Jack’s back for 2014

 As reported earlier Tuesday by Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, the Seattle Mariners have confirmed that general manager Jack Zduriencik will return for year six. The fate of manager Eric Wedge has not been addressed publicly by the team or Zduriencik, but I am being told Wedge will be replaced.

There are a lot of reasons to replace Zduriencik, too — and I wrote last week that cleaning house is the right move, but I also noted that I do believe Zduriencik could eventually make things right. I also stated that the rebuild is now on a very time-sensitive course.

Jack Zduriencik has done some very positive things for the Mariners organization. He’s committed to rebuilding through the draft and player development, he’s taken some good risks on young players every year but 2009. He’s stayed away from trying to build the core of the team through free agency — the club didn’t even attempt to sign big-money names prior to the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons — and the scouting department is in much better shape than it was under Bill Bavasi. Those are all necessary pieces of the puzzle in Major League Baseball.

What Zduriencik has not done, in the most general of terms, is improve the performance on the field at the big-league level. The year before Zduriencik was hired, 2008, the club ended the season at 61-101. In 2009 the M’s won 85 games. Then the win totals went back to 61, 67 and 75. All would be different if 2013 were looking like another step in the right direction, but with even one more loss, the M’s will clinch another 90-loss campaign.

That isn’t progress.

Yes, the farm system is better. Yes, the raw talent on the field is better than it was in ’08. But not enough of Zduriencik’s moves for the 25-man roster have made a significant impact. Making a change at GM was certainly warranted. The higher-ups decided to stick with Zduriencik, anyway.

There are several problems with such a move, including the idea of having a lame duck GM. I’m told Zduriencik is on a very short leash, which is always an absolutely terrible situation for any organization. This likely means he does not have full autonomy over personnel decisions. It strongly suggests Chuck Armstrong has a hand, or two, in all baseball decisions. This is the absolute worst scenario for the Seattle Mariners.

Making a change at GM is something I believe the organization made an attempt to do this summer. I’m told they called around and asked about some veteran general managers, both current and former, and were rebuffed, leading them back to standing pat. And speaking of “pat,” I do not believe for one second that Pat Gillick was part of the Mariners’ “scouting” process if they indeed checked in on some potential GM candidates. Gillick may be more interested in Armstrong or Howard Lincoln’s job, anyway, but from what I can gather there’s zero chance the Hall of Famer will work for Lincoln in any capacity.

So, the Mariners’ GM job is still Zduriencik’s. If you don’t like that, I understand. Whether the club has the wherewithal to make a good choice on baseball people remains to be seen, but all signs — ALL SIGNS — point to NO. I also see the light at the end of the tunnel — with Zduriencik at the helm.

There is money there to be spent. There are young talents to trade to acquire proven players that will have a direct impact on the win-loss record. There are enough smarts in the front office to build a better roster, both in terms of overall talent and in terms of structure. Zduriencik knows that the club cannot sacrifice nearly as much defense as they did in 2013, particularly if the trade-off isn’t huge offensive upside. Zduriencik knows the philosophy has to change or the results won’t, either.

While I don’t believe any general manager in the game could grab the reins of this baseball team and make them legitimate contenders between now and 2014, there are ways to get a lot better, and keeping Zduriencik for another year doesn’t prevent them from doing so, and it doesn’t even greatly reduce the chances. Contention in 2014? No. Eighty five wins? Possible. Maybe it would be more probable with another GM, but not just any GM. And since there’s just as little evidence that the suits would make the right choice, keeping Zduriencik may be the lesser of two evils, so to speak.

When Zduriencik first arrived in Seattle, he made deals that showed he understood what types of things don’t work in baseball; high-paid relievers, poor defensive players up the middle and lack of depth and roster flexibility. We know he recognized these things because he made the trade that sent J.J. Putz to the New York Mets. That trade brought in centerfielder Franklin Gutierrez, an undervalued player at the time, and left-hander Jason Vargas, another great value.

The deal to bring in Cliff Lee was a great one. The move to send Josh Lueke to Tampa Bay for John Jaso was a great one. The path and process that led the club to acquiring Justin Smoak and Jesus Montero in trades for pitching were sound decisions, despite the ensuing results. Bringing in Brendan Ryan, initially, was a smart move.

