Mariners Offense and Jack's first-wave failures
It's hard to be a doctor (Frankenstein)

Lot of railing against Jack in the shouts after last night's game, for good reason. Even though Ackley and Seager both came through last night, the offense is a VERY frustrating zombie-frankenstein creation. We keep looking for signs of life in it, and while it moves and moans it doesn't have that spark that we've been waiting a decade to see.

And we're kinda tired of waiting.


DaddyO: How long before we begin to acknowledge that Jack Zduriencik is simply not the talent genius that we were lead to believe he was? How long before we come to the conclusion that far from being on top of things, he has been in over his head this whole time? This is not to say he is a man without skills, clearly he is. But it is to suggest that perhaps his skills are simply not up to the task of being an MLB GM.

TacomaRain:  Jack is far from perfect. His belief in creating a roster that depends on rookies / non proven youngsters to perform in order for this team to win has been nothing but stupid... and has delivered the predictable results. Further, Jack's inability or refusal to bring in any true competition for his supposed young stagnant stars is just astoundingly inept

rick82: Jack hasn't "believed" in a roster of rookies. He's been forced to into it, by the ineptness of vets like Chone Figgins, the unwillingness of Justin Upton to come here, the failure of Ackley to develop, and etc.

DaddO again, on a roll: ...we have assembled a good pitching staff that should even improve in the second half, but in order to consistently win with our offense we would have to be MUCH more adept at small ball. Yet that is precisely what we are not. We are MISERABLE at it.



Can't argue with any of that.  Jack's first wave of prospects, the rushed college guys who had to come save us from a 40 million dollar payroll cut and provide the only offense a Cust-led lineup could pray for, have (for the most part) faceplanted hard.

wOBA and wRC+
.295 and 88
Smoak: .307 and 93
Montero: .302 and 93

That was supposed to be our MOTO 3 years after adding them to the big league roster, and it's a pile of rusty bumpers. Grabbing Seager's .330 wOBA and 110 RC+ (122 this year) has been the gem we needed to even be in this precarious .500 position and have a minor star contributing regularly on the team.

But at the time, would anybody have made a different choice? Here is Baseball America’s top 20 prospects for 2010, and their career WAR so far:

Jason Heyward: 19.1
Stephen Strasburg: 13.5
Gincarlo Stanton - 17.2
Jesus Montero: -0.2
Brian Matusz: 4.5
Desmond Jennings: 10.4
Buster Posey: 19.0
Pedro Alvarez: 6.7
Neftali Feliz: 5.0
Carlos Santana: 12.6
Dustin Ackley: 5.0
Alcides Escobar: 7.4
Justin Smoak: -0.3
Madison Bumgarner: 14.7
Domonic Brown: -0.7
Starlin Castro: 9.3
Martin Perez: 2.9
Jeremy Hellickson: 4.4
Aaron Hicks: -0.8
Logan Morrison: 0.7

This team has the #4, #11, #12 and #20 prospects on it - and ALL of them are failing. Our two big trades for top-flight talent (with Lee, Pineda and Campos going out the door) netted two of the 4 biggests busts on that list. Jack collected what was believed to be a future 90s Indians team and rolled snake-eyes on each man's 30%-chance-to-star that Doc talks about. Is that a talent assessment failure?  It would have to be - but the whole league made that assessment error.

Realistically, out of the entire league only Jack has gotten some kind of star out of practically every draft.  He even got one out of the 2009 draft in Seager (9.6 WAR, putting him behind just Trout, Goldschmidt and Kipnis thus far in the position players from that draft right next to Belt - though Arenado is roaring up from behind with his Coors-numbers). Walker and Paxton are two shots from the 2010 draft to get that star and both are lined up for it. Miller's struggling but doesn't have to hit much to be a minor star (he has 2 WAR in less than a full season of pro ball, while hitting a buck-eighty this year Brendan-Ryan-Style). Zunino will be a good catcher for years to come. And of course there are the pen arms we add every season from the minors.

But can drafting one good major-league player every year and one bullpenner get you a revamped team, or will you just tread water?


Answer, IMO: it depends where that one good player plays and whether you are entirely useless at getting veterans via FA or trade. Jack provided a whole raft of hitters for Milwaukee, after all, and they couldn't put together a team that could win.  We're in a similar situation, except without the top-flight hitting thus far.

So far we have not added one young thumper.  We have no MOTO power, Kyle's XBH extravaganzas aside.  Looking at the 2009 draft, there were only really two thumpers in it, so it's not like when we drafted Clement in the middle of Zimmerman / Braun / Tulo / McCutchen. We whiffed on not taking Rendon, but he's not a huge thumper either - just a very good hitter. We've tried to make up for that in the past two drafts by grabbing every big bat we could find early and praying they'll hit. Last year's hitters have, so that's promising - but it's promising for 2017, not now.

Now, we need a MOTO bat, and Jack has been unable to get that done with veterans.  We drove a dumptruck full of money up to Cano's lawn, but that oddity aside our Branyan / Morse / Morales / Hart / LoMo excursions have had small 1-year returns at best.  There's no long-term solution.

