The Kyle Blanks Opinion Test

Jeff Sullivan · July 29, 2013 at 8:15 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Shortly after the Jack Zduriencik front office took over the Mariners, they were pretty universally beloved. I remember stories that Zduriencik was getting recognized on the street, so we’re going beyond even just blogosphere adoration. Since then, opinions have changed. Some people still love the executives in charge, but some other people are frustrated, and still others yet are worse. Some remain rosy; some feel that old familiar cynicism. At least, no longer does it feel so clear that these are the right people to guide the Mariners to where we want them to be. That’s something I can imagine debating, whereas a few years ago I felt all kinds of certain. It seems to me the front office has taken a turn.

How is it that you feel about the front office? You, specifically you, the individual reader. Do you still feel generally positive about things, or are you beyond ready to see someone else assume complete authority? To help you answer this question, I’ve devised the Kyle Blanks Opinion Test. Consider the following rumor tweet, from the absolutely delightful Ken Rosenthal:

Which is closer to your feelings on the subject?

(1) Good for the Mariners, targeting a potentially undervalued player who’s hit well in the minors and who possesses a bunch of power. Injuries might have held back Blanks’ development and he could conceivably fill a variety of roles.

(2) Typical Mariners, blinded by power despite everything else. Blanks can’t stay healthy, he doesn’t really walk, he doesn’t really make contact, and he’s hardly known for his mobility. Just more focus on dingers instead of value.

If your answer is (1), you are still mostly a fan of the Zduriencik front office. It’s not that you think of it as flawless, but you can take the bad so long as you get the good. If your answer is (2), you are probably wondering right now about other potential GM candidates. You’re worried that a strong second half might save Zduriencik’s job, when what you really want is other people making decisions. You don’t trust these people anymore.

Thank you for taking the Kyle Blanks Opinion Test, and I hope that you’ve learned something about yourself. As an alternative to the Kyle Blanks Opinion Test, if you want to know how you personally feel about the Mariners’ front office these days, you could just think about that question directly.

Comments

67 Responses to “The Kyle Blanks Opinion Test”

  1. Westside guy on July 29th, 2013 8:27 pm

    When I read that a couple days ago, my immediate reaction was “of COURSE they’re looking at another 1B/DH type – they’ve still got 20 spots on the roster that aren’t yet filled with one!”

    So that might even qualify as #3.

  2. Logan Davis on July 29th, 2013 8:31 pm

    But, but, not fair! Trick question! Where’s my “all of the above” option? What does it say about me if my answer is 1 AND 2?

    I mean, all of those things are true. Blanks is potentially undervalued and hit well in the minors and possesses a lot of power, and he also doesn’t walk or make contact or run fast or stay healthy.

    I feel conflicted! I blame you, Jeff Sullivan, for my inner turmoil! Why can’t you just tell me how I should feel about things?

    :<

  3. Dennisss on July 29th, 2013 8:31 pm

    The indirect answer is this: I lean toward number 2 without really knowing, because I have lost faith in the front office.

    More directly, I can’t get over getting Ibanez, Morse and Bay to play the outfield, and adding them to a team with Morales, Smoak, and Montero. Those players have done about as well as expected, or better (yes you Raul), and it hasn’t worked. The young players are finally paying off, but I doubt Zduriencik’s decision-making when it comes to the major league roster.

  4. Eastside Crank on July 29th, 2013 8:34 pm

    I am too used to every day being opposite day with the current regime. You need fleet, defensive minded outfielders? We will give you outfielders who point to where the ball went but who will swing mightily at all pitches. You play in a park that is death to sluggers? We will give you one tool players who are sluggers. You play in a town filled with stats geeks who calculate the percentages of all possible outcomes with each pitch? We will give you an old school manager who makes his decisions based on instinct. The bottom line is: no, I do not want the current GM making any more trades.

  5. stevemotivateir on July 29th, 2013 8:48 pm

    To be honest, I knew where that was going immediately. Still enjoyed it, though;)

  6. MT on July 29th, 2013 8:59 pm

    I chose 1, because I still believe in this FO.