THAT is the Jack Zduriencik the Mariners need. It’s THAT Jack Zduriencik that can be a solid general manager. He’ll have one more offseason and about 3 and a half months of the 2014 season to prove THAT Jack Zduriencik still exists.

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Jason A. Churchill

Churchill founded Prospect Insider in 2006 after getting his start at InsidethePark.com. He spent several years covering prep, college and pro sports for various newspapers, including The News Tribune and Seattle PI. Jason spent 4 1/2 years at ESPN and two years at CBS Radio prior to joining HERO Sports in July, 2016. Find Jason's Mariners podcast, Baseball Things, right here and follow him on Twitter @ProspectInsider.

38 Comments

  1. Even baseball writers know Jack’s season is a “lame duck” season. It’s well known. Here’s a snippet from a Jim Caple article.

    “Lou Piniella left the team with a year remaining on his contract. They fired his replacement, future two-time manager of the year Bob Melvin, just one year after a 93-win season. Mike Hargrove and Wedge quit on them. General manager Jack Zduriencik, who will be entering a lame-duck season, has gone through three managers in just five years.”

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/9735139/eric-wedge-debacle-another-embarrassment-seattle-mariners-mlb

  2. Edman,

    Once again your reading comprehension is lacking. Once again you put words into my mouth that other posters might have said, but I never did.

    Besides you, I’m the only one that has constantly claimed that blame is not Lincoln or Armstrong, it’s on the GM, it’s on Jack. I never once mentioned that it was Lincoln or Armstrong meddling in deals or any of that garbage, they have one job, hire a GM, it’s on the GM when the club goes south. Period. I never once said the stooge brothers upstairs are going anywhere, because until they keel over from a heart attack they aren’t.

    I never once said anything about the team being sold, so once again you come out of left field with nonsense.

    And don’t police me on rhetoric when your’e the biggest garbage man of them all.

    And if you don’t think this is Jack’s last year, you are a fool. He is gone. He bought himself another year mainly because the stooges upstairs are inept. I will bet you $ he is not here come 2015. First it’s the manager and then it’s the GM especially after next years annual 90 losses.

  3. If you want to talk ownership interference, ask Jerry Dipoto how much he appreciates having his budget bloated, because the owner makes personnel decisions for him. You really think he wanted to give out huge, potentially constricting contracts to Pujois, Hamiliton and CJ Wilson?

  4. Another useless rant. Jack isn’t going anywhere. Lincoln and Armstrong aren’t either. Wedge will be, thought. The team will not be sold. So, you’re going on about nothing that is going to be fixed soon. Anything constructive that could actually happen?

    And by the way, there are kids who read this page, so while you feel you must rant with the vigor of a rabid dog, there is no need to use unnecessary language. if that’s what you need to make a point, it doesn’t work. It sets a bad example for how to state an opinion on a messageboard.

  5. As I’ve said multiple times, this mess falls on one mans shoulders, one man’s: Jack’s.

    He needs to go. Period.

    Where the boys upstairs are fucking shit up is by not firing his ass. Why would you keep a guy on who has failed? Why keep him for one more year, which will be a lame duck, losing year? It makes no sense.

    Go out and interview the brightest and freshest minds in baseball, they are out there. It’s time for a new guard, new thinking and a new approach. Anyone who puts his cards in the signing of Raul Ibanez, Jason Bay and trading for Mike Morse basket obviously is out to pasture. I understand that was plan C, but there are better plan C’s out there, even if that means not doing anything. Those players contributed a collective negative WAR, (-1.6) meaning that they actually helped the M’s lose games instead of winning. The Mariners either paid good money or traded away a valuable asset to bring guys in to help them lose.

    Jack needs to go and the M’s brass are a bunch of inept chickens, running around with their heads cut off. It’s obvious the the boys upstairs don’t care about baseball and that is the blood on the hands of Armstrong and Lincoln.

    I’m just glad my Dodgers are kicking some ass to take my mind off the ineptitude of the M’s.

  6. Edman is correct here. Except for maybe this past trade deadline, Jack made the decisions on deals, including who he wanted and didn’t want in free agency, who e wanted to chase in trade… and who he wanted as manager. Lincoln and Armstrong have their say, particularly Armstrong. Chuck, from what I am told, will suggest candidates, toss in his two cents. But Jack’s track record is his own and cannot be blamed on Howard and Chuck. Have their been restrictions? Yes. But all GMs have them, with few, if any, exceptions.

