In some ways the Mariners made it easier on GM Jack Zduriencik with blowout losses to Cleveland in three straight home games, plus the first game of the Toronto series. Now 8 games back, the team had given the GM an out if he decided to become a ‘seller’ – to trade mature talent on the team for prospects or young players with good upside, and build for the future.
That’s not what has happened, though. Zduriencik managed to improve the team for next year while at the same time coming very near to holding his own for this season. First, he managed to pick up Jack Wilson from the Pirates, where he’s been an excellent fielding shortstop with respectable offensive production to boot. Much as I like Ronnie Cedeno (his attitude and effort, but not so much the batting average that makes the Mendoza line seem lofty), the player Zduriencik traded along with three lower minor league pitchers and Jeff Clement, Wilson is a better shortstop and a career .270 hitter, and will make the M’s better when he walks on the diamond. From the Mariners point of view, Clement has been a man without a home since he injured his knee and Adam Moore’s star has risen as the M’s catcher of the future.
He has moved Betancourt – an undisciplined player at the plate and in the field – as well as Vladimir Balentien, who has yet to become the sort of hitter the Mariners had hoped for, and certainly not the sort that justifies keeping his mediocre-at-best glove in the lineup. And when he traded Washburn – knowing that even if Wash wanted to re-sign, with Scot Boas as his agent it is likely he’d still go on the market as a free agent – he managed to bring in both an excellent pitching prospect for the future and a good pitcher to step into the rotation and burn some innings this season.
In every trade thus far, the Mariners new GM has managed to both improve the club for the future AND keep the team competitive this season. And, though I hate to pile on, beat a dead horse, etc., I am compelled to point out that the Mariners prior GM seldom managed to do either – let alone both.
Mariners Players Traded Players Received
Jarrod Washburn Luke French
Vladimir Balentien Robert Manuel
Ronny Cedeno, Jeff Clement, Jack Wilson
Aaron Pribanic, Brett Lorin, Ian Snell
Isn’t it refreshing to feel that the team is getting better for the future, and still competitive for today?