Fontaine shown the door

Conor · October 28, 2008 at 1:15 am · Filed Under Mariners 

This is a bummer. Larry Stone reports that Zduriencik fired Mariners scouting director Bob Fontaine yesterday. Looks like a case of having too many cooks in the kitchen and it sounds heavy handed…

One source said that Fontaine was called into a meeting with Zduriencik on Monday and informed that he was being dismissed. According to the source, “He didn’t even have a chance to fight for his job.”

Fontaine reportedly informed his Mariners scouting staff of his dismissal in a voice mail.

In what could be related news, Zduriencik is reportedly brining in two of his scouts from Milwaukee—Tony Blengino (whom Dave linked to the other day) and Tom McNamara.

According to industry sources, the Brewers have agreed to let Zduriencik, who was named Seattle’s GM last Wednesday, hire two members of his Milwaukee scouting staff.

Those are expected to be Blengino and Tom McNamara, Milwaukee’s East Coast crosschecker and the man credited with scouting and signing Prince Fielder. It is not known yet what positions they will hold in Seattle.

Blengino, 44, just finished his third season as assistant scouting director in Milwaukee under Zduriencik. A former certified public accountant, Blengino is a member of the Society of American Baseball Research and has a strong background in statistical analysis.

I understand wanting to have “your guys” underneath you, but I’m not a fan of this move. I know we don’t know who will replace Fontaine, but we do know that he was good at his job. I wish the best of luck to Fontaine in his future endeavors and sincerely hope that Bob Engle doesn’t suffer the same fate.

Bob Fontaine’s drafts with the Mariners brought us…
2004: Matt Tuiasosopo, Rob Johnson, Mark Lowe & Michael Saunders
2005: Jeff Clement & Justin Thomas
2006: Brandon Morrow, Chris Tillman, Tony Butler, Nathan Adcock, Adam Moore & Kam Mickolio
2007: Phillippe Aumont
2008: Dennis Raben, Aaron Pribanic, Brett Lorin, Luke Burnett


140 Responses to “Fontaine shown the door”

  1. BBOneFive on October 28th, 2008 12:18 pm

    TIF, [not a board]

  2. PositivePaul on October 28th, 2008 12:21 pm

    TIF, Isn’t the point of a messageboard to voice ones personal perceptions and opinions?

    Is this a messageboard?


  3. vj on October 28th, 2008 12:25 pm

    [This is not a board]



  4. SeasonTix on October 28th, 2008 12:26 pm

    OK .. I’m really sorry I mentioned that “L” guy .. I didn’t mean to get this thread sidetracked.

  5. joser on October 28th, 2008 12:26 pm

    TIF, Isn’t the point of a messageboard to voice ones personal perceptions and opinions?

    It might be, if this was a messageboard. It isn’t. Since you apparently want a “board” that hosts sloppy thinking, unsupported opinions, and dismissively ignorant inferences about your fellow posters, I suggest you go here.

    Speaking of stupid, can we stop calling him “Jay-Z”?

    There, you and I are in complete agreement.

  6. galaxieboi on October 28th, 2008 12:27 pm

    Paul is totally correct. This isn’t a public forum. This is Dave’s, Derek’s and Conor’s (is Jason still around?) blog. They (and the mods) have always been more than accomodating to those of us when we were super green and just discovered USSM.

    I always try to remember this is their baby and to be polite.

  7. Carson on October 28th, 2008 12:31 pm

    Wow. This is the worst comments thread this side of the Adam Jones trade.

    Do people really think “you weren’t in the room so you can’t know!” is a valid argument? Do they think that makes them right?

    Listen, you don’t have to agree with Dave, Derek, or Conor. Sometimes, I don’t. But this is their blog where they they express their opinions. You are a reader of their blog. They absolutely have the right to tell you when they think you are wrong, and if you want to consider that condescending, well, go away and no one will miss you.

    dave6267 – why do you keep putting an emphasis on the “no doubt” phrase? Are you trying to insinuate that Dave Cameron is really Mike Blowers blogging under cover?

  8. joser on October 28th, 2008 12:33 pm

    people are blowing this move out of proportion simply because they’re incapable of approving any move made by the M’s.

    See, that’s utter crap, and you don’t even have to go back very far in the posts or comments to see that. Unless, of course, you’ve got a preconceived notion of the “people” here and thus are incapable of acknowledging that those “people” have a more nuanced perception of the team’s moves than you want to admit.

  9. BBOneFive on October 28th, 2008 12:39 pm

    Sorry, this is the comments section of a private blog where anyone (public) is able to join and discuss topics in a “forum” type format.

  10. galaxieboi on October 28th, 2008 12:44 pm

    You’re right. And those people can tell public commentors to shut the **** up at any time too.