  7. It happens all the time. It’s not like Jack is breaking new ground.

  8. Thank you Mariner apologist Edman. Do you think Jack has earned another year then? Any other city would have fired him by now. Don’t even get me started on the trades Jack DID MAKE. His record is what it is, and is not very good.

    Don’t lump me in with those people, I wasn’t in favor of the Upton trade, I didn’t want Bay, and I didn’t even want to talk about the possibility of Morse. I am not speaking from hindsight.

  9. This gets old. But, Jason has commented several times that Jack makes the on-field decisions, and that Lincoln and Armstrong have little to do with those decisions. And, if you want to claim they tie his hands, financially, think again. The owners set the budget, Lincoln and Armstrong implement the budget.

  10. Danny Kaye? Really? What makes you think he’d have been any better at owning the franchise? I love Danny Kaye, but he was an owner for a brief time, and not exactly when the M’s were a big payroll team. Mark Cuban? I get it, but it isn’t going to happen any time soon.

    I would be interested in knowing your inside sources, to be able to evaluate how accurate the information is.

  11. Yeah, another questionable comment. Jack didn’t get results this year, I can go along with that. But, the idea that he didn’t grow the franchise is so far off base, it’s not funny. Jack got Felix signed to long-term deals, not once, but twice. Just how valuable is that to the franchise. I know you’ll come back with some lame excuse like “he would have signed anyway”, but you don’t know that. You have no idea how the relationship is between Jack and Felix. So, just how valuable is that? He went out and got a second #1 starting pitcher in Iwakuma. That wasn’t valuable?

    Jack also took a completely WORTHLESS farm system, and grew it into one of the best in baseball. Think that just happens by accident?

    Some things when badly last season, that he couldn’t have foreseen. Ramirez and Pryor getting injured was a huge blow. It may not seem like it to you, but it disrupted a lot. If Ramirez wasn’t injured, there’s not need to go get Harrang. Wilhelmsen imploded, who could have seen that coming?

    When you play the kids trying to build a foundation, it depends on a lot going right. For Jack this year, everything that could go wrong, did go wrong, with some minor exceptions.

    Jack needs results next year, and I think that’s a fair expectation. The kids he’s drafted are now starting to make appearances. It takes time for that to build. Could he have done better in trades and free agent signings? Yes, but those are not the reason why this was a bad season.

    If Jack’s kids don’t come through, then he’ll lose his job, it’s just that simple. He deserves an opportunity let those kid shine, or fail. The foundation of the team going forward will depend on those kids. No free agent or pieces traded for, are going to fix the team. A strong foundation does, and that is Jack’s goal. To build from within, so that you can afford to move pieces, as you have more affordable options to replace players who leave by free agency or in trade.

  12. LMAO…..my how the tune changes. I’m not sure if you were one, but MANY here wanted to trade for Justin Upton, claiming that he’s a young power hitter on the verge of being great. Hindsight is an amazingly accurate tool. And before you start quoting what Jack was willing to give up for him, consider that FEW rumors are completely accurate. I’d be that Walker was in the deal, because you have to give up talent to get talent (even if Upton’s talents were apparent and not factual). Why hack at Jack, when many here (heres the key) at the time, thought Upton was worth a big price. Do you expect that Jack is suppose to have superpowers that enable him to see the future?

    So, if Jack was supposedly acting fooling is trying to sign Hamilton for big money, what does that make Dipoto for paying even more?

    It’s easy to call those “potential” moves bad, in hindsight. But, if Hamilton had torn up the league this year and won the MVP, you’d have been all over Jack for not outbidding Dipoto.

    And what a LAME comment, calling Jack out for moves he didn’t make. Bavasi DID trade for Bedard, Jack didn’t trade for Upton. Luck? Yeah, maybe, but as long as those moves didn’t get made, Jack is NOTHING LIKE BAVASI !!!!