We've put together an offense that would have to play small-ball to win, but as DaddyO so eloquently stated it's not really in their skillset to do so.  We don't have bunters and sprinters and base-stealers.  We don't have fundamentally sound veterans. Our cleanup hitter has at various times been a AAAA player, or a catcher, or a 35-year old journeyman utility guy.  The injuries to Hart and LoMo didn't help - but they didn't come to us with a recent rep for health either - it could have been expected.

Some would say it WAS expected - that's why both LoMo and Hart were brought in, so that ONE of them would be a healthy contributor.  Sadly, not the case.

The Mariners have whiffed on 3 of the 4 prospects that could have made this team a contender.  Ackley, Smoak and Montero can't even carry equipment bags for a competitive MOTO.  Cano is here. Seager has worked.  Keeping Saunders of all of Bavasi's guys was a good plan, he just can't stay healthy.  Zunino is so raw as a hitter it's ridiculous, but he's a good catcher and has that thump when he connects. Jones has a nice speed-and-singles approach that he's sticking to so far.

But after that we dry up, and while Choi and Blash are looking like within-the-year options and Peterson / Kivlehan / Wilson are all on the 2-year plan - we CANNOT rely on them to step into cleanup roles the second they get here.  It's not fair to them, and it's one reason why Smoak and Ackley got 10 kinds of messed up in their approach.  When Smoak goes to hit 7th in a small ballpark, he'll look fine. Not great, but he should be serviceable. Ackley when he returns to 2B and is batting 8th will be decent for someone for several years.

Relying on a hitter to turn into Goldschmidt or Trout in order to make your lineup work is patently unfair - especially when the hitter knows that's what he has to do.  It's how bad teams ruin prospects. I'd like to stop being a bad team.


Paxton and Walker are coming (a week out on one of em, actually). Maurer is working on turning into a beast in the pen.  Elias looks solid and with Felix and Kuma heading the rotation and a solid (if scary-feeling) pen we look great for having contending pitching in every game we play.  But without the ability to manufacture runs we HAVE to increase our hitting talent.

Jack is going to have to do something he has never done: make a trade where we get back the best player in the deal for a long-term solution to what ails us.  If he can do it, the kids will have time to fill in around a Saunders / Seager / Cano / Whoever 2-to-5 and get their feet wet without being expected to bring 100 RBIs or instant leadoff magic to the equation.

Mariners RBI Leaders:
2013 - Morales, 80
2012 - Seager, 86
2011 - Olivo, 62
2010 - Guti, 64
2009 - Jose Lopez, 96 (!)

Raul had 110 RBI in the 2008 season.  That's the last time we had anything resembling MOTO production. We have enough spare pieces laying around to cobble together a lineup, but Hart aside there's nobody here who has shown the likelihood to be a plus hitter - and Hart is a couple years away from having done it in the past.

If Hart's recovery can be a happy bonus instead of the only thing that has a prayer of salvaging some offensive production, then maybe we'll have a chance.  But Jack's gonna have to pull a rabbit out of a hat, so I hope he's been working on his magic skills.  No more rotten produce, Jack - we don't have time for it, and honestly neither do you. Frankenstein is flat-lining, again. Jumpstart him, por favor... or the next GM will take your pieces (and your credit) and do it for you.

Comments are open for Zduriencik business, bashing or otherwise. :-)




Anonymous's picture

Could someone compile a list of MOTO hitters who we think MIGHT be available? Even without considering how much we'd have to pay, who do we think COULD be available to meet the need described?


Over the last 365 days, Saunders, Ackley and Smoak have produced the following OPSes, respectively: .782, .709, .718. Assuming they all are playing within a week to 10 days, followed by the return of Hart, who apparently is running bases now, will that be enough to close the sucking chest wound that is our offense, until more teams decide to be sellers, anyway? I'm not going to be seduced by the siren song of another two hit Ackley game, or a monster Home run by Smoak - if either catch fire, let's jump on it and trade them. Moe has splashed the cold water on my face in that regard. Saunders, however, is the real deal.
Could we get Chase Utley for a Smoak/Ackley/minor prospects combination, and stick him at first? Intriguing thought.


Now I'm even older and as regards the Z-Man hopefully smarter. He's had his shot and failed. Time to get a smart young GM who didn't only make his bones as a scout, (and maybe one with some hair, shave Ackley's beard and paste it on Jack for the time being) but learned at the knee of a successful GM like Mozeliak.


Dude, if the Phillies put Utley on the block they are going to get a lot more attractive offers than Smoak, Ackley and a minor prospect. Walker, Franklin, plus might get you in the conversation. He's also got complete trade veto power, so he's only going if, when and where he wants to go and I highly doubt he wants to A) play for Seattle and B) shift to 1B this early in his career.

