Dave · July 11, 2009 at 10:51 am · Filed Under Mariners 

At this point, I’m not sure what I have to add. While I was driving to the middle of nowhere, Jack Zduriencik managed to cure cancer, end world poverty, and bring peace to the middle east. Okay, that’s not true, but trading Yuniesky Betancourt for two interesting pitching prospects, while only paying a portion of what Yuni is owed the next few years, was about as impressive and just as deserving of an award.

Seriously, this is the trade we’ve been on the other end of for the last 5 years. This is Horacio Ramirez for Rafael Soriano, only we’re getting the guy with the live arm and dumping the worthless guy who makes too much money. Yuniesky Betancourt was one of the biggest problems on the Mariners roster, and the team not only managed to make him go away, they actually got value in return for him. No word on the truth of the report that Zduriencik announced the trade while walking on water, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

The Mariners might not make the playoffs this year, but if you needed any more evidence that the team is now being run by people who get it – unequivocally, totally, and completely get it – then you’re just beyond convincing. The Mariners didn’t hit a home run when they hired Zduriencik – they hosted a home run derby that just gives us home run after home run on into perpetuity.

This is what hope feels like. Problems will be recognized and fixed. Bad players will be removed, and whether through magic or getting other GMs intoxicated or however he does it, our GM will swindle other franchises out of talented players in order to build a roster that is going to win now and win later.

The Mariners are now one of the very best run teams in baseball. Everyone involved deserves a parade. This is so much fun.


40 Responses to “Yay”

  1. wabbles on July 11th, 2009 11:04 am

    So with no more world poverty, what does that mean for ticket prices?
    This trade reminds me of dumping Bobby Ayala for a Class A pitcher just before the 1999 season. Except we got more in this case, a lot more. In both cases, it was time for the time for the player and team to part ways if either wanted to grow. Change of scenery is cliche but I hope it helps Yuni and I hope we see those pitchers in at least Tacoma soon. Sounds like we may have replaced Mickolio (or however it’s spelled, the guy in the Bedard trade) in the organization.

  2. profmac on July 11th, 2009 11:06 am

    I wish you could write something that is perhaps a little more optimistic. 😉

    Dave, you talked about the Mariners getting JJ Hardy yesterday with Brock and Salk (sp*), but haven’t mentioned him as a possiblity anywhere else. What do you think it’d take to get him, and how likely do you think Chuck Z is to be able to swing a deal like that?

  3. Joe on July 11th, 2009 11:16 am

    I agree. Of course nobody is perfect, and nobody can predict the future — there are going to be trades where the underperforming guy the M’s got rid of turns it around with his new team(change of scenery, new coaching, or just maturity / realizing he’s running out of rope) or a guy they acquire gets hurt or otherwise collapses. Those things happen to all GMs, good and bad, and they shouldn’t change how we view the front office. The point is that this organization is now making rational decisions based on (all of) the best available knowledge (with the occasional slight marketing detour, like signing Griffey, because after all this is a business). That’s a huge change.

    A long time ago I said that as much as I hated the A’s being better I hated even more that they were smarter — I can accept losing but not feeling stupid — and now that’s no longer the case. (And, with the collapse of their stadium deal, the Mariners are richer too… heh, heh). Of course now we have the Angels and (maybe) Rangers to worry about, but just spending my baseball life not dreading the trading deadline, or the offseason, or any “deal” news whatsoever, is so nice. In fact, I now look forward to it.

    What is that strange feeling? What was that name Dave gave it? Oh, right: “hope.”

  4. Joe on July 11th, 2009 11:19 am

    I wish you could write something that is perhaps a little more optimistic.