  11. Wishhiker on October 28th, 2008 12:47 pm

    Fontaine did his job so well (including following the decisions of his GM) that it may have gotten him fired. I think the biggest difference between Zduriencik’s picks and Fontaine’s picks were in the early rounds. The early rounds where players like “L” were skipped by the M’s because of their apparent avoidance of paying over slot for the pick and the same rounds that Bavasi was more likely to have wanted a particular position out of that made the pick the wrong choice in the first place. In the later rounds both Scouting Directors showed the ability to find useful players that other teams weren’t seeing. Those early picks are the most easily notable and I think Bavasi had more involvement in them causing those to be worse than they would have otherwise been. It could be that taking a closer in the first round (and other picks that stunk of Bavasi’s involvement) were reason enough for Zduriencik to say “you’re not needed here.” I really wish that they could have worked together here for years partially because Fontaine will find another job elsewhere and give that advantage to another team.

  12. Jason X USN on October 28th, 2008 12:49 pm

    Listen to some advice from a long time reader and very infrequent poster. Read the blog. Read the comments. Learn.

    If your going to post…..especially if your going to post passionately…..think about what you have learned, and use that knowledge.

    If your going to make a bold claim/statement be prepared to back that claim/statement up with a well thought out response based in fact or intelligent reasoning.

    If I read something Dave, DMZ, or RandomPoster says and disagree with it….the FIRST thing I’m going to do before posting is say “How will said person respond to this? What are some counter arguments to said response?”.

    Maybe that explains why I post so infrequently….

  13. WTF_Ms on October 28th, 2008 1:09 pm

    Jason X USN,

    Good plan….you were trained well.

    If we all had such composure, there’d be no posts.

    I think we should agree to disagree, and move on. This post is getting us nowhere.

  14. Jeff Nye on October 28th, 2008 1:26 pm

    *deep breath*

    Commenting here is a privilege, not a right; and to be frank, I’m getting pretty close to just turning comments off on this post.

    If you’re confused about the standards we expect from commenters here, I’d like to direct you to the comment guidelines and recommend you pay careful attention to the part about “But I want a good fight with hair-pulling and name-calling!”.

    Comment quality has taken a drastic downturn over the last week and a half or so, and while the mods dislike deleting posts, we will if you all can’t abide by a relatively simple set of rules and in particular show a bit more respect towards the authors.

    If your only possible response to some (pretty mild) snark from Dave is to try to out-snark him, a) you’ll lose and b) you’re not contributing to the discussion here.

    Is it a double standard? Absolutely. But it’s not a double standard that’s open for debate.

    (and no, none of this is an invitation to debate me about comment guidelines or moderation policies; posts to that effect will go bye bye)

  15. Broadcast James on October 28th, 2008 1:29 pm


    WOuld have played a lot better as a mutual parting of the ways, and shown a much better adroitness on the part of Zduriencik.

    Well it certainly would have saved us from this ridiculous comment thread….

    I’m guessing this gets no play at all in the media. If anything I’d guess talk radio will say this shows Z is tough, taking charge, and that this shows that the M’s are taking on a bold new direction.

  16. Graham on October 28th, 2008 1:38 pm

    Play nicely, children, or you won’t be allowed to play at all.

  17. pgreyy on October 28th, 2008 1:44 pm

    On one hand, I’m disappointed that a good guy with proven skills is shown the door when we need more good guys with skills, not less…and I’m less than enthused that it was done with such a fell swoop.

    …but, on the other hand, perhaps we have to consider the analogy of how you beat the hell out of the toughest guy in the prison on your first day, so nobody messes with you.

    So, Z doesn’t make his first personnel decision someone who doesn’t matter–but he makes it clear with his first decision that HE’S in charge and that he’ll do what he feels is best.

    And yes, I realize that I’m comparing the role of Mariners GM to that of being in prison.

  18. JMHawkins on October 28th, 2008 1:45 pm

    Allow me to link this move with a worry Derek expressed in a post last week, to wit:

    In many ways, [Zduriencik is] what they wanted but did not get out of Bavasi. He’s a scouting and player development guy, well-respected within baseball

    So, the worry is that the M’s hiring of Zduriencik indicates they think they had the right strategy all along, just the wrong guy (Bavasi) for executing it. By making his first move the replacmeent of Bavasi’s scouting guy with his own scouting guy, Zduriencik reinforces that worry.

    Maybe it’s just a case of him getting his guys. The M’s grade on the Zduriencik hiring is still “Incomplete” but this move doesn’t bump the needle towards the “A+” direction.

  19. gwangung on October 28th, 2008 2:01 pm

    And yes, I realize that I’m comparing the role of Mariners GM to that of being in prison.

    Well…isn’t it?

  20. tomas on October 28th, 2008 2:01 pm

    It’s called The Magoo Effect. Prepare for many more years of Perpetual Mediocrity.

    Is he going to bring over the sausage race too? Maybe he and Chuckie can sponsor a cigar race?

  21. msb on October 28th, 2008 2:11 pm

    so which version of ‘the Magoo effect’ is it that you keep bringing up?

    Stone has an updated version of his piece, and the press release is up.

  22. bakomariner on October 28th, 2008 2:49 pm

    So Stone has Macha as the front runner for manager huh? They could do worse…

  23. BBOneFive on October 28th, 2008 2:52 pm

    So Stone has Macha as the front runner for manager huh? They could do worse…

    The way I read it, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is saying he’s the front-runner for the Brewers job.

