We used to be able to count on a few things around here. Like summer showing up around the Fourth of July. Like a few Sasquatch sightings once in a while. Like an NBA / NHL arena is right around the corner, any day now. I am pretty sure we can’t really count on any of those anymore. But there is one thing you can count on. Whatever happens with the Mariners, EVERYONE will blame Jack.
Jack Zduriencik came to the Mariners for the 2008 season. He is now in his seventh season here. Remember the greats? Only one GM has served more than the seven seasons of Jack. Pat Gillick (4) Bill Bavasi (5) Lou Gorman (4) all had their moments. Only Woody Woodward’s 1988-99 tenure is longer. Other than the 1995 epic season, four winning records in the late 90’s are not well-remembered. Nor is Woodward’s name even noted as a contributor. But any mention of the Mariners this season carries with it an energetic Jack slapping. For the last few seasons Jack has earned plenty of criticism. This season the whining, complaining, and general rock-throwing has continued. But for a change, Jack should NOT be the target.
These 34-41 Mariners are NOT nearly as good as most of us thought they were in March. They probably were never a 95 win threat to sneak through the playoffs. But they are not only at .450 right now, they have been at that level since late April. My guess is that the M;s can “keep it going” and play .500 ball the rest of the way and win around 78 games. To even finish at 82-82 the Mariners must play .540 ball, to win 90 and challenge for a wild card spot 56 more wins are needed, or a 64% clip. Not gonna happen. Why does Jack deserve blame? He doesn’t.
Jack brought in Cruz and Seth Smith to provide a little offensive help. Both have made significant contributions. Problem is almost nobody else has. Ackley hit.245 with 45 extra base hits in 2014. He will not approach that this season. Zunino, Brad Miller, Lomo, Austin Jackson, Trumbo have all been between almost tolerable and awful. Cano has been a big disappointment but is getting more blame than he deserves. Rodney was given way too many opportunities before being moved out of the non-closing closer spot. Seager has nice looking numbers but like the team does not produce well with runners in scoring position.The team is and has been a horrible run scoring bunch, as in a non scoring bunch.
Jack traded Saunders for J.A. Happ and the M’s rotation is propped up by Walker and Happ as Paxton and Iwakuma continue on their endless rehab adventures. The pen has been equal parts good and bad. Smith has looked good but every other outing the pen gives up runs late in games. Manager Lloyd appears to know what he wants to do but unsure of what he really ahs to work with. There is really no reason at all this team should be this bad.
Unless things improve dramatically (they won’t), Jack will most certainly be gone at the end of this season. The irony is, unlike the last three seasons he won’t deserve the flack or the pink slip.