Ichiro and Mariners Contemplate Self-Inflicted Face Punches in Cleveland

These are the tough times for a guy like me, and many people I consider really good writers in the Seattle blogosphere to be Mariners fans.

It’s not because the team is losing, rather, it is because people with a false sense of entitlement, and fabricated knowledge of organizational standards are using this year as evidence that Jack Zduriencik should be fired. They’re using simple win-loss record to qualify his performance. They aren’t using any information that relates to Zduriencik’s goals as a GM to qualify success or failure, goals that presumably the organization is on board with.

Here’s a quote from a piece by Bob Nightengale in 2008 on the hiring of Jack Zduriencik.

“No matter who becomes manager, Zduriencik plans to overhaul the organization. It might not take 15 years to have a winning record like it took the Brewers from 1993-2007, but they aren’t about to go for the quick fix, a philosophy that has doomed the Mariners in recent years. The Mariners have had only one winning season in the last five years after averaging 98 victories from 2000 to 2003.”

The Mariners haven’t signed a bunch of big name free agents since Jack Zduriencik took over. In his four years he’s spent one-fifth the amount of free agent dollars.

Jack Zduriencik took over a team that had a bunch of overpaid, aging albatrosses, and one of the worst farm systems in baseball. He’s been given an average of less than $15 million to spend in free agency, all while losing veteran players in the process. Zduriencik has been given limited resources, and has flipped several lesser assets for better ones. He’s among the best GMs in Mariners history, and only moderate postseason success could keep him behind Woody Woodward and Pat Gillick. The next very good Mariners team will be filled with guys he brought into the organization. His plan is painful, but that pain would all be erased by extended success. Let’s endure it and allow process take its course instead of bitching and moaning like a bunch of 11 year olds that don’t get home in time to watch Pokemon anymore, only the pretend we never felt that way three years later.

Ahh, catharsis.

The Mariners got beat by the Indians today. Hector Noesi pitched really well, and in the ultimate show of flattery, the Mariners bullpen treated him the same way they treat Felix Hernandez, one of the best pitchers in the game. They blew it.

All along I believe the plan to acquire Brandon League has been with the combined intention to flip him at some deadline, some time. That didn’t happen last year. Not only are closers worth less this year because of the draft-pick compensation guidelines in the newest CBA, but League has been inconsistent to say the least so far this season. He still possesses a 3.12 ERA, for what that’s worth, and was very successful last year, but unless some team is willing to overpay for the benefit of the doubt they are willing to give Brandon League, it appears the Mariners may have missed the boat on trading him.

Justin Smoak hit two more singles today. Justin Smoak is a work in progress, and while I love seeing him break out of his unlucky funk, I’d like to see more line drives to the gaps in the outfield than line drives that find a hole in the infield. But whatever, Smoak is playing better than he was a week ago, if you’d told me that would be the case a week ago, I’d have taken it, no matter how small an increment his improvement was.

Hector Noesi threw 6.1 innings and struck out five. He walked three, and his walks are becoming a consistent concern as he’s a guy who will butter his bread with command of all his pitches. But he also missed 10 bats today. Hector Noesi was somehow worse today than I’d expect, but his results, especially his end results, were infinitely better than I’d hope for. Hector Noesi is a fly ball pitcher, it appears, and we’ll ride the same roller coaster with him as we did with a younger Felix or like we presently do with Jason Vargas, where he’ll turn in both brilliant and horrific starts with varying results back to back. I like that Eric Wedge keeps giving him the ball every fifth day, which is about the best thing I have to say about Eric Wedge.

These early morning starts are kind of a killer. I feel like when I watch games on DVR or on replay I’m completely disengaged from the actual happenings of the game. I listened to the game at work, but I mean, no way is the radio team as good as the TV team, and the medium of communication? Not even fair.

Tomorrow the Mariners start interleague play at Safeco against the Rockies. Most don’t know this, but Sean Kramer’s second team is the Colorado Rockies. So fuck Sean tomorrow. I don’t mean that literally, ladies.

  • Anonymous

    I’m with you on JZ, he’s a damn good GM, he’s brought in a lot of talent for not a lot money but he doesn’t manage the team or catch or hit balls or pitch.  When those players who are going to stick learn how to be big leaguers and the manager learns how to use them appropriately we will have a team to be proud of.  It just don’t look like it’s going to happen this year or maybe never for some people on the 40-man and 25-man rosters currently.  But some of them are going to be good and maybe even elite, they just won’t be named Figgins or Millwood.