  13. So he is a lameduck and gonna fire his second manager after his 4th straight losing year??? Am i missing soimething here? If Wedge goes so should have JZ he had a fair shot and all of this so called taklent we alledgedly have only Paxton and Walker have showed a chance to be stars our the other guys ok yes some and others overhyped and promoted i feel he brought guys up to early to say hey look what we our producing from the draft we will find out down the road if he screwed up guys our not i dont know but you cant foerce things and i feel he did…If you where Liclon our Armstrong would you give a lame duck GM a chance to spend in free agency? I wouldnt

  14. JackZ I don’t think will do anything too over the top. The Upton trade at the time was a slight over pay. however may have been praised if done at that time. As it looks now glad Upton said no. However who out there right now is of the ilk of Upton the M’s could get in a trade? Billy Butler, G. Stanton(not likely), J. Samardjiza.

    F/A we are not talking about. Delmon Young, Cory Hart, Nelson Cruz, Chris Young, Mark Reynolds, Alexi Casilla, Geovany Soto, Kurt Suzuki

  15. Lincoln and Armstrong would have been gone a long time ago and maybe JackZ would have had stood a better chance in the 1st place.

  16. I think JackZ would have had more to work with in Det. LA or NY and may not be in this situation in the 1st place. As is he would not have been extended based on what has happened in Seattle.

  17. Jack would be gone in any other legitimate baseball franchise. Seattle is a joke.

  18. Only scapegoats in the last decade are two people. Bill B. and Jack Z. That’s it. They are the ones who have ruined the franchise or have not grown the franchise. It’s time for new blood. We will have to wait one more year for that new blood it seems.

  19. Here’s some evidence to support the fears that Jack is desperate and “could” make desperate moves. He was desperate last year, knowing that he had to win (he is lucky to get one more year, even if it is a lame duck year) and he went and tried to sign Hamilton to 100 million dollars and tried to trade Walker, Franklin, Pryor and Farquar for Justin freaking Upton. Those are pure desperation moves and I’m afraid he is going to try to make the same type of deal that will harm the club in the future. Bavasi did the same type of moves when he knew the end was near. He traded off all of our young prospects to try and win. If he would have been let go sooner, we would most likely would have been a playoff club a few times over. Jones, Tillman, Cabrera and Choo along with Felix and Ichiro would have made the M’s a playoff franchise.

  20. Do ya think Jack would have been rehired or extended in LA, NY, Boston, Texas, Detroit? I think Seattle fans are not demanding enough.

  21. The ownership montra. “Give the appearance of trying to win while maintaining our proffits. And they will come.”

    Fans Montra should be “Prove your serious You Mother )(*YH*%&. Or I will just go watch a Hawks game instead.”

  22. Edman,

    Those who talk to people in the now such as Jason and many others all say the same thing as you have pointed out yourself about Armstrong and Lincoln. Why do you then say well how do you know and how did you get to that conclusion. Well they talk to people in the know? Kinda explains itself. Add to that I know a few people on hthis site who chat it up also know people in the orginization “me included” that hear things.

    Lincoln runs it as a business and nothing else it is all about the bottom line. case in point the many quotes of late on why Nintendo of America will not sell the team it MAKES TO MUCH MONEY! and for a business that is hurting to make proffits that to them is a good thing. To the fan and OWNERS who are fans and want to WIN AT ALL COSTS. Team are run very differently.

    As to Armstrong he ahs gotten LUCKY a few times over the past how many years sense 1981 and how many World Series ahve we won.. Ummm How many have World Series have we gone to? Ummm In any other Team in all of Baseball Armstrong would have been let go YEARS AGO!!

    Edman you are a loyal Troll on this site and as a fan kewl. But you got this prove it to me attitude that is being dirrected the wrong direction. THE M’s NEED TO PROVE IT. THE M’s NEED TO SAVE BASEBALL AGAIN IN THIS TOWN. This way of doing business is going to kill this franchise and fan base. Sorry but, I do not want to go to 5 thousand at a game like I did in the 70’s and 80’s.

    I wish Dannny Kaye still owned this team.
    I would love to see Mark Cuban buy it!!!