    Maybe I’m broken from all the bad decisions during the Bavasi era, but I don’t see the lack of faith towards this FO, and I still generally trust their decision making.

    I actually see some kind of logic in their decisions of loading up on DH/1B types this year.

    The FO probably saw that it was unlikely that they would contend (or win much) this year, so they tried to add some excitement to the team. What do people get excited about most apart from wins? Dingers.

    Also, which players generally have the most trade value at the trading deadline? This is just my impression, but it’s the players that hit, not the players that defend well.

    The team signed these players to short term deals, so that they could trade them or get rid of them at the end of the year if they don’t work out. They’re purely stop gap players. I can’t understand what all the frustration is about getting stop gap players during a year where we won’t contend.

    Right now the team is almost at the end of their rebuilding stages, so the team tried to bridge this final gap with short term rentals.

    Also, there’s no problem in trying these cheap gambles like Kyle Blanks. These players usually have huge upside compared to the low downside, low upside defense only players.

    Next year, and the year after is when I think we will truly see this team’s ability to judge major league talent.

    Up to this point, they either had no money because of low attendance or they couldn’t attract good players because of the location of Seattle in the PNW or all the losing.

    Now that the team looks like it has the necessary parts to start contending is when we will truly see whether the FO can properly evaluate players.

    We’ve waited since 2004 or so. Give it 1-2 more years. We’re almost there.

  7. Typical Idiot Fan on July 29th, 2013 9:20 pm

    The answer is:

    (3) Rosenthal is full of shit and this is a bogus rumor that has a Mariners top scout scouting someone who is on the fucking disabled list and not playing.

  8. The_Waco_Kid on July 29th, 2013 9:31 pm

    I was ambivalent on Blanks, kind of resigned to him. I’m ambivalent on Z, kind of resigned to him, so the test works!

    Typical Idiot Fan, we need to make a test to determine if members of the national sports press are good at their jobs.

  9. Kazinski on July 29th, 2013 9:38 pm

    1.

    What’s not to like about Blanks? He is young, plays league average defense in Right and Left field, and is under team control through 2015.

    The Mariners have precisely two outfielders with MLB experience under contract next year. Here are those two and Blanks:

    Player A: 242PA .256/.318/.425
    Player B: 297PA .229/.311/.376
    Player C: 253PA .216/.275/.273

    Seems to me that what the Mariners should be looking for is young cost controlled OF’s under team control for a few years. Of course the question is what should we pay for Blanks. If its someone like a mid level MLB reliever like Perez, or a middle tier prospect, or even a former top tier prospect like Montero, then I would say it would be worth the price. Throw in Jason Bay too. Throw Mike Morse too. I don’t care. And Endy Chavez. None of them are worth a bag of balls. We’d still have 3 outfielders and Ibanez. And Ryan for emergencies.

    Player A is Blanks, B is Saunders, C is Ackley.

  10. bfgboy on July 29th, 2013 9:43 pm

    3) Combine the monster strikeout totals of Carlos Peguero with the brittle nature of Mike Morse…creatively filling two specific Mariner-needs with one 40-man roster spot! Way to go Z!

    Next up, Joe Blanton! The ability to lose 20 games AND give up the most home runs with two outs!

  11. stevemotivateir on July 29th, 2013 9:47 pm

    Wow.

    The FO probably saw that it was unlikely that they would contend (or win much) this year, so they tried to add some excitement to the team. What do people get excited about most apart from wins? Dingers.

    If people are excited about dingers, why isn’t attendance significantly higher?

    The team signed these players to short term deals, so that they could trade them or get rid of them at the end of the year if they don’t work out. They’re purely stop gap players. I can’t understand what all the frustration is about getting stop gap players during a year where we won’t contend.

    First, DH/1B types rarely have much trade value, and that especially holds true if they’re all on the same team!

    Second, going after stop-gap players is fine if you have young talent near-ready. The M’s didn’t have that in the outfield. They still don’t. And the argument would be that if they had solid outfielders, they might have stood a chance at competing. They’ll have to go through the same thing again, given all the expiring contracts.

    Right now the team is almost at the end of their rebuilding stages, so the team tried to bridge this final gap with short term rentals.

