In the 45 days since his hiring, general manager Jack Zduriencik has retooled the Seattle Mariners front office, hired a manager and most of a coaching staff, opened space on his major league roster and signed a left-handed hitter with power.
Not a bad run before the baseball winter meetings.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Still, fans of the team worry that Russell Branyon is not the answer, that Zduriencik hasn't yet improved the team that had American League's worst record despite a $117 million payroll.
The operative word here is 'patience.'
Zduriencik hasn't had two months on the job, but in that time he's established a new scouting staff, and brought in new faces to run the minor league and player development departments.
In Don Wakamatsu, Zduriencik hired a young first-time manager who produced at least a ripple of excitement in the Northwest.
And in Branyan, he identified a relatively low-risk free agent as a piece of the puzzle, not as an answer. Then he quietly, quickly signed him.
All of that had to be done – and was – before the Mariners could begin the more obvious effort of rebuilding the team that will open the 2009 season.
Today, Zduriencik and his staff fly into Las Vegas for baseball's winter meetings, and they go in knowing what the Mariners have and what they lack. More important, they know what and who they want.
Forty-five days into his administration, Zduriencik's Mariners have a starting rotation to build around, with clear needs in the outfield, first base and DH.
Branyan can platoon in all three spots if necessary, but Zduriencik has targeted players – from free agents to big-leaguers on other teams to the prospects in other systems – that he wants.
No GM in his situation gets everything he wants, either at these meetings or in an off-season.
In less than seven weeks, Zduriencik has done the preliminary work and still rated the benefit of the doubt.
Asked to fix a team in disrepair for years, he's probably got the right to ask for, say, two months in which to do it.