On July 17th we stated that Jack Zduriencik had 73 games left to save his job. It turns out he only had 39.
Mariners announce Jack Zduriencik has been relieved of his duties.— Shannon Drayer (@shannondrayer) August 28, 2015
The Mariners' official statement from President Kevin Mather:
Here's a statement from Mariners president Kevin Mather pic.twitter.com/4xIZ5M1Zki— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) August 28, 2015
In 2009 Jack Zduriencik, as one of his very first acts as Mariner General Manager, traded JJ Putz and jetsam for Franklin Gutierrez and Jason Vargas. It was a franchise altering move and thanks to Vargas' steady pitching and Gutierrez' transcendent defense the team surprised many to win 84 games. Ken Griffey Jr. was carried off the field after the final game.
It never really got better for Zduriencik. Through manager changes, front office re-shuffles, top draft picks busting, poor trades and bad luck the regime never again showed quite the same ability to think forward. Over time the Jack Zduriencik front office appeared to get less creative, showing a stubborn insistence on obsessing with particular players (Kendrys Morales) and skill sets (right-handed power).
There is no doubt, at least not here, that Jack Zduriencik has an excellent feel for judging talent and what makes a good baseball player. But over the course of seven years given the full scope of his regime's body of work he appeared at time over his head with the executive demands of the position. Rumors and whispers of his prickly personality and old school approach coupled with an unclear overall philosophy and ability to create, and cultivate an organization that worked in lock step towards a common goal appeared to be his downfall.
For myself I will never forget standing in that downtown auditorium the Winter of 2010. The Mariners, fresh off the most enjoyable and successful season in six years, had traded unsightly Bill Bavasi leftover Carlos Silva for promising on-base machine Milton Bradley. They had traded for Cliff mother-effing Lee! We stood to clap and cheer Jack, Tony Blengino and the whole front office symbolically. Finally, the days of being left in baseball's hinterlands were over, and a new, progressive front office was here to re-establish the momentum of the previous decade.
There are a lot of lessons to be learned about everything that happened over the 6 years since that transpired. Baseball has changed, the landscape of baseball writing and thought on the internet has changed. The people who write about the Mariners, for better or worse, have changed dramatically. The Jack Zduriencik Years have taken a large toll, and the organization finds itself seemingly only marginally more healthy than it was at the beginning of his tenure.
Eyes drift upward now, to Howard Lincoln, Kevin Mather, and the group of businessman who operate the Mariners from a distance. What do they want? How do they want to do it? What has been learned? And, importantly, what are they willing to pay to do it?
We'll have more soon.