The 2015 Seattle Mariners were projected to be good this season, their offense was supposed to be improved from 2014, and the back half of their starting staff was allegedly shored up by the acquisition of J.A. Happ. Instead, the offense has remained a steaming pile of crap, the bullpen collapsed, and the starting rotation was unable to stay healthy at the start of the season. All of this adds up to a roster that is 10 games under .500 and has no realistic shot at making the playoffs.
All of that also adds up to the eventual end of the Jack Zduriencik era in Seattle. As he has struggled to develop an organizational identity for the offense, and has struggled to produce an average bat from its farm system. These struggles have made his seven years in Seattle seem longer than those years actually have been.
But it had seemed like the team had turned the corner in 2014. Last season seemed like proof that his plan was working, the core of Dustin Ackley, Kyle Seager, Felix Hernandez, and recent addition Robinson Cano had brought the team within a game of the playoffs. Then they went out and added power hitting outfielder/designated hitter Nelson Cruz, and outfielders Seth Smith and Justin Ruggiano to help bolster the outfield defense and offense.
It seemed like the team had turned the corner, and that was going to be competing for a division crown. And then the offense struggled right out of the gate as the team started losing. The team quickly DFA’d Ruggiano, who had a whopping total of 80 plate appearances in two months, and acquired power hitting 1B/OF/DH Mark Trumbo instead…leading Zduriencik down the same path that has crippled his rebuild in Seattle and put him near the end of his time as the Mariners’ general manager.
Zduriencik’s apparent obsession with right-handed power, in a park built to (apparently) kill right-handed hitters, has prevented almost every one of his chosen right handed hitters — Nelson Cruz is the exception, not the rule — from succeding at Safeco Field. Mike Moorse, Mark Trumbo, and Miguel Olivo have all been right-handed bats brought into add thump to the Mariners line-up, instead they’ve done nothing but become offensive black holes that killed rallies with strikeouts and ground outs. The power bats that have traditional suc
ceeded at Safeco are the left handers who take advantage of the right field porch, and can walk a lot. In other words, not the guys that Zduriencik has consistently brought into Seattle — Robinson Cano and John Jaso are not the norm — and that’s not how a general manager is going to build a roster that will consistently win at Safeco Field.
Jack Zduriencik is an astonishingly average general manager that has failed to build an offense that could effectively function in the ballpark his team played in, while building a dominant pitching staff that has been the team’s only selling point. It’s pretty clear that his offensive philosophy isn’t going to change, and that means that his tenure as the Mariners GM should be coming to an end soon.
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