In the midst of one of the most disappointing seasons in what has been a string of disappointing seasons for the Mariners' franchise, the team announced this morning that they have relieved General Manager Jack Zduriencik of his duties with the ballclub.
Mariners President and CEO Kevin Mather said this in a statement from the team:
"We have reached the point when change of leadership of our baseball operations is needed for the Seattle Mariners to reach our goal of winning championships. We are very disappointed with the results this season, and are not satisfied with the current operation. The search for a permanent general manager will begin immediately, and while there is no deadline, we expect to have a new GM in place as soon as practical. We have great respect for Jack and his work ethic. He was an excellent representative of the Mariners both within the game of baseball and in the community. On behalf of the entire organization, I wish him and (his wife) Debbie all the best, and thank him for all his efforts."
The eighth full-time General Manager in franchise history for Seattle, Zduriencik had been at the Mariners' helm since his hiring in October of 2008 when he replaced the much maligned Bill Bavasi. After a number of keen early moves garnered him the nickname of "Trader Jack" among the fanbase, many of the most vocal fans of the team and those prominent voices throughout the game on social media had soured greatly on Z. Prior to this year, he was once again looked at favorably as the M's added Nelson Cruz and others to boost their roster and build on an 87-win campaign in 2014. But while the revamped roster led most experts to pick the club among the top five or six teams in the Major Leagues heading into spring training, this year's team fell flat early and now many have been complaining of the construction of that same roster for months.
Having added Cruz and Robinson Cano the past two offseasons, the major league roster is stronger in terms of talent than it has been for years. But many feel that the minor league system -- the thing that Zduriencik was most valued for based on his work in Milwaukee prior to coming to Seattle -- has failed to consistently produce the supporting talent being turned out by other clubs. Indeed, the Mariners haven't seen the best results from their top picks in Zduriencik's tenure: Dustin Ackley, Nick Franklin, Steve Baron, Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen, Mike Zunino, D.J. Peterson and Alex Jackson.
The Mariners said that the search for a new GM will begin immediately and that they will have a new person in the position, "as soon as practical". Assistant GM Jeff Kingston -- who has held that position since 2009 -- will act as the club's GM in the interim.
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