    Yeah, the negativity for which this site is so frequently derided is on full display here. Clearly you just want the team to fail. The bees must be fed. More ponies! (Wait, I think they’re all in KC now, where they’re needed and hopefully appreciated)

  5. Jeff Nye on July 11th, 2009 11:24 am

    I was a little worried when Zduriencik was first hired; I wasn’t sure if he’d be as progressive as we wanted the next GM to be. There were other more stats-oriented candidates like Ng and Antonetti that I was rooting for pretty hard (even though Antonetti was probably never really in the running).

    Boy, was I wrong. What we’ve gotten with Zduriencik is someone who can take the best of BOTH worlds, scouting and stats, and use them both to build a sustainably successful team. He’s awesome, and between this trade and the Putz trade, I couldn’t be happier with the moves he’s made so far this season.

  6. coasty141 on July 11th, 2009 11:41 am

    Dave, Two weeks or so ago you wrote “hurry back Yuni” suggesting the M’s are better off with Yuni in the lineup. Are you still of the belief that the M’s are worse off for remainder of the year without Yuni?

  7. Breadbaker on July 11th, 2009 11:45 am

    What I like is that Wak gave Yuni every opportunity to improve, every opportunity to get with the program, every opportunity to become part of the team. This wasn’t a “doghouse” situation, it was a situation where the player simply refused to do what was necessary to turn himself into a productive player. To then turn around and actually get something for him, when the whole league (other than Kansas City, thank you Drayton Moore) knew he was useless goods, is wonderful. But I really appreciate the approach where a player is given the chance to improve. Wak did the same think with Balentien until he couldn’t stand what he was doing anymore.

  8. diderot on July 11th, 2009 11:49 am

    While we’re on this sweet optimistic roll, may I also point out that currently Guti has exactly the same WAR as Ryan Braun?

  9. brian_sun on July 11th, 2009 12:06 pm

    As bad as this move was for KC, Omar Minaya one upped Drayton Moore yesterday by trading Ryan Church + cash for Jeff Francouer. And he said Jeff Francouer is one of the BEST defensive RF in the game is a big reason to make that trade. I don’t know about that statement. Francouer used to be good in defense, but the last season and a half, he’s been below average. Couple that with a -25 runs offensively over a full season, Francouer might just be the worst regular in MLB. Well, at least Betancourt has Jose Guillen kick him into shape, the stubborn Jeff Francouer will just continue to hack away in the big apple. The Mets are even a worse franchise than the Royals.

  10. insidetheparker on July 11th, 2009 12:07 pm

    What happens when Zduriencik regresses to the mean? His level of awesomeness seems unsustainable…

  11. Spanky on July 11th, 2009 12:17 pm

    [no politics]

  12. kmsandrbs on July 11th, 2009 12:41 pm

    Stop it already! See, when y’all pointed out all the issues the M’s had, it was easier, as a fan, to take their losing.

    Now that I’m getting all hopeful and optimistic and stuff, losing is going to be much harder to take.


  13. Bilbo on July 11th, 2009 12:50 pm

    On a plane leaving for STL sitting next to Jack Z! Just asked him if he was surprised to get something for Yuni and he just smiled! I wonder if stl is his final destination?

  14. Lauren, token chick on July 11th, 2009 12:51 pm

    No way, really Bilbo? Nice placement of a USSM operative, folks.

  15. Bilbo on July 11th, 2009 12:57 pm


  16. Joe on July 11th, 2009 1:05 pm

    Hmmm, either Mr Zduriencik is frugal with his employers’ money or our Mr Bilbo doesn’t sit in the back of the plane with the hoi polloi.

    I wonder if stl is his final destination?

    It’s the site of the ASG, and I expect a lot of other GMs are headed there too. Probably the best place to be for the wheelin’ and dealin’

  17. monty1077 on July 11th, 2009 1:06 pm

    Ya know for all the years I’ve been a fan. (Since 04, the year after the team’s last decent year.) This is the 1st time when I have hope for the future.

    Go Jack Z. Keep up the good worK.

  18. Bilbo on July 11th, 2009 1:06 pm

    Nelly is sitting in front of us. BIG bodyguard!