  23. Since Jack Z is returning, I hope he has learned from all of his mistakes in the past off-season and reverts back to some ways that led to moderate success in 2009. First of all, I hope they go after another 2009-era Gutierrez type: a right-handed league-average bat with above-average ability in center field. I would say that A.J. Pollock, Craig Gentry and Peter Bourjos fall into this category and I hope Jack pursues each one. Having someone to solidify the outfield defensively while providing decent offense should be the main off-season goal. Then, I hope the Mariners skip over Jacoby Ellsbury (who’s going to get way more than he’s worth) and go for Choo or Zobrist to play in a corner. At that point, they could platoon either Ackley or Saunders in the other corner with a good RH bat.

    A good back-up infielder (Punto? Barmes)?, late inning reliever (Benoit?), back-up catcher (Soto? Navarro?) and mid-rotation starter (Lincecum?) all are important but should be secondary to solidifying the outfield. There are more options for these improvements as well.

  24. And what makes you think that Jack’s future is tied to a certain number of wins? I don’t believe he has to win next year, but he does have to show real progress.

    What Jack hasn’t done is give ridiculous money to free agents. From all we know, he has made reasonable offers, but while taking risks, has not given in to unrealistic demands from agents or players. There is always risk, but at the same time, Jack has to compete for those free agents, and may have to offer up cash and years to do so. He hasn’t caved yet, so why expect him to change his path now? All he’s done has kept an eye on the inexpensive talent he has. He may have to give up something, to get something, but that’s how the GM game goes. Another GM might be more likely to give up talent that he didn’t bring in, to make his mark, under the assumption that Jack did it wrong. So, that door can swing both ways.

  25. Ed- I am not going to get into with you on the semantics of conclusions. I will say only that history is in the eye of the beholder. The facts are as I stated above (look at the team’s history and moves)… So, based off of those facts, determine for yourself what is what.

  26. Conclusions are based on facts, speculation is based on non-facts.

    Here is a fact, all GMs are under pressure to win, every year, even in Houston. The celings are different, but the goal is the same, win as many games as possible.

  27. 1981-1990: Sucked, but were building a core… that’s a long time to build a core, but, without help from ownership, fine. Whatever.

    1991-1997: Core built on power hitters and pitchers, with three once-a-generation type talents. This era included 5 winning seasons (and another which probably would have resulted in a winner had the rest of the season played out) with two postseason appearances… This is Chuck’s Golden Era, and it’s important to remember.

    2000-2003: Pat Gillick masterfully builds a team of grisled vets that will contend for four years, including two post season appearances. However, he gets pissed off at the meddling from those above and he leaves.

    2004-2013: Two winning seasons, one failed reloading project, one rebuilding project whose success remains to be seen. Lets talk about the latter for just a sec…

    Jack helped build teams in Milwaukee that were a balance of power, pitching and solid D in the right places (which ironically is how the 90s Ms were built). He comes in and brings people with him that will help him follow this blueprint, with also buying in to the newly burgeoning philsophy of using #s to find value. He realizes that power is in short supply, so he searches for other ways to win, and its successful in yr one. He continues this plan into yr two, and it blows up. The team stumbles out of the gate, he trades off the a beautifully acquired asset (Lee) and the full on rebuild commences, with a freeze placed on spending. He then procedes to trade off assets for power over the next three seasons and offseasons.

    Possible conclusions:
    1) HE, with four years left on his contract, panicked and completely changed course b/c of one (half) season of bad luck, or
    2) His boss, sick of seeing the losing over the past (then 7) years, instructs him to go back to what used to work for his franchise: power, power, and more power. His boss then continues to either strongly hint or flat-out demand to bring in pieces that he -the boss- is comfortable with.

    Do we have any wire-taps or bugs to know what is going on behind closed doors? No. But, what does the history and evidence tell you..?

  28. This sucks.

    I just hope that Jack doesn’t make bad decisions with long-term repercussions in what will probably be his last year. That means no albatross contracts like Josh Hamilton (and punting draft picks along with them), win-now trades, or giving up on good young players.

    I know that Jack’s future depends on the M’s record in 2014, but I think his status going forward should be evaluated based on how the club looks long-term.

    The kids will obviously play a HUGE roll in that. Zduriencik’s legacy is in the hands of Seager, Franklin, Miller, Walker, Paxton, Smoak, Ramirez, Saunders, Maurer, Capps, Pryor, Hultzen, Montero, etc. Many of those guys have struggled, but they all have shown upside. In my opinion, the one thing the M’s should avoid doing is giving up on those guys too early. Jack built this club. Lets hope he doesn’t jump ship on the young guys too early in an effort to save his job.