Brent's picture

In your 20 man chart every name but Stanton has a colon after it. Stanton's has what I hope is a hyphen - surely it isn't a minus symbol that he has negative WAR...
Not quite sure how to put on paper my thoughts on the matter - I'm no writer. Jack's claim to fame was acquiring talent through the draft. I think everyone will admit our farm system was bereft when he arrived, and that it is in much better shape now. I don't think Jack can be considered 100% at fault on Ackley, Smoak, Montero. Everybody in baseball thought Ackley was the best hitter in the draft; the "sure thing". (Ask the Seahawks how the "sure thing" always works out *cough* Aaron Curry *cough*). Quite a few made the Mark Texiera comp to Smoak. Not all, but more than enough. Montero was the guy "they" thought we were going to get for trading Lee to the Yankees; he was high on everyone's chart.
I believe the issue I have is that following the herd, doing what "everyone" thinks is the best thing doesn't get you to the front of the pack. It just keeps you following the herd.


So much as a belief that talent trumps all.  Ackley was the college hitter of the decade, Smoak was switch-hitting power first basemen (of which there have only ever been a handful in league history) and Montero was a slugging catcher who breezed through to AAA with ease while always being the youngest player in every league he was in.   If ever three guys were lined up for success it was those three.  So what went wrong?
Did we put too much pressure on them too quickly?
Did they not have the right mental approach to the game?
Were their physical tools not up to the task? Are they terrible at adjusting back to the league? Were they hypnotized by aliens?
*shrugs* I got nothing.  Prospects fail - most of them, in fact, in droves.  We just happened to acquire a large percentage of the biggest underachievers on the top lists, that's all. How complicit the Ms were in the failures of their prospects is a big consideration moving forward.  It doesn't do the team any good to keep drafting talent if we can't mold them into winners and plus players.  At that point we want to trade all of our promising players for actual players, knowing that we can't convert potential talent into on-field performance.
I'm hoping the Mariners have learned their lesson.  So far so good this year: Peterson and Wilson are taking their time beating up on lower leagues while they refine their skills.  Both are due for mid-season promotions and we'll see what we do with them next year, but for now we're letting them learn instead of assuming that they know everything they need to.
Baby steps...


over here, best guess of trade options prior to the very end of July: Byrd, Quentin (full no-trade clause), Seth Smith, maybe Prado, Headley (having a miserable year thus far), Matt Joyce, maybe Dexter Fowler, Ben Zobrist, Kemp, Ethier.  The Royals might also wanna offload Butler, but aren't at that point yet obviously since they're hanging around the same wild-card we are. Same with the Twins and both Willingham and Morales from their ranks.
Whether all teams think those guys are MOTO is debatable in the extreme.  Whether any of them would qualify as MOTO for us is not, really - although some of them are having terribad years.  If we can hang on til the deadline, more teams will be out of it and more players will be available.
I'm not against trading for two vets however, one now and one in 6 weeks...


"Baby steps..." The PERFECT analogy. Jack's team is six years old. It oughta be riding bikes around the neighborhood. Instead, we're thinking "baby steps."


The interesting thing about the missed evaluation on Smoak is that he was never a power hitter, really. In 183 AA AB's he hit 6 homers. In his 478 AAA AB's he's hit 13 homers. 661 AA/AAA AB's=19 homeruns.
Where was the projected power?
Smoak walks, never did hit for much of an average, and doesn't really mash the ball out.
He was simply misidentified.......and the M's have continued to buy in for 3 years.....despite evidence to the contrary.


We crashed it, hard, because Daddy Z didn't think training wheels were necessary. ;-)
So now we have kids who don't wanna ride the bike, and we're hoping the next set of kids, with proper training wheel attire, can do better.
Look, I ain't gonna argue with your points about Jack's GM failures.  We restocked the farm twice-over (considering half the players on the Mariners right now should probably still be in the minors - what's a farm with Paxton, Walker, Elias, Zunino, Miller, Franklin, Jones, DJ, Austin Wilson, Alex Jackson, Gareth Morgan et al look like?). But so far, that's his ONLY claim to fame.
Can he find free-agent pitching? Not if it ain't from Japan (thank you Kuma...).
Can he find free-agent hitting? Not without a quarter of a billion dollars, give or take some pocket change.
Can he get decent pieces in trade? Nope. Well he did get Morales, but that was a one-year rental without even a draftpick return on investment thanks to the QO aggravation.
Can he do prospect-for-prospect swaps to even out our needs? Nope.
Can he get lucky? DEFINITELY not (consider the health of Guti, Morse, Hart, Hultzen, et al).
Can that change?  We'd better hope so.  The failure to add contributing vets is a killer. 
Rotation: #1 Felix, #1a Kuma, #3 Walker, #3 Paxton, #4 Elias.  That's a potentially phenomenal rotation with Chris Young as a swing #6? Incredible. But it means ONCE AGAIN we are asking the kids without even a year of big-league experience to carry 3/5 of that load. Both because they are the most talented options available, and the cheapest.
Bullpen: We go six deep pretty easily, and they're all capable. Maurer and Kohlscheen, amongst others, are available in the minors if we have somebody take a DL trip, but we could make a smaller deal here too for lefty help or whatnot.  The bullpen has been strong - but pitching SHOULD be strong for the Mariners playing in the Safe.  The fact that it hasn't been recently is another indictment of Jack, though it certainly looks like we have it stocked and loaded for the next few years with internal adds.
Lineup: Seager, Cano, half time with injured Saunders, the occasional power of Zunino, and Brooklyn's scrappy CF play.  It's not enough.  I'm hoping we can cobble Hart and LoMo into an effective 1B/DH splitting some time with Smoak, likely.   I have no faith in the continued competence of Bloomie, Endy or Gillespie, and Ackley and Miller are hurting us with significantly less production than we need from either position.
We have an ERA+ of 111.  All we need is some decent offense.  Our Pythag right now is 38-31, that's how good the arms have been.  But whenever they falter slightly, we lose.  Even if they don't falter we can lose, because scoring runs is such a grind for this team. This is where Jack has to find a solution, to screw on those training wheels and make things easier for the offense to stay consistent.
Because if we crash this bike too, it's got to be somebody else's turn.  Wasting multiple Cy Young performances a year is inexcusable.


