The Seattle Mariners have announced that they’ve fired general manager Jack Zduriencik, relieving him of his duties after seven years at the helm of the AL West franchise.
Before being hired by the Mariners, Zduriencik worked for the Mets, Pirates, Dodgers and Brewers. Most recently, he was the director of scouting in Milwaukee for nine years.
This news has been met by near-jubilation from many Mariners fans, and it isn’t terribly difficult to see why. Since 2009, the team’s best year was 87 wins and of the six complete seasons he was in the front office, they only finished above .500 twice. The team’s winning percentage in his tenure is .459, good for fifth-lowest in the league during that timeframe. The team hasn’t made the playoffs since 2001, so all the recent failure doesn’t fall on Zduriencik’s shoulders, but he should take his fare share of blame.
He signed Nelson Cruz in the offseason, bringing the payroll to a franchise record $123.2 million. That was supposed to add another dimension to a middle of the pack, but effective offense, which paired with the solid rotation should have made for a solid team. Their current 59-69 record would indicate otherwise.
His background as director of scouting for the Brewers and his reputation as an excellent talent scout has led to the most disappointing aspect of his tenure: the development of young players. Dustin Ackley (second overall in 2009) and Mike Zunino (third overall in 2012) haven’t developed into players worthy of those picks, and the team still has gaping holes at other positions where they’ve drafted players under Zduriencik’s watch.
The trade market hasn’t treated him any better. Really all that needs to be brought up is trading away Cliff Lee in 2010 and Michael Pineda in 2012. Neither of those big names brought back anyone who has done much of anything in Seattle.
Jeff Kingston, an assistant GM since 2009, will serve as the general manager for the remainder of the season.