Zduriencik responds to Seattle Times story

Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik issued a statement Monday addressing a story in Sunday’s Seattle Times accusing the club’s front office of being a dysnfunctional situation. The story was based largely on comments by former manager Eric Wedge and former assistant to the GM Tony Blengino.

Here is Zduriencik’s statement:

Over the years, we have chosen to take the high road in talking about former Mariners personnel. It hasn’t always been easy but we always felt it was important to do so, not just for the club but also for the individual. And in every case, it proved to be the right way to handle things. However, we believe the comments made by former members of our organization that appeared in the Sunday Seattle Times require a brief response.

Eric Wedge, our former manager, criticized our organization, accusing Howard Lincoln, chuck Armstrong and me of meddling.

Everyone in our organization, including Howard and Chuck, is focused on putting a championship team on the field. We all care very deeply about this team, just like the fans do. We all see when the team is playing well, and when it isn’t.

I’ve worked for several Major League organizations. Our upper management has suggestions and asks questions, just like CEOs and presidents in other organization do, all to be helpful and contribute to the goal of winning. We all want to win as soon as possible.

When there are areas that need improvement, it’s my job to ask questions, suggest ideas and give direction to the field staff. When our upper management has questions or suggestions, it’s my job to respond to them. I don’t believe meddling is a fair portrayal.

One good example is the issue of the Mariners doing extra work last September. That suggestion was mine. Everyone in the baseball department thought this would be a good teaching time to help us improve our fundamentals with a young team, and help set the tone for spring training.

Howard, Chuck, Eric and I met every five to six weeks the past couple of seasons to make sure we were all on the same page. Never once did Eric complain about our communications during those meetings. In fact, we all agreed that this was a good time to offer and share ideas.

Eric approached me numerous times throughout the year expressing his desire for a long-term contract. Even the day before he quit, Eric called a meeting with me and demanded a contract extension.

I can also say that our current statistical analysis group is doing excellent work. Our dedicated staff and the tools they are using are a key component in our decision making process, and are light years ahead of where we have been. I am engaged with their work on a daily basis and very excited in the improvements made.

We have never deviated from our rebuilding plan. We have stayed the course, and we now have a talented group of young players. We are hard at work looking into every option to add to this core group, as we said we would, and we are looking forward to 2014 and beyond.

9 Comments

Jack has always taken the high road in situations like this. Even with this rebuttal he didn’t throw anyone under the bus, simply defending the “sour grapes” accusations being throw upon him. When breakups like this happen, there are always sides that are bitter and can take even the slightest disagreement or frustrated scenario and embellish it, usually unintentionally. That’s why it’s hard for many to be in a management position because holding back emotions aren’t easy to do. Wedge was as thick headed as they come, which many in the organization admits openly to. What he wanted from his team, his tactical strategies, and they way he handled some players was looked at throughout his tenure (though oddly many of the fan base have chose to forget those things.). Team work seemed to be heading in the same direction with this group initially, but it was quite apparent that that was not the case later in the three year stint. Wedge had an affinity towards certain players, AS WELL as against certain players. Jack’s hand was forced to make roster moves on several occasions when it should never have gotten to that point. With Wedge gone and Jack having a firm grip on what direction he wants with these young players, I’m confident that McClendon will work with him to arrive to success faster then many expect. Keep going Jackie Z.!

Gee, I’ve never bad mouthed an ex-girlfriends, even when I 100% believed it was deserved. Wedge & Blandino probably did more damaged to their own reputations & souls. They should have just sat back and watched the Mariners & Jack Z implode. Based on what has transpired, firing Wedge & Blandino seems to have been the right call, regardless of anything related to baseball.

Mr. Z has always been upfront and honest with our fan base and were proud to have him as our GM. WE ARE GETTING THERE…….GO MARINERS!!!