    Bridge to who or where? Almonte? Peguero? Romero? I like Romero, but he’s far from a lock.

    Also, there’s no problem in trying these cheap gambles like Kyle Blanks. These players usually have huge upside compared to the low downside, low upside defense only players.

    Think of it as buying a scratch ticket. Sure, you can get lucky. But lucky enough? If you have the dough, do the job right and leave the gambling for recreation. Chasing unproven minor league talent with legitimate areas of concern, isn’t a great way to plan for the season ahead if you wish to compete.

    Next year, and the year after is when I think we will truly see this team’s ability to judge major league talent.

    Right, just like they did in 2010, when they appeared poised to take a huge step forward?

    Up to this point, they either had no money because of low attendance or they couldn’t attract good players because of the location of Seattle in the PNW or all the losing.

    The M’s were still reporting a profit, even last season. They made it clear they were rebuilding in 2011, so that will explain some things. But the M’s aren’t known to hand out contracts longer than four years, Felix being an exception. I wonder if that isn’t more of a factor with attracting players.

    Over the last 5 years, there’s little to suggest they can properly evaluate players. This is a team that targeted Milton Bradley, Miguel Olivo, ditched Jaso, and reacquired two players they already had in the organization before.

    The team could be just a year or two away. But again, we saw this after 2009 and haven’t seen any significant reason to believe Jack can find the remaining pieces. Imagine if he had landed Hamilton or Upton and the price he would have paid. It scares me to think we could see something horribly similar actually go through sometime soon.

  12. lightbat on July 29th, 2013 9:48 pm

    I feel like JackZ gets too little credit for moves gone right and overly criticized for moves that went wrong, especially considering we don’t know all the reasons for moves. I could be very wrong.

    But, for example, Ackley’s gone wrong, but Seager’s gone incredibly right. Franklin and Miller were brought up “too soon” but are the reason most of us are watching. Montero turned out bad, yet Pineda hasn’t done anything in the interim. Figgins went bad, but I don’t recall the blogosphere hating the move at the time (I could be wrong).

    It’d be interesting to see a retrospective of moves. I think he’s grade out above average, but I dunno. The idea that you can’t evaluate based on results implies that everyone has the same knowledge base.

  13. Kazinski on July 29th, 2013 9:53 pm

    The other thing about Blanks is he is Right Handed, which is exactly what this team needs most of, all we have is LH from top to bottom except Zunino. And two switch hitters, cause Smoak doesn’t count as a switch hitter. Plus the fact that Blanks plays 1b too, lets you think about a platoon for Smoak at 1st too. Smoak has a .479 OPS against LH this season (although its .659 career). Or put Blanks in the field and use Morse for Smoak’s platoon partner.

    Keeping Zdurincik is a no brainer because we have an infield of 26 year old and younger players that can actually play. He drafted every one but Smoak. He has this team to where two or three free agent buys can put us over the top, and all we need is RH outfielders, one of the easiest commodities to fill. And another pitcher of course.

  14. marcus_andrews on July 29th, 2013 9:57 pm

    I would like the addition of Blanks for next year, I just don’t understand it for now. He’s considered a very good athlete and so his good or at least average defensive numbers make sense. If he even has potential to be something like Michael Morse with decent defense that’s an interesting flier, isn’t it? It’s not like we’re flush with outfielders as others have pointed out.

    I don’t understand the timing and think that there’s got to be more to the story, but I’m closer to option A than I am to option B.

  15. eponymous coward on July 29th, 2013 10:02 pm

    I think he’s grade out above average, but I dunno.

    Billy Beane has precisely zero years where he’s GM’ed a 90 loss team in his career as a GM. That’s zero, nil, goose egg, with less budget than Zduriencik. The years where the A’s have been bad they’ve been hovering around .500 with a bunch of “who the hell are those guys?” When they’ve been good, they’ve been good for sustained stretches, not just like the M’s were in 2007 and 2009, surrounded by wastelands of horrible.

    There’s your comparison mark if you want to argue he’s a good GM.