Smoak hit 20+ bombs both his soph and jr years in college, and was named the top prospect in the Cape Cod league with wood bats after leading that league in homers.  He HAD pop, and the idea was that he would find his pro power after the adjustment fade.  And the dude DID hit some prodigious shots his first April/May with us, before his dad died.  With his dad also being his swing coach I wonder how things might have been different if he hadn't passed so soon from this Earth.
I just don't think Smoak has the swing and hand-eye to square up balls the way you have to in order to mash at Safeco.  His bat is slowish so without squaring it up he's just not able to muscle the ball anywhere. His .160 career ISO and 85 points of patience aren't abysmal, they just aren't 30 2B / 30 HR material.  He struggles to go 20/20, unfortunately for us.  If he was a .280 hitter the rest of his numbers wouldn't be a problem, though. If you take his OBP and SLG numbers and put em on a .280 hitter, that's a .280/ .365/ .440 line, and a .800 OPS hitter is perfectly acceptable at 1B.
You know what he hits in Texas? .280/ .350/ .455.
Like I've said, when he gets out of the Safe I think he'll be fine as long as he winds up in a hitter's park.  We'd be kicking ourselves for taking the Montero deal over the Smoak one if Justin had stayed in Texas and was a .800 OPS batter. Sometimes players simply can't transcend their limitations, and Justin's have been etched sharply here with the Mariners.  It'll be better for him when he's in a place where mis-hit balls can still go over the wall, and we'll be better when we get an all-field player who can make better contact.
When do we swap Smoak for Choi again? ;-)


You say, "Can he get decent pieces in trade? Nope. Well he did get Morales, but that was a one-year rental without even a draftpick return on investment thanks to the QO aggravation." - Besides Morales, he worked Leuke for Jaso, Morse for Jaso, Vargas/Carp/Guti for Putz & parts, Walker and Franklin for Justin Upton - (you can't hang that one on Z, he did his job, unless you want to blame him for geography, weather, Safeco), League for Morrow, M. Cleto for Brendan Ryan, Ichiro for Farquhar, Thames for Ty Kelly, and of course, a bunch of stuff for Cliff Lee. Silva for Milton Bradley - can I just say here that that was a pretty smart and shrewd move. If Jack can build a system with lots of tradeable talents and then trade for needs, that should be enough.
The force feeding only came out of necessity - it was never Jack's desire to push these kids through the way they have been. Smoak wasn't even in the plans - he was acquired in large part because Bavasi's team (guys like Adam Moore, Michael Saunders, Jose Lopez, Yuni Betancourt) was too weak to compete: we were supposed to have Lee all season. Jack's prize acquisition, Franklin Gutierrez, came down with a mysterious illness, Beltre became a free agent and at that time, about the only thing that COULD have kept him around was the fact that Seattle now had a smart GM named Jack Zdurencik. And despite all this ugliness, Jack had smart folks picking the M's to win the West in 2010. That, my friends, is pretty shrewd management in a very short period of time for a lot of manure and nothing in the well for backup. Ackley...Jack was the last person in Seattle who wanted to promote him. We were all on pins and needles waiting for it. Montero had two seasons in AAA and a September callup. In fact, the guy was over-seasoned, according to the Doctor. Jack can't win either way on that one. Yeah, Figgins sucked and Bradley flopped. Kotchman flopped as well. But these were pretty smart moves, done on a Billy Beane budget. When they flopped, it was either go out there and gather another pile of veterans who may or may not perform, or push through a youth plan. Guess which one we all were for?
I love you Gordon, but you went too far in both dissecting Z's trading acumen as well as his training wheels metaphor. Jack was forced into pushing the kids forward, and hoping for the best.
Yeah, judge Z by his results, but also take a look at the impossible job he was handled, and tell me who, outside of Beane, could have done a better job pulling it off.