    His future also depends on him learning from his mistakes. The M’s have gotten away from a good plan and process in Jack’s first years. They need to get back to that. NOW! I’d like to see a return to their original focus on pitching, defense, and filling out the roster with undervalued players. The M’s have a good group of young players at or near the ML level. They need to let those guys develop and be the core of the next good team. Adding talent through trades and free agency is great, but it can’t be at the expense of the long-term well-being of the organization. They need to keep the core guys, let them compete for jobs, and add depth and a few key players from outside the organization.

    The WORST thing they can do is give up on those guys, and try to build a contender in free agency. Unfortunately, the M’s now have a GM who’s own agenda might lead him to mortgage the team’s future.

    The organization is in pretty good shape right now, all things considered:
    -no bad contracts
    -tons of payroll flexibility
    -a franchise icon and fan favorite who is actually an elite player in Felix
    -a strong farm system
    -lots of young talent with upside at the ML level
    -good revenue stream
    -good fans and ballpark

    They just need to not fuck that up by making bad trades and free agent acquisitions. Even if that means an ~80 win year next season. Unfortunately, I’m not at all confident that that will happen.

  29. Some need their scapegoats. For the last decade, it’s all about blaming Lincoln and Armstrong. From all I’ve seen, and Jason has responded the same, they let Jack make the baseball decisions. I haven’t seen anything that suggests otherwise. There is a lot of assuming going on, and they are the poster on the wall that gets darts thrown at it. I suppose that’s just the nature of the job.

  30. Again, why does everyone assume that Armstrong and Lincoln are the root of all the M’s problems?

    Besides the last few months of Bavasi’s tenure, and Griffey and Ichiro, I can’t remember ever hearing about the upper front office guys playing a big role in the decision making about the roster. With Bavasi, he was a lame duck GM who had already ruined the roster and payroll, so it was warranted. And Ichiro and Griffey were franchise icons and fan favorites. So it made sense. Beyond that, my impression of the M’s upper execs is that they are relatively hands-off when it comes to influencing the GM’s decisions. But maybe I’m missing something.

    The one thing that I don’t like about Lincoln/Armstrong is that they haven’t learned their lesson about “one more year” bullshit. It creates a conflict of interest that isn’t acceptable.

  31. I think there could’ve been worse decisions made by replacing Jack Z. Definitely like the article Jason. My fear is that this pressure might force Jack to make some decisions that he normally wouldn’t be accustomed to, to force a product onto the field that wouldn’t be under his normal principles of operation. With that said, I think smart decisions need to be made going forward budget wise. The offense definitely needs to, and should be upgraded but not by sacrificing our defense like JAC says. I’ve been a strong supporter of Jack’s the entire time he’s been here, and I still believe he’s the right man for the job. We just have terrible ownership. While Lincoln and Armstrong I’m sure are probably good guys in general, they don’t warrant me wasting my time with their efforts any longer.

  32. Why does everyone think Armstrong is the evil puppet master behind all this teams problems?

    You might be correct, but I haven’t heard any reliable evidence that this is the case.

  33. “Gotta love the false panic that stems back to Bavasi, for fear that Jack will make the same mistakes. Anything to support that?”

    Ummmmm………Last offseason?!? Maybe you missed the last year, but last offseason happened.

    The reason why keeping Jack and giving him another season as a lame duck GM is scary is VERY well illustrated by what he did last offseason. He tried to sign Josh Hamilton to an albatross contract that would have hamstrung the team for years. When he couldn’t pull that off, he tried to trade some of our best prospects for Justin Upton. When that deal fell through, he added Morse and Ibanez.

    The only good thing about last offseason is that the stupid moves made won’t handicap the team for the long term. The best thing about last offseason is the fact than Jack wasn’t able to do what he wanted. The reason why I’m “panicking” about next year is the idea that Jack will try to do the same thing this year, and actually succeed this time.

    “Jack clearly understands the value of the rookie talent that he has, and has been very conservative about trading his best prospects.”

    Not last season, when he tried to trade two of our best young prospects (Walker and Franklin) plus two key bullpen guys for Justin Upton. Again, did you miss last year?