  19. Bilbo on July 11th, 2009 1:07 pm

    Weird flight but that makes sense about STL

  20. Joe on July 11th, 2009 1:23 pm

    Dave, Two weeks or so ago you wrote “hurry back Yuni” suggesting the M’s are better off with Yuni in the lineup. Are you still of the belief that the M’s are worse off for remainder of the year without Yuni?

    That was before Beltre went on the DL for a couple of months or more, and the team is definitely worse off without him. Since then, Dave has written Why the Mariners Should Not Trade for a Third Baseman and suggested SS as the position to upgrade instead (“That’s the real hole – shortstop….Replace Woodward, yes, but replace him with a shortstop.”) Situations change, sometimes quickly, and people (and organizations) have to react (also sometimes quickly). And I expect parting ways with Yuni was just the first step: there’s (at least) one more shoe to drop here, though it may not be until later in the month.

    (And on that note, this series with Texas is just brutally high-stakes for early July….)

  21. hob on July 11th, 2009 1:31 pm

    Jack Hannahan to the M’s

  22. dirk on July 11th, 2009 1:34 pm

    Left handed 3rd baseman that can pick it…I think he did cure cancer.

    Welcome Hannahan!

  23. BobbyRoberto on July 11th, 2009 1:37 pm

    I don’t know if this has been linked elsewhere in the talk of the Yuni trade, but it’s a great write-up from Joe Posnanski about the trade from a Royals’ fan point-of-view.

  24. BobbyRoberto on July 11th, 2009 1:38 pm

    Ooops, forgot the link:

    Joe Posnanski

  25. Joe on July 11th, 2009 1:38 pm

    may I also point out that currently Guti has exactly the same WAR as Ryan Braun?

    That’s so awesome. Though not as awesome as the Gutier-show is himself. Other notable names below Franklin on the WAR list: Youklis, Torii Hunter, Kinsler, Cameron, Morneau, Aaron Hill, Figgins, Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Casey Blake, Pedroia, David Wright, Freddy Sanchez, Teixeira, Granderson, Victorino, Bay, and Howard…. most of whom are going to the ASG, sigh. Ok, so the rest of baseball mostly hasn’t figured it out yet, but for when it does: Gutierrez is ours and you can’t have him!

    (Well, unless somebody offers a Bedard-like deal, I guess)

  26. San Diego Mariner Fan on July 11th, 2009 1:40 pm

    Looks like we might have a platoon at 3rd…

    2008 splits
    vs Lefty 557 OPS
    vs Righty 676 OPS

    Not bad… gives us a lefty when facing right handers… still not much of a bat but a nice glove..

  27. Joe on July 11th, 2009 1:43 pm

    Scoop! Scoop! Bilbo can get a comment from Zduriencik ahead of any of the working press, heh.

    Jack Hannahan to the M’s

    Well, from what we saw of him earlier in the season he’s no Beltre. But it’s a nice piece to add to the system (and all it cost was Justin Souza…. who? — which tells you all you need to know about the impact of this deal)

  28. Tek Jansen on July 11th, 2009 1:49 pm

    I suppose that it is ok to comment on Hannahan in a post about Zduriencik’s skills at acquiring and evaluating players.

    Hannahan seems like a more valuable player than Yuni. The M’s gave up less to get Hannahan than the Royals gave up to get Yuni. Good job . . . by Zduriencik, not the Royals.

  29. TomTuttle on July 11th, 2009 2:05 pm

    I like this latest move by Z, low risk and a possible high reward.

    Go Z Go!

  30. Joe on July 11th, 2009 2:19 pm

    You know the joke about the poor student who flunks out of a good school and then enrolls in a much worse one, and in so doing raises the average GPA at both institutions? I think Yuni is that guy. Over in the comments at the Posnanski post (great read, thanks for the link) there’s a comment that goes

    We need a short stop.