In golf there is a figure known as "Smash Factor." Basically it is Driver Swing Speed X Smash Factor = Average Carry. Not every pro with a 112 MPH swing speed carries the ball the same amount. Launch Angle will factor into that, of course, but basically Smash factor is a measurement of efficiency and measures how well you consistently "square" the ball up. I think Smoak is one of those guys who just doesn't square the ball up. I've long thought he would be better going with a small and lighter bat, BTW. I'm basing that on just what I think I see. I have no idea what length/weight bat he uses.
Back to golf, inclement weather impacts the best ball strikers the least. Look at guys who win the British Open numerous times and you'll see who the great ball strikers were. Guys like Tom Watson, Lee Trevino, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods hit the ball solidly time and again. Mishit shots get gobbled up by wind and heavy air. Solid shots bore through them.
Smoak doesn't hit the ball solidly enough to get the most out of his swing in Safeco. His big fly balls die. Seager? When he's hot he nutting the ball consistently. Safeco bothers him less, or seemingly so.
In the right park Smoak could play. Texas (but who doesn't hit there) or Fenway come to mind. He will never be the guy everybody thought he was. I do not begrudge missed college scouting, as it is a crap shoot anyway.
But we've given him a lot of time to prove himself as a Safeco weapon. he has proven himself, just not the way we all hoped. Move on.


when do we get to decide Jack's done a bad job? I mean, yeah the cupboard was bear when Bavasi left, but he's had plenty of time to put his stamp on the team and it's only marginally better. I mean Endy freaking Chavez is getting regular playing time for God's sake. If that's not an indictment of his team building prowess I have no idea what is. When does "it was tough job when he took over" become "thanks for the help, we're going in another direction"? Would seven years be enough? Eight? Will it take a full decade of high draft picks busting (don't look now but for all that he's putting up pretty good numbers in High Desert, DJ Peterson's home/road splits are kind of alarming) before we decide to move in another direction?


I love your passionate defense of Jack's trading skills, but I can't buy in, Rick. :-)
Guti was bad luck.  He's a good baseball player who had an undiagnosed disease that has not been able to be controlled for him to be the regular his talent would allow him to be.  Picking Guti out of a hat as trade return along with Vargas was Jack's good trade.
A one-year swap of Vargas (who we were not gonna re-sign) for Kendrys (who we might, and who would help for all of 2013, and would likely be worth a QO) was also a good move.  It was still only a one-year bandaid though.  Jack didn't FIX anything, he just rolled the problem to next year.
So let's say I give you those two, even though only one of them was supposed to be a long-term piece. Who else?
Cliff Lee was a tremendous trade to dump some prospects before they lose value and get an All-Star.  We then blew the flip part of the trade, but it was a nice 3-month add. How does that help us now?
Jaso for Lueke was a nice get.  So nice we tossed Jaso for a year of Morse.  Jaso is continuing to be a quality part time player who demolishes righties for our division rival and has another year til FA, while Morse was a 1-year injured rental who is gone. Long term help swapped for a short-term patch that didn't actually patch anything.
I can absolutely blame Zduriencik for spending the offseason trying to add a guy who did not want to come here while our other options dwindled. If you know you're on his No-Trade, maybe you should figure out whether he'll wave it before you waste 3 weeks making a deal that can't be made. You might as well tell me I can't blame him for not signing free agents because he made offers, they just took other deals. ;-)
League for Morrow was a cute patch, but you could have traded Morrow for any number of things as the #5 pick in the draft who was striking out 9+ dudes a game in Seattle. Let's call it a wash.  Getting a 5'10 reliever for a HOFer in Ichiro isn't exactly a huge win, as much as I like Farquhar, but at least Danny is a piece for the future. Ryan was a 2-year risk that helped tank the offense and couldn't be flipped, but didn't cost us much.
But getting Thames got us nothing. Blowing the Fister deal got us nothing (well, Furbush, so a large downgrade - Fister was 9th in the league in WAR from 2011-2013, the years we coughed up that were essentially free). Not one trade has brought in anyone as good as Fister was going out (not counting Lee's 3 months) and the only long-term pieces we've added in trade have been bullpenners. If you wanna run it out, I'm sure we're a net negative in trade WAR.
At some point Zduriencik is gonna have to add players who will be here a while AND are plus. He has plenty of trade pieces but because he can't add ANY veterans worth anything, we feel like we still can't trade them because we'll need them. If we had Fister, we could have traded Paxton or Walker for lumber. We tried anyway, as you said, and still might have to.
Because this is year 6 of the rebuild and you can't point to anything more than 7th inning arms as trade pieces we've added for our next pennant run.  Swapping players for other mediocre players is not improving the team, it's just shuffling the deck. And so far that's all Jack has been able to do.
I really hope the next time is the one where he nails it. We need it.