  16. stevemotivateir on July 29th, 2013 10:03 pm

    If finding solid outfielders, right handed or not, were so easy, you’d think he would have solved that issue by now. You’d think there would be significant talent in Tacoma. This team will need at least two real outfielders next season. The M’s wont be the only team looking for outfielders. How is this going to be easy? What have we seen that suggests it will be?

    Worth noting, the job doesn’t end once they simply have a couple of new outfielders. Keeping Zduriencik would be a no-brainer. But I would imply it a different way.

  17. lightbat on July 29th, 2013 10:07 pm

    Billy Beane has precisely zero years where he’s GM’ed a 90 loss team in his career as a GM.

    So, that’s one in a metric I wasn’t addressing. That’s not what I was asking.

  18. Kazinski on July 29th, 2013 10:09 pm

    Think of it as buying a scratch ticket. Sure, you can get lucky. But lucky enough? If you have the dough, do the job right and leave the gambling for recreation. Chasing unproven minor league talent with legitimate areas of concern, isn’t a great way to plan for the season ahead if you wish to compete.

    Free agents are a scratch ticket too. What you do is have a mix, of young players and add some strategic free agents. If you start next year with Saunders, Ackley, Blanks and a 15m free agent, and possibly Raul, then you have organzational depth and upside. You can just sign two free agents and call it done, it is higher risk, and too expensive. You need at least 5 bodies that can be viable options in the mix.

    This is a team that targeted Milton Bradley, Miguel Olivo, ditched Jaso, and reacquired two players they already had in the organization before.

    Come on, they targeted Bradley because they had a huge cancerous lemon already, and they took a risk. And it didn’t pay off, but Silva was no bed of roses either.

    Olivo was a cheap stopgap, as much as I hated him, he wasn’t signed for 5 years 50m or anything like that. Jaso was a nice piece but he was expendable because of Zunino, they had to choose about giving up on Montero or keeping Jaso. Neither of the players they had before did they have to pay much for or make any long term commitment.

  19. GarForever on July 29th, 2013 10:17 pm

    I posted this originally on another thread, but it seems all the action has moved here, so…

    eponymous made a good point in that thread about there being nothing wrong with wanting a GM who is good at all parts of the job. I agree in principle, but wanting it and getting it are two different things. Anyone who has never been a GM before, who knows exactly what you’re getting if you hire them for the job? It may well be that Z has hit his ceiling and will never be very good at luring the right free agents or consistently making good trades. But the biggest priority he was hired to fix, let’s give him his due: Bavasi left our farm system a smoking hole in the ground, and in the span of five drafts Z has done an outstanding job of not just making it respectable, but good. Again, maybe it’s time to hand someone else the keys, but let’s not forget what he HAS accomplished. He didn’t just start from behind the 8 ball; one could argue he wasn’t even on the billiard table. And while I appreciate the point about Billy Beane and 90-loss seasons, and Beane is obviously very good, when he took over before the ’98 season, he had Hudson, Zito, Giambi, Tejada, and Eric Chavez already in the system. So, you know, there’s that. ;)

    That said, and knowing that a GM who has never held the job before may or may not prove any better, for the sake of argument what current or former MLB GM would you all want to hire if you could have your pick, and why? Knock yourselves out — don’t worry about contract, etc., just name your dream GM for the M’s. I’m not being rhetorical: I’m really curious whom people would want to replace Z.

  20. stevemotivateir on July 29th, 2013 10:25 pm

    Free agents are a scratch ticket too.

    Well, duh. The point is to minimize risk. Proven MLB players have a higher rate of success than unproven minor leaguers trying to make a splash.

    Come on, they targeted Bradley because they had a huge cancerous lemon already, and they took a risk. And it didn’t pay off, but Silva was no bed of roses either.

    Funny, because I would think that most people would try to get rid of cancer, rather than trade it for a different version and pay more in the process.

    Olivo was a cheap stopgap, as much as I hated him, he wasn’t signed for 5 years 50m or anything like that. Jaso was a nice piece but he was expendable because of Zunino, they had to choose about giving up on Montero or keeping Jaso. Neither of the players they had before did they have to pay much for or make any long term commitment.