How do you account for every major scout in the M’s leaving and manager turnover every two years? Jack Z’s side of things don’t add up. Geoff Baker affirmed what M’s fans have been hearing for the past decade. I know Z isnt responsible for past discretion’s with the M’s upper management, but this has been the nature of baseball in Seattle since Lou left. Jack Z and Lincoln should be joining Armstrong. Get out of baseball and leave my Mariners alone!

I can’t shake the feeling that the type of moves made by the front office’s early years and the recent years seem to be made by completely different people. Unfortunately, the recent moves are the type that get people fired. I will be shocked if z is still employed by the Mariners a year from now. His recent moves do not inspire any confidence that he knows what he is doing.

Honestly, I don’t know what to believe. :/

When it comes down to it, none of us fans has any clue what *really* went down behind the scenes. I bet it’s not as bad as the ex-employees are saying, but not as good as Z makes it out to be.

I will say this though: something is obviously wrong, probably communication. If there are people talking bad about the organization, leaving the organization for ‘no reason’, or whatever, then there is a problem that needs to be addressed. It’s probably not as bad as the ex-employees (who are angry) claim but ignoring them altogether won’t fix anything.

Until the problem, whatever it is, get fixed, it looks like we’ll just keep riding the merry-go-round of frustration and disappointment until it breaks down or Z and the front office finds the issue and fixes it.

Where to begin. I posted something similar to this on another blog. We entered the HSL with a full compliment of position players. We have two TOR starters in Felix and Kuma. Walker is the top pitching prospect in MLB plus, what could be, a very good LHed starter in Paxton. They all have MLB experience and almost all are team controlled for many years and almost all were because of Z. Some haven’t panned out as well as we’d of liked but Z has a ton of money and a bunch of desirable prospects to work with to fill in the gaps.

He may be insufferable to be around, who really knows, and he has had a lot of misses, but he’s managed to put a complete team on the field.

Isn’t this what we’ve been waiting for? So far he’s signed the best FA hitter and gold glover in baseball and signed an uber sub in Bloomquist. Plus, I doubt that he’s done dealing yet.

I suspect the real story lies somewhere in between. Blindino seems to have quite an ego, too. A lot of times, that type personality can’t let go of a supposed transgression against him. Z fired him so he has to retaliate. That’s the only reason I can come up with, that he’d agree to do such a real hatchet job on Z He must know that, by doing that, he’s really hurt any chance of being hired by another team.

Anyway, it seems to me that Z is getting us real close to the promised land, He may be arrogant with a big ego, but we are so far ahead of where we were with the last less intelligent, arrogant and big egoed GM, that we should let him do his job and let Geoffie’s big exclusive fade into the wood work.

The truth is somewhere in the middle. For example, would you want the Front Office to sit back and do nothing in the midst of a 17-game losing streak in 2011? Or any of the other long losing streaks that we’ve endured during the JZ tenure? Would you not expect some meddling if the people on the field aren’t doing their job?

Would you rather watch Ackley and others continue to miss bunts in September and not make them do extra work on fundamentals?

If Tony Blengino was the mastermind as the #2 running the show, he has a lot more to answer, like how he justified signing Chone Figgins, trading for and re-signing Jack Wilson, trading Brandon Morrow, signing Kotchman, Eric Byrnes mess, trading Cliff Lee, and why the team flopped so horribly in 2010 (61-101)?

Mr. Baker has a history of writing with an agenda. I don’t believe the Front Office was cohesive in JZ’s tenure, but I also don’t believe in the entirety of Mr. Baker’s story.

In reference to the Doug Fister trade, in which Blengino claims has already been pushed out, only a stat head would have traded Fister to Detroit. If you recall, Fister’s ERA was much lower than his FIP. At the time of the trade, even USSM called the trade fair. If Jack Zduriencik only knew pitchers by their ERA, Jack would not have made that trade.

To quote Blengino, “But Jack never has understood one iota about statistical analysis. To this day, he evaluates hitters by homers, RBI and batting average and pitchers by wins and ERA. Statistical analysis was foreign to him. But he knew he needed it to get in the door.”

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