Last night, news broke that Director of Pro Scouting Carmen Fusco would not return after the year. Today, his dismissal has been moved from imminent to immediate - presumably a response to word getting out. You know how the Zduriencik front office is so tight and secretive? This is one of the reasons why. No front office likes leaks. Leaks can make you change what you're doing.
Anyway, the news came as a surprise to many, as Fusco hasn't exactly been on the forefront of anyone's mind. Additionally, we haven't heard anything, other than confirmation that he's being let go. There's been no official explanation, and though the timing suggests a link between this and the Josh Lueke traveling PR carnival, it's hard to figure out what this means, and where it came from. So I'd like to take this chance to offer three possible interpretations. Just because we'll probably never know the truth doesn't mean we can't try to find it.
Carmen Fusco was fired for something completely unrelated to the Lee/Lueke trade. This, naturally, is unlikely. The timing is just too weird, as this is pretty much the organization's first move since the latest Lueke story came out. Still, we can't dismiss it as a possibility. There's a lot that goes on inside - a lot that never sees the light of day - and, who knows. Maybe Fusco said something. Maybe Fusco did something. Maybe Fusco didn't do something. People get fired all the time.
Jack Zduriencik fired Carmen Fusco because of the whole Lueke thing. Z's story since the trade has been that he didn't know about Lueke's background at the time. If true, this may have been Fusco's responsibility, and now he's being made to pay the price. In the much more likely event that that's false, this could be Z designating a fall guy. When something like this happens, people want to see punishment. They want to see discipline. Perhaps Fusco was identified as being the guy with the right blend of status and expendability.
Upper management fired Carmen Fusco because of the whole Lueke thing, and to send Z a message. As Ed Price said on Twitter:
#Mariners source confirms KING5 report team fired pro scouting dir Carmen Fusco. My read: warning shot to GM Jack Z, who is close to Fusco.
As Price says, remember that Fusco and Zduriencik have been close for a number of decades, dating back to Austin Peay baseball in the mid-70s. Zduriencik and Fusco are close, and Zduriencik brought Fusco aboard. If upper management is responsible for Fusco's dismissal, it could be their way of saying to Z "you got us into this mess, and now we're going to keep a close eye on what you're doing." This could mean the days of Z's near-complete autonomy are coming to a close.
It probably isn't hard to deduce which interpretation I find to be the most likely. To me, this seems to be a pretty strong message being sent from above. I think this is a warning, and warnings have a limit. One is only allowed so many warnings, and I think Z's on the thinnest ice on which he's ever stood.
But I don't know for sure. I don't know who did this. I don't know why this was done. Most importantly, if this means that the people above the front office are going to start getting more involved again, I don't know if that's good or bad. I know mostfans loathe the people at the top of the ladder, but then, look where we've gotten over the last calendar year. Who's to say what good or harm they could do?
As always, we don't know for certain why this was done, and we don't know for certain what this will mean. I'll leave further explanation and speculation to people in better positions than myself. What we know for certain is that it was never supposed to work out this way. This team wasn't supposed to cost anyone his job. Instead, there are a lot of good baseball people currently out of work. They won't remain out of work for long, but, man, has this book ever been worse than its jacket.