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A Thought On The Front Office

Coming off a 101-loss season a year ago, a lot of fans wanted to blow things up and start over. Horrible teams are always met with calls to tear down and rebuild in the winter, and a good number of people wanted to trade all the veterans for prospects so that the Mariners might find themselves in decent position come 2013 or so.

The front office, however, chose a different path, coming out and saying from the start that the plan was to both reload and compete, that it would be possible to do both at the same time. Bringing in parts that could help in the future is fun, but so is winning, so why not do the former while still attempting the latter?

Many were excited, many were skeptical, and many were both. So now that we've reached the end of the regular season, how did the Mariners do?

Well, for one thing, the Mariners won 85 games, a 24-game improvement over 2008. According to CoolStandings, their odds of making the playoffs didn't drop below 5% until July 25th, and they remained within striking distance of the Wild Card into August. We weren't playing meaningful baseball in September, but this was a winning ballclub that for a few months allowed us to dream.

At the same time, the following is a list of players the FO brought in that are under contract/team control through 2011 or later:

  • Franklin Gutierrez
  • Jason Vargas
  • Mike Carp
  • Ezequiel Carrera
  • Maikel Cleto
  • David Aardsma
  • Ryan Langerhans
  • Derrick Saito
  • Dan Cortes
  • Jack Hannahan
  • Ian Snell
  • Robert Manuel
  • Josh Wilson
  • Luke French
  • Mauricio Robles
  • Bill Hall
  • Draft picks, including Dustin Ackley

There were a couple of things the front office didn't do that, had they struck at the right time, might have netted us some additional young talent. They didn't trade Adrian Beltre. They didn't trade Erik Bedard. Neither player had a whole lot of value, but moving them might have been able to land an additional one or two B-level prospects. Still, though, look at that list. There are a few studs. There are a few role players. There are a few pitching prospects that could take big steps forward. And, of course, there's a whole draft, headlined by the best hitter available. For a front office that inherited a lousy team with limited payroll flexibility, that's a hell of a first season. Look at where we were a year ago, and look at where we are now. It's night and day.

Coming into 2009, Jack Zduriencik's front office wanted to get the Mariners into a better long-term position while still having them play good baseball and winning in the present.

I think they pulled it off.