The Mariners were busy cutting Jack's budget from 127 million (2008 season, Bavasi's last) to 72 million to start 2013. When somebody cuts 40% of your payroll WHILE you have cupboards bare thanks to the last guy in charge, I understand why we had to rush prospects and scramble for weird trades and reach on certain players like Figgins in the hopes that they could help.
Paying for Cano was a very nice breakout from their previous few years of belt-tightening.
But at some point the kids have to produce, or the vet FAs, or the trades.  SOMEBODY has to come through on offense - we have the #1 bullpen and two All-Star pitchers, with a good park pickup in Young and a bold young starter in Elias.  Jack is still around because he's gotten the pitching to work (in a pitcher's park, yes, but only Young is Vargas-ing a precarious harvest from the Safe).
With Felix, Kuma, Elias, Walker and Paxton the Ms have the rotation talent to buy time and win without a great offense.  Seager, Zunino and Jones are a nice trifecta from the draft (helps make up for the Ackley / Smoak / Montero faceplant) and Miller will come along, but we need a RH hitter we don't have ready internally yet.
And if Jack can't add him and the team finds itself another long losing streak, he may be in trouble - great pitching staff of not.
Don't worry too much about DJ though. ;-) His BABIP is low on the road for the Cal League and he's remembering to hit liners there and not just loft the ball into the jetstream. High Desert makes people do weird things.  Hopefully he starts the second half in Jackson and we'll get to see him adjust to real parks and pitchers. He's not having a great year yet whatever the raw numbers say, but after a slow April recovering from having his face shattered last year, he's driving the ball again. I'd like to see the Ks come down and the walks go up, but right now it's all about swing and comfort and he's finding both.


As much as I'd like to see some Gillick leadership now, 6 years of that and I'd probably be wishing for more Zduriencik. Are we expecting perfection from a GM? How many of those have there been ever.
So young hitters are having trouble adjusting to mlb life while making the Safe their home? That shouldn't be terribly surprising. At the same time expecting immediate results from prospects coming up is bound to bring heartache far more often than not. The Miller post with all the 'it often takes years' sentiment doesn't only apply to Miller.
700+ OPS' are considered failure in today's game? I don't think so. Sure they're not superstars, but league average is only .70 something anymore. .720 is above average and do make fine scrubs which isn't nothing. There's need to hit on a couple stars, but it's not like nothings come from the farm or there's nothing left close, nothing for next year or the year after. I remember the big 4 article followed by the next 4 article which highlighted Elias and 3 others still a year+ away. While there's been failures and bad luck (which are to be expected from any GM) there's been more solid chances from Drafting than many teams ever have in a 6 year run. Most of it is still 'too soon to tell'. If I'm counting Walker and Paxton as anything in regards to success or failure it's success. Zunino right now, Seager so far and Jones if he continues decently close to how he's been coupled with Elias Paxton and Walker Looks like 6 solid major leaguers. That the pitchers look better than the hitters is at least partially due to the park they play in. Then there's the bullpen and MANY other names to discuss.
The offense sucks right now, lacking a couple bats. Zduriencik has been such a horrible GM that the cupboard could pay for a couple bats and walk away infinitely more stocked than after Bedard.


Which is why since Taijuan feels well I'm looking forward to that for the last 3 months of the year.  The offense doesn't need 4 amazing hitters added to make it work, it just needs a real RH hitter to help balance it out and somebody who can be a plus option when Seager or Cano slumps.
We can make the rest of the pieces fit.  Lloyd is not a static lineup kind of guy so we're not stuck with benchies who don't play.  If we're gonna platoon our sub-par hitters to scrape out some results, that's just fine. Healthy Guti might have been all we need.
So somebody go find me a Healthy Guti who crushes lefties with panache. ;-) And in the meantime, bring on Taijuan and some hitting luck.


But he's been near league avg 1st base most of his time here. Almost as many teams have had worse there as have had better. There's a death of good first basemen in the game and Jackdid make some attempt to go get Fielder (.720 OPS in Texas). You point out that there's at least a few parks he'd be an .800 OPS guy and I'll claim it's more than just a few. I'll point to his splits for evidence. That doesn't even include much experience in NL parks which includes 2 of the most offensive parks. Smoak is only a super scrub instead of superstar but that's not nothing. The guys we traded FOR Lee are nothing.


I agree, there has to be patience with the youth.  James Jones was drafted in 2009 and just got here.  Seager and Ackley were rushed.  So was Smoak from 2008.  You figure anybody drafted in 2009 doesn't get more than a taste of pro ball before 2010, it's gonna take a thousand-to-fifteen-hundred PAs in the minors to get settled (2.5 years or so) which makes the earliest I would have expected to see Ackley would have been a year after his actual debut. You've then got ANOTHER two year adjustment period, and then you expect hitters to settle into who they will be.
We're there with the first set of bats. Seager worked, the rest have been less impressive positionally. ;)
But if Jack KNOWS that it takes 4-5 years after a draft to start seeing real returns then it's sort of his job to prep for that.
Trust me, I'm not at all unhappy with the drafting. NOBODY could have done better than Jack and Tom have at restocking the farm, and even when injuries have brutalized some top talents we still have surprises.  Jack has added top-flight talent to the system, and it's not fair to expect it all to be ready any earlier than Year Five or Six.  Seager, Jones, Ackley, Walker and Paxton is a nice haul for just 2 years of drafts even with Ackley failing to reach his potential thus far. Other than the Rendon-for-Hultzen snafu, we've done a good job of adding whoever WAS there to be added.
But Jack is not the farm director.  Tom is holding that down just fine.  Jack is the GM and he needs to craft a team, not just field a bunch of players.
If he can build the framework of vets around the kids to allow this thing to become self-sustaining, we'll have something.  That's why this deadline and offseason are key.  When the kids can come up and gradually push Cano and whomever out of the MOTO as we grow Mariners baseball back to prominence, it'll be beautiful.  If the kids have to be better than all other prospects in order to tread water and help us score a couple runs because there's no one else who can, I'll be disappointed.
Again. Because we're close...


