Welcome To The Zduriencik Era
The M’s have chosen Jack Zduriencik as their new GM. Despite the fact that he’s the oldest of the candidates interviewed and comes with a scouting background, do not assume that this is just more of the same. Zduriencik has been the best regarded scouting director in baseball for the last few years, and the work he did in building the Brewers through the draft was legendary. If you want to know why the Brewers were in the playoffs this year, it’s because Zduriencik hit home run after home run in the draft. This is a good hire.
Now, Jack Z isn’t exactly the new school analytical type we were all hoping for. His strengths are all scouting based, and he won’t be the kind of guy to come in and turn the Mariners into the next Oakland/Cleveland/Boston/Tampa Bay. With Engle, Fontaine, and now Zduriencik, the Mariners are clearly going to try to win with the Atlanta/Minnesota/Anaheim method of just outscouting everyone else on earth and developing so much good talent from within that they can’t help but be competitive.
Guess what? It can work. It’s not the best possible path, but it’s not doomed for failure, either. If Zduriencik can prove to be as adept at evaluating major league talent as he has been at amateur talent, and the M’s commit to a development pipeline that enables the team to grow a roster of homemade all-stars, they could line themselves up to be a very good team.
If they want to be a great team, they should not stop with Z, but hire a strong analytical department to supplement the scouting strength at the top of the front office. The two can work together, but there has to be a real effort on the M’s part here. If they stop with Zduriencik, it’s not enough – if they let him build a good organization with strong analysts surrounding the Big Three scouting types, this could be a player development machine.
Let’s hope for the best. Welcome to Seattle, Z.