It’s been a long time since 2001, even longer since 1995 when Junior rounded third to the tune of Dave Niehaus’s voice. Here we are in 2013 watching those Seattle Mariners at the bottom of the AL west looking to let this season slip away again. The M’s sit at 33-43 and 10.5 games out of first place not even to the All-Star break yet. It is year five of the Jack Zduriencik regime and still we haven’t seen any glimpse of a winning team. As a Mariners fan, I’m tired of waiting.
Let’s take a look at what Jack Z has done since coming to Seattle. He has acquired Cliff Lee, a move I liked but it was clear to many that Lee didn’t want to re-sign here. So he moved him to Texas in what was supposed to be a can’t miss deal. The M’s received a young power hitter in Justin Smoak, a bottom of the roatation pitcher in Blake Beavan, and two other throw-ins in: Josh Lueke and Matt Lawson.
While the Rangers received a Cy Young candidate, the Mariners thought they were getting the next big power hitter to send balls over the Space Needle. In 4 years, Smoak has never batted over .250 and has hit 43 HR in 4 years with the team.
To put this in perspective, Smoak statistically has the lowest batting average EVER for any first baseman with at least 1,000 career at bats. Oh yeah, Texas has been in two World Series since the trade.
Now to another trade that really grids my gears, Doug Fister for Casper Wells, Francisco Martinez, and Charlie Furbush. Fister was a promising number 3 starter in the rotation, besides his terrible record, his ERA and WHIP in Seattle were pretty good. He just had the run support of one of the worst offenses in history.
Jack Z thought it would be a good idea to ship Fister to Detroit for some young prospects while the team didn’t have playoff hopes. All Fister has done since being with an offense is go 24-16 with a era around 3 and an American League pennant to his name. Another sigh from the Mariner faithful. Casper Wells has been designated for assignment 3 times, Furbush is a decent lefty specialist, and Martinez was moved to the outfield and can’t hit. Another loss for a team that could use a solid number 3 starter behind King Felix and Kuma.
Oh you’re not done yet? Zduriencik went to the Yankees for a bat in the lineup. Trading an All-Star in Michael Pineda for a “can’t miss hitting prospect” in Jesus Montero. Although Pineda hasn’t even hit the field for the Yankees due to a DUI and elbow issues, Montero hasn’t done much either. A young catching prospect with tremendous opposite field power and a swing that reminded you a little of Edgar Martinez, Montero was sure to be a doubles machine. Instead he was an unathletic, out of position catcher who couldn’t hit the outside slider. This caused for a demotion to triple-a Tacoma where he has dropped the catchers glove and is trying to learn a new position, first base. Great, now Seattle has two first baseman who can’t hit.
A baseball mind said to never bring your prospects up out of need. Bring them up when they are ready. Apparently the M’s didn’t get the memo. Ackley, Smoak, Montero, Saunders, Liddi, Maurer, Capps, Pryor and the list goes on an on of people who got brought up either too early, or will never be able to produce at the Major League level. Either way it looks like these players have shown what they can do with the big club. The jury is still out on Franklin and Zunino but neither of them is making a Mike Trout or Yasiel Puig type impact.
Where are the Mariner’s going wrong? The Mariner’s have one of the best farm systems in baseball according to most of the scouts, but why can’t that translate to the big squad? We are waiting on names such as Walker, Hultzen, Romero, Paxton, and we still won’t until next year full time. Even then they will be rookies and Felix will be getting older.
It will be interesting to see which one of those guys gets traded. This off season Zduriencik already tried to trade top pitching prospect Taijuan Walker for Justin Upton. Although Upton got off to a hot start he is now hitting under.250 and has only three home runs in the month of June. Could you imagine if he did that in Seattle? Jack would be out of a job. If I am him a call Miami right now and trade for Giancarlo Stanton. He can hit the ball out of Safeco with ease and would be the only compensation I’d accept for Walker.
It is quoted as Jack Z saying he has a 5 year plan. Now he is saying he might need two more years, well all the Mariners fans have is time because we are used to waiting.
It’s safe to say that Jack Z’s is on the hot seat in Seattle, some improvements need to be made or else he is out and some other guy is brought in only so he fails again. Mariner fans, hold on, it might be a bumpy ride.