Regarding your position. I agree with what you're saying.
The fact that they're so close is positive, really. This next month had better see a return to getting the best player back that's only happened a few times under Jack. Fister is the only move I put clearly in the bad pile though, the rest are more convoluted. I think Morse was the better player than Jaso, it was contract length that made the move questionable.
With roster construction, again they're in the hunt now. Positive. For me, injury histories have explained why there have been so many DH types and every year they've all been used. Every year people complain both sides of it too, not seeing the correlation between the depth at a position as being due to the injury history of those players and the dearth of that player type. I've seen it as a positive of his roster creation, while others see it as 2 negatives. I'll grant that theoretically one player getting 2 of those DH salaries would be better, but I'll point to DH being another position that there just aren't that many good ones right now.
I'm confident that Jacks working hard to get a couple additions right now. This team hasn't been in this position under him before, (in the hunt with plenty of talent in minors) so how things went before don't seem to apply so much as examples of how they will now. Maybe. If he trades for lottery chances again when the situation no longer warrants it, I'm all for looking for a new GM. But those moves were made when the team was in a different state that warranted making them much more so, sans Fister.


Of the guys who played at least 50 games at 1B: Smoak was about the 30th best in the game in '10, about 20th in '11, about 25th in '12 and about 22nd in '13.
I'll give us '10 and '11. I can abide by '13 and '14.
He isn't good. Move on.


Regarding your position. I agree with what you're saying.
The fact that they're so close is positive, really. This next month had better see a return to getting the best player back that's only happened a few times under Jack. Fister is the only move I put clearly in the bad pile though, the rest are more convoluted. I think Morse was the better player than Jaso, it was contract length that made the move questionable.
With roster construction, again they're in the hunt now. Positive. For me, injury histories have explained why there have been so many DH types and every year they've all been used. Every year people complain both sides of it too, not seeing the correlation between the depth at a position as being due to the injury history of those players and the dearth of that player type. I've seen it as a positive of his roster creation, while others see it as 2 negatives. I'll grant that theoretically one player getting 2 of those DH salaries would be better, but I'll point to DH being another position that there just aren't that many good ones right now.
I'm confident that Jacks working hard to get a couple additions right now. This team hasn't been in this position under him before, (in the hunt with plenty of talent in minors) so how things went before don't seem to apply so much as examples of how they will now. Maybe. If he trades for lottery chances again when the situation no longer warrants it, I'm all for looking for a new GM. But those moves were made when the team was in a different state that warranted making them much more so, sans Fister.


Aren't often the same guys every day. He's in the high teens if you raise the filter to 90 games where they receive more scrutiny and game planning.


If the argument is that Zduriencik has done better than Bavasi for the long-term health of this franchise, I don't think you'll get any argument here. But that's not much of a bar to clear. Zduriencik has yet to prove he can build a team that can compete for a division title in September. Once he does that we can talk. And even then he would need to prove he can sustain success. But to me, no matter what the original circumstance, it starts to ring hollow if year after year after year the expectations just keep getting punted a couple of years down the road. Jack had stretched his finite chances to the breaking point entering this season. He got a BIT of reprieve when Howard Lincoln authorized the signing of Cano, but it remains to be seen whether that was just a PR move by Lincoln or a huge down payment on an investment in success. Something tells me we'll know more come the trade deadline if this team hangs around with a chance for a Wild Card spot. But even the Cano signing was more a reflection of Lincoln than Zduriencik. Give ANY GM 240 million dollars, he probably coulda signed Cano.


1. It is highly unlikely that any other GM, operating under the same restraints, would have produced better results than Zduriencik has so far. Quite possible the results would have been the same, with a weaker farm system.
2. Zduriencik was spectacular in developing a team right off the bat that could compete. When the veteran team failed in 2010, he was forced to begin a premature youth movement. Nobody doubted this was the right move at the time. But it was not Jack's plan, the spectacular disaster of 2010 forced it upon him. Moving Lee for Smoak wasn't the plan. The plan was to contend with Lee.
3. Zduriencik is perfectly capable of playing stars and scrubs, provided he has the raw materials to do this (rebuilt farm system, and ability to make good trades, like the kind that landed Lee and Jaso).
4. I see no reason to toss Zduriencik under the bus at this time, because outside of a Billy Beane, there isn't a GM candidate I know of who is available, and can make better use of our resources, under these conditions.
5. My final point, which I haven't made until now: Let's embrace the suck, the way Billy Beane does in Oakland. No use complaining about Lincoln, who is immune from accountability so long as he earns a profit for the mother ship Nintendo. But we can instead focus on our GM, whom Lincoln can hire and fire at will (and has, witness Bavasi).. Whoever GM's for Seattle can win under the lousy ownership just as Beane does, provided he maximizes use of his resources. Beane is good because he knows what his limitations are and works effectively within them. So should whoever GM's here. Whoever GM's here has more resources than Beane, and can play an effective game of stars and scrubs. Management will put forth resources for around $100 million at a minimum, and maybe more. It's enough for a Felix, and a Cano, and will support a youth program, and a key veteran here and there (guys like Rodney and Hart).. The GM needs to be creative, and aggressive in trading to come up with a winning hand. Zduriencik has a spotty record, but has shown tremendous creativity in trading for additional pieces. I agree that this season he needs to show more in this regard this season.


