While I continue to root for the Mariners to turn it around this season – I’m resigned to the possibility of another disappointment – made even worse by the higher expectations.
I fully admit that just two months ago, I stood here and praised management for finally investing money into the organization – for finally putting it in a position to win. And the prospect for a turnaround is still there – and arguably greater this season - given the offensive potential in the middle of the Mariners lineup. We’ve seen glimpses, just not nearly enough of them. Foolish or not, I continue to hold out hope.
But call it whatever you like – a curse, an oddity, or what I call an equal combination of front office failures, questionable in-game decisions by management, and a failure to perform by the players themselves – the culture of losing continues to pervade this organization.
And it’s not fair to the fans – especially the most optimistic ones who view their team through the rosiest of colored glasses.
And as much as I respect General Manager Jack Zduriencik as a person, he’s now in his seventh year in Seattle, and the Mariners have had four managers, no playoff appearances, and are a combined 87 games under 500. And as happy as I am that we now have names like Cano, Cruz, Seager and Trumbo – not to mention an incredibly loyal Felix Hernandez…..
….it’s hard not to take a glimpse of the other names we’ve endured during the Jack Z Era. We’ve held out hope that ANY of these players would pan out and make a significant mark while they were here. Instead, this non-exhaustive list – from Milton Bradley to Casey Kotchman to Jesus Montero to Justin Smoak and Mike Morse – represents another reminder of all the failures on his watch.
And if that’s not enough, the “long-term plan” we’ve been promised has been reliant on building through the draft. The farm system might be in a much better place, but the Mariners first-round picks under Zduriencik have been anything but impressive.
Dustin Ackley is batting .197. Nick Franklin was traded. Steven Baron hit a meager 243 in Double-A for most of this year and Taijuan Walker has a 5.80 ERA. Danny Hultzen has been toiling away with injuries for the past couple years, Mike Zunino is a walking strikeout batting 170 and D.J. Peterson is hitting .205 in Double A. These are guys who are supposed to complement the current superstars, and none of them are playing that role.
Whether Zduriencik’s transaction history is worthy of a passing grade is for you to decide. But in my opinion, you could put all the top prospects on the wall and throw darts at them and probably do a better job.
Again, as always, do not mistake my criticism for jumping off the bandwagon – or for not being a fan.
But there’s a lot of blame to pass around the organization right now, and no one – aside from Felix – is immune.
It’s time to get their act together – and fast – and give Mariners fans the winning team they deserve.