible for selecting All-Stars like Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, J.J. Hardy and Corey Hart. Z was lauded for picking Dustin Ackley with his first selection as Mariners’ GM in 2009, but we all know how that turned out. Danny Hultzen is another example of a disastrous first round pick. Many of his early round selections have flopped, and some have never even donned a Mariners’ uniform. The lone Zduriencik draft pick to represent Seattle at an All-Star game is Kyle Seager.

Trades have also been a struggle for Zduriencik and his staff. After earning the nickname “Trader Jack” for acquiring Franklin Gutierrez prior to the 2009 season, much of the moves made in the years since have backfired. Justin Smoak was acquired from Texas in 2010 as part of the return package for Cliff Lee. Smoak floundered in Seattle before being jettisoned in 2014. This season, Z dismantled the bullpen that played a key role in the club’s success in 2014, and the results have not been pretty.

Hiring managers has perhaps been Zduriencik’s biggest failing. Z hired Don Wakamatsu to run the Mariners in 2009. Wakamatsu led the M’s to 85 wins in his first season, but was fired the midway through the following season after the players essentially staged a mutiny. Eric Wedge served as the skipper for three years, never tallying more than 75 wins in a single season. Wedge quit following the 2013 season, citing lack of front office leadership as his reason for leaving. Lloyd McClendon was brought on board in 2014, and guided Seattle to 87 wins last season. However, 2015 has been a disaster, and he is likely to follow Z out the door after this season.

Free agency has been a mixed bag for Zduriencik in Seattle. Z earned a lot of positive vibes for inking Ken Griffey Jr. to a contract prior to the 2009 season. Robinson Cano was signed to a 10 year/$240 million dollar deal in 2013 after starring with the New York Yankees for nearly a decade. However, it was reported after the ink dried that Zduriencik was fooled into bidding against himself to sign Cano. Nelson Cruz was signed this past offseason, and he is perhaps the best free agent signing in club history. At the same time, awful signings like Chone Figgins are still painful to M’s fans.

Z had trouble building teams. After winning 85 games in 2009, Zduriencik and his staff added a number of players to push the team over the top. Seattle proceeded to lose 101 games in 2010. The M’s won 87 games in 2014, and finished just 1 game shy of making the postseason for the first time since 2001. Z once again tinkered with the roster in the offseason, and made the team worse. Seattle is 10 games under .500 right now, and 12 games out in the American League West with a month left in the 2015 season.

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This move has been a long time coming, and should not come as a big surprise. Mariners’ President, Jeff Mather met with the media this morning in Chicago. According to Bob Dutton of The News Tribune, Mather will be on the hunt for an experienced GM. Dutton adds that Mather hopes to secure a replacement by seasons end, but “October is more likely.” Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times notes that Mather acknowledged he was “probably too slow getting to this.” Divish is also reporting that McClendon is safe for now.

It will be interesting to see what happens in Seattle. I am glad Jack Zduriencik has been relieved of his duties, but I believe the M’s are a couple years late in making the decision. McClendon has a slim chance to remain in the Manager in 2016, but I expect the new GM will want his own guy. This season has been a train wreck, and today’s developments are further proof this organization is run by incompetent individuals.

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