  24. Pete Livengood on October 28th, 2008 2:56 pm

    Stone says Macha is the front-runner for the Brewers’ job. He only says he is “likely to be on Zduriencik’s list of managerial candidates for the Mariners’ job,” which isn’t really the same thing as saying he’s a front-runner for the M’s job. For reasons Derek has already detailed, I’d be surprised if the M’s hired a former A’s skipper.

  25. swoodey on October 28th, 2008 3:00 pm

    Hey Bob, on the way out could you take Lee Pelekoudas, Benny Looper and the rest of the old guard with ya?


    Too bad he can’t fire Chuck Armstrong.

  26. bakomariner on October 28th, 2008 3:01 pm

    RE: Macha

    Yep…I read that wrong…

  27. philosofool on October 28th, 2008 3:07 pm

    I’m reminded of Socrates in The Apology where he says that he discovered one group of people in Athens that had knowledge: the craftsmen. Their fault–the reason that they weren’t wise–was that, because they knew about one thing, they believed themselves to have knowledge about a great deal more. There are a lot of people that read and comment on this site that know a lot about baseball statistics and player assessment. But that’s not the same thing as knowing about hiring and firing in a front office. I’m not defending Z, but I am saying that most of us aren’t really in a position to make these criticisms.

    The view that you can somehow assess Zduriencik’s managerial style from this one decision is about as silly as projecting a baseball team on the basis of their first series in a season.

    Do any of you personally know Fontaine or Blengino in a professional capacity? have you seen their resumes? How many of their professional decisions can you name? Do you know how well they get along with Jack Zduriencik? Baring the right sorts of answers to these question, you are not only ill-poised to assess Z’s managerial style, you aren’t even in a position to assess this particular move.

    I’m not saying that the conclusions being reached here are wrong, but I don’t feel that I’m seeing anything like convincing reasons for accepting them. We are too far from the day-to-day workings of this organization (or any professional baseball organization) to make these judgments.

  28. Mariner Melee on October 28th, 2008 3:40 pm

    [deleted, meta, name-calling]

  29. Typical Idiot Fan on October 28th, 2008 4:04 pm

    The club announced later in the day that two other longtime Seattle employees, Lee Pelekoudas and Bob Engle, will remain with the Mariners.

    Reaction while reading that line:


  30. msb on October 28th, 2008 4:15 pm

    you know Lee isn’t going anywhere until he is ready for his Official Mariner Gold Watch.

  31. eponymous coward on October 28th, 2008 4:32 pm

    OK, so Engle gets kept, good.

    Lee P, meh, don’t care very much one way or the other (as long as he’s not the GM). If Z needs someone to help with the waiver rules and contracts, fine.

  32. jwgrandsalami on October 28th, 2008 5:02 pm

    I’ve got no problem with sacking Fontaine (and the retention of Engle), but I am disappointed that Pelekoudas isn’t getting fired. I guess Jack decided he wanted to keep the guy around who “knows where the bodies are buried”. Hopefully Lee will get the ax once Zduriencik realizes that he’s below replacement level at making coffee…

  33. qwerty on October 28th, 2008 5:19 pm

    Found this quote of the day online. Thought is was timely:

    “Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordy evidence of the fact.” – George Eliot

  34. CC03 on October 28th, 2008 5:23 pm

    I’m totally fine with this move. Z-man is a proven scouting evaluator that has picked a lot of good ones. I trust him when it comes to his specialty – the scouting department.

    Fontained was good but this decision won’t make or break the franchise. When it comes to making decisions on players I trust Z-man’s decisions as much as Fontaine, if not more.

  35. msb on October 28th, 2008 6:24 pm

    Hickey has quotes from Fontaine’s conference call

  36. jayzlvr on October 28th, 2008 7:27 pm

    Unfortunate for Fontaine but a necessary step for JayZ to put a stamp on his team. Clearly Jack had his guys in mind with the move and cherry picked his lieutenants to come aboard.

    Good news that LP and Engle are staying on-potential areas where the org had potential exposure with the new regime.

    Judgement day will be coming-my final grade on this move will come shortly after draft day this summer.

  37. terry on October 28th, 2008 8:58 pm

    As initial moves go, I have to say this was a curious purge.

  38. gwangung on October 28th, 2008 10:02 pm

    As initial moves go, I have to say this was a curious purge.

    More so HOW it came down than WHAT came down.

  39. mkd on October 28th, 2008 10:20 pm

    winning solves a lot of chemistry issues

  40. Madison Mariner on October 29th, 2008 12:53 am

    Just read the news and I have to say that it took me by surprise–not that I thought it couldn’t happen, but I was convinced that one of Lee Pelekoudas or Benny Looper would be shown the door first.

    Then again, it may be a condition given to Big Z that those 2 stay on in their current roles(or, at least some role) and can’t be removed.

    Which would be somewhat of a disappointment to me, as I think some, if not all of the “old guard” needs to go for a decent rebuilding to take place. Of course, the fact that Chuck Armstrong still has his job means a true rebuild(in my estimation) can’t happen.

    Ahh, well. Good luck to Bob Fontaine–although I’m sure he’ll catch on with another team fairly quickly. 🙂

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