The day he was hired, general manager Jack Zduriencik’s plan to rebuild the Seattle Mariners was to compile young talent – through trades and drafts – supplement it with the occasional free agent and get the team to a World Series.
Not quite three years into the job, with a 203-255 record, Zduriencik was given a multi-year extension by the team for a job well done but not completed.
“Jack arrived in Seattle with a clear plan, and he has not deviated from that plan,” team president Chuck Armstrong said Wednesday. “Jack wanted to increase the talent base in our organization through scouting and player development. That is exactly what he has done.”
Zduriencik’s trades have produced Franklin Gutierrez, Mike Carp, Jason Vargas, Brendan Ryan, Casper Wells, Trayvon Robinson, Charlie Furbush, Justin Smoak, Brandon League, Blake Beavan, Josh Lueke and Chance Ruffin – all part of the roster today, though Smoak is on the disabled list.
He’s drafted two others, Dustin Ackley and Kyle Seager, and signed free agents Miguel Olivo, Adam Kennedy, Chone Figgins and Luis Rodriguez.
Zduriencik’s successes have outweighed failures such as Jack Cust, Eric Byrnes, Ian Snell, Casey Kotchman, Luke French, a misguided Mike Morse-for-Ryan Langerhans trade, the second year of Ken Griffey Jr. and the handling of manager Don Wakamatsu – fired after the only winning year of Zduriencik’s tenure.
“If you look at what’s on the field here, we’re starting to see some success,” Zduriencik said. “The fact I’ve been asked to stay on is important to the whole process. It certainly means a lot to me and I’m excited I have the opportunity to be here.”
How far are the Mariners from contention?
“How quick our players come on, what we do this winter is going to be important. Some of the things we do in spring training, with non-roster invites, is going to be important,” Zduriencik said. “It would be foolish to say one year from now we’re going to be here, or two years from now we’re going to be here. It’s difficult to predict because you’re dealing with the human element.”
WILSON TO BRAVES
Infielder Jack Wilson, who lost his job at shortstop, then again at second base, was traded to the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday for a player to be named.
The Mariners saved one month of Wilson’s $5 million salary, while Wilson saved the fate of sitting on the bench for another month in Seattle.
A .266 career hitter, Wilson batted .243 in parts of three injury-marred seasons with the Mariners.
Figgins may still wind up playing this weekend in Tacoma, but the Mainers say he may just as likely accompany the team on its West Coast trip to Oakland and Los Angeles, where his workouts can be monitored.
Either way, Figgins won’t get much September playing time.
Seattle plays host to Los Angeles in a 7:10 p.m. game today that will be televised on Root Sports. Probable starting pitchers: Angels’ Ervin Santana (9-9, 3.17 ERA) vs. Furbush (3-6, 4.87).