    Two years of Olivo was two years too many. And Jaso didn’t have to be expendable. He easily could have shifted to 1B or DH and he would have been a cheaper option.

    Feel free to keep digging.

  21. lightbat on July 29th, 2013 11:15 pm

    So you would rather they just DFA’d Silva and ate the salary? I understand that point in retrospect, but at the time that didn’t make sense. How they played it out may have been wrong, but there wasn’t a ton of risk at the time.

    The point is not to minimize risk. It’s to take risks in the right way. I’m not saying they made the right moves, but you’re complaining instead of reasoning.

    Feel free to keep arguing through hyperbole.

  22. Kazinski on July 29th, 2013 11:16 pm

    digging what? You seem to be making the same old tired arguments about signing players like Prince Fielder and Josh Hamilton. Even safer signings like Nick Swisher are fraught with risk.

    Justin Smoak has been as good as or better offensively this year than Fielder, Swisher, or Pujols at less than 1/20 of the cost.

    Don’t say free agents are lower risk, because the cost multiplies the risk, and makes it harder to get rid of a mistake.

  23. Eastside Suds on July 29th, 2013 11:35 pm

    Jeff…thanks for the quiz, but I already knew where it would find me. October-November should be interesting reading and commenting if the M’s make a change.

  24. henryv on July 30th, 2013 1:43 am

    I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that the M’s front office is in on Bucky Jacobsen.

  25. chrischris on July 30th, 2013 2:11 am

    It’s extremely easy to criticize the moves of a real GM when most of us work 9-5 jobs in fields anything but baseball. When you only criticize and don’t make direct decisions, it’s easy to feel smart.

    With that said, obviously some GMs do a better job than others. I think Jack is commonly blamed for decisions ,any others would make. Figgons: I loved the signing, I hated playing against the guy.

    Many blamed jack for calling up the new guys too soon but as someone else already noted, miller and Franklin are the reason we are still watching.

    I am tired of a revolving door in our system. Bavasi sucked but we slaughtered Bob Melvin as a manager who has gone on to do just fine.

    Jack has done well enough to merit another few years. Lets see what he can do. Everyone is always in favor of making a change just to change, or “blow things up”. If you don’t have a better solution planned out, you should not make a chance.

    Direction is more important than speed. Don’t be impulsive.

    Damn iPad, sorry for typos.

  26. GarForever on July 30th, 2013 5:34 am

    It’s extremely easy to criticize the moves of a real GM when most of us work 9-5 jobs in fields anything but baseball. When you only criticize and don’t make direct decisions, it’s easy to feel smart.

    Yes. Yes it is.

    This is in part the point of the thought experiment I posited above: pick your dream GM. I would submit that while it is easy to criticize, it isn’t invalid for dedicated and informed fans to do so. But context is always important, and I can nitpick almost any other GM that comes to mind.

    Beane: Brilliant deal maker, but as I noted in my previous comment, he’s never had to deal from a position of weakness in terms of depth of talent in the org. And in how many World Series have the A’s played since 1998?

    Friedman: Obviously talented at building an organization within financial constraints, but who knows how good he’d be at signing free agents (and lest we forget, Z wasn’t the first GM to unload Jaso for a questionable return).

    Mozeliak: He has balls, I’ll give him that, and he’s done a good job of shepherding and improving what Walt Jocketty bequeathed to him. How good would he be in a different scenario? Hard to say.

    Cashman: Name a home-grown star produced by the Yankees since he became GM in 1998. OK, Robinson Cano. Next…? No…? As for the rest of the team, spot me Jeter, Pettitte, Rivera, Posada, and at least twice as much money as everyone else, and I’ll look pretty smart, too.

    And so on.

    The point of all of this is not to deny that these and other guys are good; they obviously are. The point is that the grass is always greener, and one should be very careful what one wishes for. I remember that a lot of people were glad when Pat Gillick retired because he couldn’t or wouldn’t pull the trigger on the “big mid-season trade” and so (maybe) two consecutive 93-win teams didn’t make the playoffs. I bet a lot of people would like to have that sentiment back, given what ensued.

