Jack Zduriencik hears the hue and cry of the masses. Despite an office located well above the field where so much of his work has gone to ruin, and with so many walls separating him from the thousands that view it daily, Zduriencik's stoic public demeanor belies the intense frustration of a man watching his plans go horrible awry.
"Of course I understand the fans frustration." says Zduriencik, "I'm frustrated too. This roster was put together with plans and expectations for excellence. Everyone should be frustrated by this. If you're not mad about it I would question how bad you want to compete in this game."
While the team's record of 46-56 puts Seattle 11 games behind first place Houston the recent addition of the 2nd Wild Card means that more teams than ever have reason to hope for a miracle. With 7 teams and 7 games separating the Mariners from the Twins, current holders of the 2nd Wild Card spot, Zduriencik acknowledges that the margin for error has all but disappeared.
"There's not doubt that we will have to, as a team, play much closer to the baseball that we are capable of playing. I would like to see the starting pitching get settled down and give our bullpen a break and start grinding out more innings than we've been seeing this month."
When pressed on if the team has plans to be buyers or sellers at tomorrow's 4 PM EST non-waiver trade deadline, the Mariners GM admitted that it was highly unlikely the team would be major news makers.
"We have a roster that has been assembled to contend, both this year and in the future. While things have not played out the way anybody would have liked this season, I still believe in our players and in Lloyd McClendon. They have my full confidence and support. What we have built here wasn't done overnight and it certainly won't be torn down overnight either."
Even with that statement of confidence, Zduriencik acknowledges he is aware that many fans and even media remain convinced that the present failure of the 2015 Mariners marks the beginning of the end for his tenure in Seattle. Zduriencik is quick to understand the concerns, but when questioned about his job security, maintains his steadfastness.
"I came to Seattle to make and win a World Series. Nothing short of that has been my goal since the day I got here in 2009, and that's been the case every day since until today. Major League Baseball is not football or basketball. There are no quick fixes in this game. You're going to fail. The ones that make it are the ones that learn to handle the failure, and keep focused on what needs to be done today and tomorrow to get better."
Does Zduriencik still believe in this team moving forward?
"Look, if I didn't believe in what we've built here and where we were headed I wouldn't need to be fired. I would leave. This organization and fanbase deserves a winner, and we are committed to giving it to them. No one needs to tell us that this season has been hard. It's no fun watching your hard work go so wrong, just like it's no fun spending your money to watch the team lose. We and the fans aren't that different here in how we feel. But there is still a lot of talent on this ballclub, from Robinson Cano, Felix Hernandez, the emergence of Taijuan Walker, Nelson Cruz' home runs and Kyle Seager, just to name a few. If we can get a few of our young guys in the minor leagues to start playing up to their potential, then we'll be even better suited to move forward here."
The words may ring hollow to most fans who have spent over a decade without a playoff appearance, and along with the Washington Nationals remain one of only 2 franchises in history to never experience a World Series. However, even while the losses mount Jack Zduriencik looks out from his upper story office at Safeco Field and is unrelenting in his belief that the time is coming, and sooner than most expect.
"We will get this turned around, and soon. The process here has been sound and the roster has a lot of talent. We may make some tweeks here and there, but whatever the roster looks like I urge our fans to be patient. The Seattle Mariners are going to be in the playoffs sooner than later, you have my word on that."