Mariners Insider

Got any more at home like Jack Zduriencik?

Post by Larry Larue / The News Tribune on Feb. 5, 2010 at 7:19 am with 8 Comments »
February 5, 2010 9:30 am

Jack Zduriencik is on a once-in-a-lifetime roll, and the biggest question is why it took baseball so long to give him the opportunity to get it started.

Jack Zduriencik
The former high school football coach, about to start his second season as the Seattle Mariners general manager, is 59. Perhaps because he didn’t get a GM job until late in his career, he hasn’t wasted much time.
A year ago he brought he Mariners Franklin Gutierrez, David Aardsma, Russell Branyan, Jack Wilson, Ian Snell, Mike Sweeney and Ken Griffey Jr.

This winter, he’s acquired Cliff Lee, Milton Bradley – trading the untradeable Carlos Silva!Chone Figgins, Brandon League, Casey Kotchman, Eric Byrnes, Ryan Garko and another season of Junior.

Under Zduriencik, the Mariners rebuilt their front office and scouting department, then began restocking their minor league system with new talent, from draftees like Dustin Ackley to a power-hitting first base like Tommy Everidge.

This week, Zduriencik ushered in a pre-spring training crash course for 41 of the Mariners most promising youngsters at the team’s Peoria, Ariz. complex. There, they’re taught not just how to play the game but how to understand it. There are seminars on working with the media, and before the mini-camp ends, each player will be given a detailed analysis of his strengths and weaknesses – and 2010 goals.

And Zduriencik took his entire front office staff with him to the Dominican Republic this week, where they’re finalizing plans for the Mariners baseball complex there.

Oh yes, and from a distance he’s monitoring free agent Erik Bedard.

In 15 1/2 months, Zduriencik has put his stamp on the team and the franchise, in the process turning a 101-loss group into one that won 85 games in 2009 and is expected to contend in 2010.

Along the way, he’s been honored by his peers, cheered by fans who’d never heard his name until he was hired, and brought in a manager and coaching staff who torched a losing environment.

Makes one wonder where the Mariners might be today if Zduriencik had succeeded a retiring Pat Gillick

And now, a few links:

  • Shortstop Jack Wilson lives in Southern California, where he is now the proud owner of local batting cage complex. No cheap shots, please.
  • Jamie Moyer hadn’t undergone an operation in his career, but he’s had three since October – and still, at 47, thinks he’ll be pitching by opening day. Don’t bet against him.
  • Orlando Hudson, who was going to be a Mariner, a National, an Indian,  an Athletic, a White Sox and a Ray this off-season, signed a one-year, $5 million deal – and became a Twin.
  • No sooner had Hudson signed with Minnesota than Washington signed Adam Kennedy to play second base – after making him wait two weeks to see what Hudson did.
  • Add Hudson: The New York Post, snarky as ever, says the Dodgers thought Hudson had lost so much speed last year they started calling the ‘O-Dog’ the ‘Slow-Dog.’   Ouch.
  • What did catcher Rob Johnson endure last season before undergoing a pair of hip surgeries? Trainer Rick Griffin tells Everett’s Kirby Arnold that Johnson had trouble crouching.
  • Chicago GM Ken Williams says the key to the White Sox rotation this season could be “the anchor” – No. 5 starter Freddy Garcia.
  • When NW product Grady Sizemore met with the media at a Cleveland event this week, he discussed his future with the Indians – and those semi-nude photos that hit the internet. A female reporter, apparently, told Grady she enjoyed them. Yikes.
Leave a comment Comments → 8
  1. stevenrey says:

    I’m very hopeful about the Mariners this year under Jack Z’s leadership. I’m a little slower to grant him sainthood yet. Time will tell.

  2. brianc1279 says:

    An Ontario newspaper quoted Bedard as saying that he accepted a one year deal with the Mariners and he is on his way to Arizona for the physical. Lookoutlanding has the details.

  3. Yes, I know Bedard doesn’t have a lot of options; but nonetheless the fact that he went from pretty much hating it here to wanting to come back may be the biggest magic trick from our Mr. Z yet!

  4. pwhit44 says:

    Larry, Tommy Everidge was designated for assignment last week when he signed Ryan Garko.

  5. Larry Larue says:

    pw – he was, indeed, but cleared waivers and was outrighted to tacoma. he’ll be in spring training.

  6. wabubba67 says:

    Hi Larry,

    Heard you on 710 yesterday…sounded great! Don’t go all “big time” on us, though. :-) Have a good weekend!

  7. Larry Larue says:

    bubba – i usualy leave radio and tv to ryan divish, that handsome devil. but glad you were listening…

  8. westside_guy says:

    Rob Johnson had trouble crouching? That might explain a lot of the passed balls and wild pitches, I guess… (he had 2x the passed ball rate of the average MLB catcher)

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