    He has had 3 full years in thw MLB in the past. (150+ Games 500+ At Bats)
    He hit .279, .289, and .289.

    Those may not be Derek Jeter numbers, but they can sure as hell help the Royals now. Even at his .250 currently, thats higher than our entire bench and half of our every day lineup. We need somebody.

    Now, of course batting average is no way to evaluate a player. But it’s a measure of how bad the Royals are that Yuni might actually be an upgrade for them. That “We need a short stop…. We need somebody.” is just so very, very sad. As we all know, the M’s have been bad in the recent past, very bad, and have a long history of badness behind them — without even a World Series appearance (let alone a victory) to brighten the gloom, just “The Double” — but the situation for Royals fans right now is just so grim (and will remain so as long as their team’s decision-making leads them to “answers” like Betancourt). For those fans’ sake I must remember to not make too much fun of the Royals, even as they do comical things like hiring HoRam and Willie and now Yuni.

  31. JerBear on July 11th, 2009 2:20 pm

    What a difference a year makes, eh? In my wildest dreams, I never thought I would be this excited over the direction of the team and have this much faith in the guys running it… It’s just crazy what a 180 we’ve seen. Keep it up!!!

    Also, Bilbo, you are a lucky summabitch. Get Zduriencik’s autograph and bring us some intel!!!

  32. stevie_j13 on July 11th, 2009 2:34 pm

    I just want to give some props to Lincoln and Armstrong. After a series of disasterous moves, they finally got it right. Not only did they get it right, but Z wasn’t on anyone’s radar during the GM search. Now, I am not sure anyone would argue that the M’s could have done better. It is unfortunate that we had to suffer through the Bavasi era before Lincoln and Armstrong changed course, but these are the guys that are now hosting that home run derby. Good work, guys.

  33. Joe on July 11th, 2009 2:58 pm

    Yeah, it may be blind squirrels and nut, but nut they did (eventually) find so credit they get.

  34. Bilbo on July 11th, 2009 4:43 pm

    Just landed. Post coming soon. GREAT guy

  35. msb on July 11th, 2009 5:22 pm

    Nelly is sitting in front of us. BIG bodyguard!

    I read this, and immediately thought Nelly=Jeff Nelson, and ‘of course he’s big’ ….

  36. SeasonTix on July 11th, 2009 10:49 pm

    One thing occurred to me today …

    In the past, good players used to come to Seattle and suck.

    Former .300 hitters suddenly couldn’t break the Mondoza line.

    Former good pitchers would lose their touch in Seattle.

    And all the while, Bavasi overpaid for their disappearing talent.

    Jack Z has done the exact opposite.

    He gets guys on the cheap who exceed their previous performance level, such as D.A. and Branyan.

    It’s nice to know that Seattle is NOT a black hole for talent after all! Players can actually come to the Mariners and IMPROVE.

  37. Joe on July 11th, 2009 11:13 pm

    I read this, and immediately thought Nelly=Jeff Nelson, and ‘of course he’s big’ ….

    Until I read that, I was still thinking “Jeff Nelson”

    Right, there’s that other “Nelly” who, like, raps and sh*t. Oh, and Furtado, too, I guess.

  38. Hendo on July 12th, 2009 5:13 am

    Congratulations… swift karmic justice for a team whose previous GM was getting robbed blind by sharp operators like Andy MacPhail.

    Actually I wonder if MacPhail and Zduriencik are actually the same person? Don’t laugh. You’ve never seen the two of them in the same room, have you? So there. 8^)

  39. The Ancient Mariner on July 12th, 2009 7:04 am

    Joe’s not the only one. (Though I did wonder why Jeff Nelson had gone to work as Zduriencik’s bodyguard . . . maybe to beat off enraged GMs of other teams. 🙂 )

  40. Marinerz51 on July 12th, 2009 6:12 pm

    [useless pessimism + ridiculous rosterbation = no]

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