    I’m not saying that I think Z should necessarily keep his job: he made two brilliant trades (if only Guti hadn’t turned out to be so fragile), but he’s made some terrible ones (Fister, Morrow) and was only saved by Justin Upton’s hubris from making a trade that might have made us forget all about Bavasi’s Bedard fiasco. But before we all call for his bloody head on fence post, take a minute to think about who might replace him. It won’t automatically be an improvement.

  27. SeattleSlew on July 30th, 2013 6:29 am

    #Mariners had top-level scout on #Padres last week, per @jonmorosi. Reason, according to a source: M’s looking for offense and …

    … have interest in #Padres OF/1B Kyle Blanks. The problem: Blanks is not close to returning from tendinitis in both Achilles.

    How does a scout go to a game to check out a player that is not even playing because he is on the DL?

  28. SeattleSlew on July 30th, 2013 6:33 am

    I wouldn’t mind having Kyle Blanks for cheap but if the Padres are willing to give him up for cheap they must know something we don’t know. I mean they want to win too just like the M’s.

  29. Henry Jasen on July 30th, 2013 7:19 am

    It seems reasonable to assume that at least Morse and one if not both of Ibanez and Morales will be gone next year (probably in a matter of days). Replacing some of that with Blanks seems to make sense. At least kick his tires while you listen to offers for your aging sluggers. I guess that makes me a Jack-keeper.

  30. stripesjr on July 30th, 2013 7:25 am

    Brian Sabean has won 2 world series despite being universally hated by the SF blogging community and doing a lot more to actively screw up his team than Zduriencik has. The biggest problem right now is the OF/1B/DH logjam. Well, 1B/DH logjam. We’ll see going forward but this front office does seem to be trying to evolve. They may just be a swinging pendulum and we can hope for better results in the future. Right now I’m just enjoying the kids playing pretty good baseball right now and Zduriencik had a lot to do with bringing them into the organization.

  31. stevemotivateir on July 30th, 2013 7:37 am

    digging what? You seem to be making the same old tired arguments about signing players like Prince Fielder and Josh Hamilton. Even safer signings like Nick Swisher are fraught with risk.

    Justin Smoak has been as good as or better offensively this year than Fielder, Swisher, or Pujols at less than 1/20 of the cost.

    Don’t say free agents are lower risk, because the cost multiplies the risk, and makes it harder to get rid of a mistake.

    We have a team with a losing record. We have a team that has had a losing record for several seasons in a row. We have a GM that has made a lot of mistakes. If you’re tired of the same old arguments, feel free to excuse yourself. But as long as we have an incompetent GM making mistakes, people are going to be critical. At the same time, sensible moves will be praised. This isn’t about picking him apart, it’s about wanting what’s best for the team.

    If you were trying to imply I wanted Fielder or Hamilton here, you’re wrong. I was vocal about Swisher, but I viewed him as an outfielder, which was a greater area of need -and still is, because of this GM. But before you state that Smoak has been just as good, take a look at their RBI totals. You can argue value of production vs. dollars spent, but Smoak’s not in the same boat with most of those names. Not that it matters, because this argument wasn’t about Smoak anyway.

    Free agents are a lower risk than prospects. You missed the point, or ignored it for the sake of arguing. Obviously there’s a line with what the contract/salary details, as there’s certainly more risk signing a guy like Hamilton, Pujols, or Fielder to 150-200+ million dollar contracts, but again, it’s about finding players ready to perform right now at a reasonable cost. And with the Mariners, again, the focus is outfielders.

    Acquiring Blanks isn’t the worst idea. If they were willing to be patient with him and the prospect swapped was reasonable, it’s not a big deal. But banking on him being a solid contributor immediately (2014) is a stretch. The M’s have tried the cheap route repeatedly with outfielders and have failed. But if you can argue otherwise, please do so. I’d love to hear it.

    And for the guy who barked about what else they could have done with Silva…. I dunno, maybe keep him, or trade him for someone else?! Who says you would have HAD to DFA him? He had two year left. Bradley had three and more money owed.

  32. The Dreeze on July 30th, 2013 7:39 am

    I feel like we’re not operating with enough information here, is the Blanks interest because we’re getting offers for Morales that we like?

