Just as the Mariners prepare to enter a massively important week of transactions at the winter meetings, Geoff Baker has published an column on complete dysfunction in the Mariners front office, and it is ugly. Jack Zduriencik is painted as an ignorant and verbally abusive bully, and Chuck Armstrong and Howard Lincoln are depicted as meddling troublemakers.
Both Eric Wedge and Tony Blengino speak out against Zduriencik, and it is brutal. Blengino's testimony is especially damning. Baker reveals that Blengino essentially created Z's resume in order for him to get the job, and Z has misrepresented his knowledge of statistical analysis.
"Jack portrayed himself as a scouting/stats hybrid because that’s what he needed to get the job," Blengino said. "But Jack never has understood one iota about statistical analysis. To this day, he evaluates hitters by homers, RBI and batting average and pitchers by wins and ERA. Statistical analysis was foreign to him. But he knew he needed it to get in the door."
Blengino goes on to rip Zduriencik for being rude, arrogant, and incompetent.
Zduriencik received a three-year contract extension that August and Blengino said Zduriencik told him: "Now, we do things my way."
Blengino said Zduriencik became obsessed with power hitters, ignoring defense, baserunning and roster construction. He said the GM also dismissed the importance of evaluating players within the context of their contract values.
Zduriencik then made him "look like an ass" in front of baseball operations brass in spring training 2012 after Blengino gave a presentation on possible benefits from advances in computerized hitting data.
"He nitpicked about font sizes and column widths," Blengino said. "He did what he always does and made fun of something he couldn’t understand."
There's plenty of stuff in here from Eric Wedge too, especially pertaining to micro managing from Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong.
I don't want to take away too much from the work that Baker has done, so read his entire article. Despite how damaging this will be to the Mariners reputation, it's fantastic piece of journalism.
It's also an absolute nightmare. The Mariners front office is a disaster, and this is already making huge national waves. The winter meetings are about to begin, and it is very reasonable to speculate that some agents may advise their clients away from an organization under such a negative spotlight. This is often the kind of thing that gets people fired, but the people above Zduriencik are just as dysfunctional as him. Who knows where things go from here.
Without question, there are two sides to every story. But this isn't the first time I've heard rumblings about the way Zduriencik handles himself, and many parts of Blengino's testimony unfortunately line up with rumors that I have heard for a while.
The Mariners front office may be everything we have always feared they were, except worse. Through all of the testimony about mistreatment, the thing that scares me the most is that Jack Zduriencik has no idea what he's doing and has no interest in learning anything new. Everything within this piece is awful news to fans and outsiders alike. The fallout from this could be devastating.