    “Unlike Bavasi, the Fister trade was made to add more depth, not to trade for a “key” guy, as Bavasi did to acquire Bedard.”

    Ah…..last offseason???

    “GMs and Managers are in a business where being fired typically happens at some point in time.”

    Not good ones. Teams don’t tend to fire GMs who succeed. It’s normal that you’d think that as an M’s fan, but some teams actually hire the right guys, build strong clubs, and keep their GMs for long periods of time. Those GMs sometimes retire or leave, and good teams then promote from within (like the Red Sox, Braves, and Cardinals).

    Bad teams, on the other hand, fire GMs every five years after they fail. In some cases, they give those guys “one more year” to win, putting them in a position where their own agenda is at odds with the long term future of the organization. The M’s did this with Bavasi a few years ago, and he dug the M’s into a hole that took years to overcome. Now, they are repeating the same mistakes.

    I hope Jack learns from his mistakes and gets back to his old MO from the first few years in the job. But I font see any reason to believe that the case. The current trajectory is in the opposite direction.

  34. Gotta love the false panic that stems back to Bavasi, for fear that Jack will make the same mistakes. Anything to support that? Jack clearly understands the value of the rookie talent that he has, and has been very conservative about trading his best prospects. Unlike Bavasi, the Fister trade was made to add more depth, not to trade for a “key” guy, as Bavasi did to acquire Bedard.

    They are not even remotely the same kind of GMs. And I doubt that Jack would make stupid trades in order to keep his job. If Seattle fires him, he’ll take his game elsewhere, with Tom McNamara, and won’t have any problem finding a new gig.

    GMs and Managers are in a business where being fired typically happens at some point in time.

  35. When I heard today’s news I was ticked, but not surprised. I have since calmed down when I realized that Jack Z is not the problem with this franchise. The problem as to why the Ms will not be winners in the forseeable future:

    1) Chuck Armstrong is not a good baseball man. Any success he has had in his three decades at the helm was b/c of he had three 1st ballot HOFers for the better part of a decade, and then a GM who was the master of the 25 man roster. I don’t know many of the other PBOs in baseball, but I can’t imagine any are worse than Chuck.

    2) Howard Lincoln knows next to nothing about the game, and know he knows next nothing. So, he leaves that part of the business to Chick Armstrong.

    3) (theory) Chuck Armstrong has strong armed Jack into making bad decisions the past three years, and prevented him from making the ocaisional good one.

    I am hoping that retaining Jack is a sign that an ownership change is in the works… The thought process being that a new owner wouldn’t want to inherit a club with GM with 3 yrs left on his contract, he would want to assign his own CEO/PBO/GM. Alas, I know that is likely a pipe dream, and Nintendo is not going to sell their cash cow, and Howie n Chuck are going to literally going to work in their current posts until the day the die. (which no, I am NOT rooting for)

    Alas, I will still root for this team, as I apparently suffer from some sort of mental disorder.

  36. This is a scary scenario. I really hope JZ doesn’t pull a desperate move and trade off a Tajuan Walker, Nick Franklin, ++ for Justin freaking Upton! That is a Bill Bavasi move, a move from a scared position out of desperation and a move like that will only set this organization back another five years, the same way trading away Cabrera, Choo, Jones and Tillman did.

    Frankly the best option to me is going after the IFA’s. Walker and Paxton look great and I think with Felix and Iwakuma we have a nice 4 man rotation. I think making a run at Ellsbury is probably going to happen and I’m okay with that.

  37. I hope they don’t just spend for the heck of it to reach whatever the slef imposed cap maybe. I know I sound like a borken record. But, Itoi, Abrue and Tanaka in taht order. Then maybe Choo Or Ellsbury and a trade for another OF bat. and go into the season stronger. Anything less or bringing back Morse amd i would be pissed..

  38. Excellent article Jason, I couldn’t agree with you more…

    I sure hope Jack gets his mojo back and makes some sound roster decisions. As a lame duck GM, he will have a hard time keeping his job past this year. Hope the pressure to produce doesn’t lead to desperation to make a trade (like the failed Upton deal he wanted to make last year). Bavasi showed us the damage a GM fighting for his job can do.

    The only thing that scares me more is Armstrong and Lincoln getting more involved in personnel decisions.

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