  33. ChrisFB on July 30th, 2013 7:47 am

    Given a choice between 1) and 2), the answer is obviously,

    Iguana) The “front office” isn’t really an entity to feel anything about in the context of this question, because the front office Z has now is not the same at all as what he had in 2009, in terms of specific people or overall organizational philosophy. Whatever sabermetric folk he started his reign with aren’t here. If one lost faith in Z, they likely lost it at the point at which Z shifted personnel and philosophy to an even heavier scouting / traditional bent than it started with.

    The Kyle Blanks Opinion Test only works as a sign of whether one has been head-scratching over this front office for the past couple seasons, not as a last-straw vs. he’s-still-got-it thing.

    Obviously it’s entirely possible I have my timeline wrong on when Z was doing some rounds of firing and hiring to turn over his front office staff.

  34. Ralph_Malph on July 30th, 2013 8:06 am

    The point is that the Rosenthal tweet makes no sense at all, in the way it’s being interpreted. (1) they are scouting SD; (2) they have interest in Blanks. Those two things can’t go together. Blanks is hurt and not playing, so the scout can’t be looking at him (unless he want to watch him doing physical therapy or something). To me that means they’re scouting somebody else. Which isn’t inconsistent with part (2) – they can still have interest in Blanks, but he can’t be the guy they’re scouting.

    I realize Jeff is doing an interesting thought experiment here, but it seems to me there has to be something else going on.

  35. zak24 on July 30th, 2013 8:10 am

    Dave Cameron is right on the money a lot of the time but his ego rarely allows him to admit when he’s wrong. His “followers” on this site – the guys who copy and paste your italicized comments and then rip you apart for making connections that can’t be explained statistically – are exactly the same as their beloved leader: usually right but never wrong. Z and McNamara have drafted so solidly from day 1 and here we are 5 years later with Kyle Seager, 2 middle infield rookie of the year candidates, solid pitching throughout our system, and no bad contracts handcuffing us going forward. Where is the love? This isn’t the NFL, you can’t just plug your draft picks in right away. Jack has been setting up the board for 5 years and we’re going to be a good team for a long time.

  36. ivan on July 30th, 2013 8:19 am

    No general manager of any baseball team gives a flying f— in a rolling donut what I think about baseball, or what I know about baseball, or what I think I know about baseball. Nevertheless, I enjoy baseball (and reading USS Mariner) every day.

    The one thing Jack has done that really pissed me off more than anything else he has done was to even consider the Upton trade.

    In my uninformed, unscientific, stupid fan’s opinion, that one would have been a firing offense. But guess what? I don’t get to do the firing.

  37. stevemotivateir on July 30th, 2013 8:30 am

    @zak

    Have you read through the comments much? I have yet to catch anyone suggest that Z or McNamara have failed with the draft and scouting. In fact, I’ve seen much praise.

    There’s more to Jack’s job than overseeing what McNamara does, though, and that’s where you’ll find the criticism.

    Jack is given credit where it’s due.

  38. Athanasius on July 30th, 2013 8:40 am

    If it is true that the maxim “process over results” is more than just a smoke screen that can be used interchangeably to either justify my own ideas on how a team is built or condemn those that don’t fit my paradigm, then this FO has done a good job, period. Have there been several FA signings and trades that have not ended with the desired result? Absolutely.

    What I can’t quite wrap my head around is these moves that were, to borrow Jeff’s language, “universally hailed” early in Zduriencik’s tenure (Figgins, Guti and Lee trade) are now being used by _some_ to justify that he can no longer be trusted. I don’t get that.

    In addition to the perplexing roster decisions from this offseason, there is evidence that the FO has changed philosophy based on who is now close to Zduriencik. That is anecdotal evidence as far as I’m concerned. After all, prior to the FO staffing changes (i.e., when the FO still had a “good” philosophy), Eric Wedge was hired to manage the Mariners.

    Thus far, the real and hypothetical changes haven’t been enough for me to conclude that this FO doesn’t know what it is doing or has no business running the team. I don’t feel like I have enough information to make that decision.