You represent you point of view well, and it is reasonable. In the end, you may be right. I hope so. I don't share your point of view; I think Jack has had so many high draft picks and fungible assets that a good GM (not necessarily an outstanding one) would have this team farther along than Jack does, but I'm not endowed with such insight that I am prevented from being wrong :) . For instance, I'm not prepared to spend the time to research a specific alternative GM, I have other ways to better spend my time. So tip o' the hat to you, rick82. We will both, God willing, have the opportunity at some point to look back and see which of us is proved correct.


Agreed, Jack's drafting was far more likely to win us results than getting a GM who cannot draft in to fix this.  The cupboard was bare. Without assets, what's a GM gonna do? If Jack can't put a roster together, then it'll be time for somebody to harvest all that crop off the farm and try to do what Zduriencik can't - but Jack is gonna get his swing first.
When Seager and Cano play brilliantly, and either Jones or Saunders is on, this team is fun. If either Seager or Cano slumps, we're in trouuuublllle.
Jack's first wave hit the beaches and got mowed down as unprepared recruits (except for Seager, who is Sgt. Rock-ing his way into being one of my favorite Ms). Lesson learned, I hope, and a sacrifice I hope never to have to witness again amongst our best prospects.
Jack's second wave is pitching, and they have been (slightly in some cases, severely in others) delayed by injury.  But Paxton and Walker should be clambering to prominence as soon as July for a turbo boost to a staff that's already great for the most part. Felix / Kuma / Paxton / Walker / Elias is good for contending for a couple of years, I'd think, health allowing. With Maurer and a bunch of bullpenners ready to keep the pen near the top? Yeah, that works.
Jack's third wave is a couple years away, which is why we need another bat to help waves one and two.
As I said above: we're close.  Offense is very catalytic, IMO.  It's like a car battery: not enough juice, nothing happens.  Juuuuust enough juice, the whole thing rumbles to life.
You can hear the engine sputtering and trying to turn over - Jack just has to DO it, or we need a new mechanic who can, because we can't waste these Cy Young performances from the King and Kuma all the time. Felix isn't guaranteed to pitch forever - might as well try to win something while he's, y'know, amazing. Just sitting around til the kids figure it out in 2016 or 17 doesn't work for me. We don't have to score a lot with this team to go on winning streaks that propel us toward the playoffs and out of the pack, just a few consistent runs. The Mariners are not going to splurge and break their precious budget, so I'd love to see Jack fix the problem and stick around. Being able to add a hitter and and arm every year could make this condending thing almost perpetual - assuming we can get it fully functional.
Maybe Montero finds his mojo.  Maybe Hart and LoMo come thump out 15 homers apiece in the last 3 months.  Maybe we make that trade for the RH MOTO hitter we've needed since forever.
Whatever happens, we're in contention in the middle of June and all the games are must-watch (even if some of them wind up being unwatchable offensively) because we SHOULD be in every game. A LITTLE more firepower, Jack - y'know, like Morse is giving San Fran.  That's all we need... 


The Morse signing was a smart roll of the dice. The Hart signing was a smart roll of the dice. If either came up 7 or 11 we would think Z a genius. Neither came up (for us), but they were still smart rolls. Smart in that they were low cost, with a very nice upside. Those kind of rolls work best when you have the studly bats already. Cano is one. Seager is kinda one. If classic Hart had shown up we would be in the tall cotton. He didn't, so now we need to roll the dice again and see if we can find that bat. Time for a acquisition, Z.


Morse?  He's a beast when healthy.  He busted his wrist while he was here, the team docs couldn't find anything and told him it was all in his head (seriously) and after the season he got it checked and figured it out.  Now he's killing it, like he did for the Gnats.  Of COURSE we bought his down year.
Morales played here, hit well, didn't want either the QO or the 3-year deal we offered (Boras over-rated the DH value on the open market - which he's been doing a lot for his second-tier players lately) and we couldn't even get the draftpick because he's the only QO guy that DIDN'T eventually sign before the draft.
Anybody doubt Hart is gonna hit next year, a couple years removed from the knee surgery? I wouldn't bet against it, that's for sure.
The national media freaks out because Jack keeps picking up multiple DH types but he does it because he's looking for a 2-to-make-1 situation.  If Morse doesn't work, maybe Morales does. If Hart can't go then perhaps LoMo can hit 25 bombs.
He's just not winning any of those matchups.  He never locks himself into long-term deals with these upside-players, but doesn't get the upside either. Whenever it works out we're gonna look great, like you said - but right now he's either got to swing a smaller deal for either an upside-or-three-month-guy or lock in a few years with a player in a bigger trade and trust that the dude can hit enough to be the third studly bat.

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