  39. ripperlv on July 30th, 2013 8:45 am

    I say 1.35

    If he would have signed Hamilton or Swisher he’d be in worse shape. Thank goodness Upton had the foresight not to bless us with his underperforming ass. Now JZ must come up with a plan to find a real 5 pitcher rotation, fix the bullpen and get some outfielders. Ohhh, how about Kyle Blanks?

  40. zak24 on July 30th, 2013 9:01 am

    @stevemotivateir

    GMZ would be the first to admit he’s learned from his mistakes on the job, he has talked about this in interviews. Since “building through the draft” has been his main strategy from day 1 I’m thrilled to see productive cost-controlled players from our own system start to make an impact in the show right around the same time as our payroll may increase a bit and all of our bad contracts leave the books. He’s made some mistakes but he’s also managed to avoid some even bigger ones all the while staying consistent in his message and building a lethal farm system.

    Get over John Jaso and check out this article by kenneth arthur over on lookout landing.

    http://www.lookoutlanding.com/2013/7/12/4505380/jack-zduriencik-transaction-history-lack-of-big-free-agent-moves-has

    it breaks down all of the transactions since the JZ regime began.

  41. SeattleSlew on July 30th, 2013 9:05 am

    Realistically, how much do you think Kyle Blanks would cost? James Paxton and another minor leaguer?

    (I said realistically so please don’t include any of our 1b/dh)

  42. stevemotivateir on July 30th, 2013 9:31 am

    Get over John Jaso and check out this article by kenneth arthur over on lookout landing.

    You really think I haven’t looked over all his transactions? You think this is only about Jaso? It’s about the collective mistakes. And sure, Jack can see where he’s gone wrong with hindsight. But what makes you think he’s learned? You realize that this offseason, his first target to address the outfield was Hamilton? His second attempt was Upton. Luckily, both moves failed. But the backup plan wasn’t good either. Do you think addressing it for next season is going to be any easier? What have you seen that makes you feel confident he can fill in the holes? Do you think this team can be successful with only internal options?

    I get what his general plan and idea was/is. And I’ve never been opposed to it. But the fact is, outside of draft picks and minor league acquisitions, he’s failed to address real areas of need. In other words, I don’t believe he can make his own plan a reality.

  43. greentunic on July 30th, 2013 9:41 am

    We’re finally seeing a somewhat “full wave” of productive prospects in The Show. This is where we get to see the payoff of Z’s core competency. Now more than ever we need to hold judgement until we can determine whether the production is real.

  44. zak24 on July 30th, 2013 9:41 am

    @greentunic

    well said, I agree

    @stevemotivateir

    haha whatever you’re hopeless. there you go with the justin upton and josh hamilton speculation. i think everyone and their mom knew Justin wanted to play with his brother so the no trade would kick in and when asked if the mariners pushed hard to acquire him josh hamilton said “not really”. Both of those “moves” could have been smoke and mirrors for all you know, and in the case of the Upton deal we know for sure that there were more players involved then reported.

    his backup plan was to bring in kendrys, ibanez, and morse for a season with the knowledge that we were still a year away from the first full wave of dope prospects making an impact. the fact is this website called for jack z’s job prematurely and now you’ve convinced yourself it’s the truth the way McDonald’s executives are convinced their food isn’t bad for people. You’ve dug your heels in, we’ll see what jack does with his shiny new two year contract he deserves.

  45. Xteve X on July 30th, 2013 10:43 am

    “we’ll see what jack does with his shiny new two year contract he deserves.”

    Except nobody gives 2-year contracts to GMs. One season and then back to lame duck? Might as well fire him now and be done with it.

    Z has been a mediocre GM at best and it seems for some that’s cause for retaining him.

    It may not matter who holds the job, honestly. This organization’s culture is so poisoned by years of futility that I don’t see things significantly changing without a full housecleaning, which would require a sale.

  46. Choo on July 30th, 2013 11:02 am

    It’s not like the M’s are flush with RH outfielders for 2014. If they are looking at Blanks, great. They should be looking at all sort of guys right now.

    The odd thing is, why would a top-level scout, at the height of trade season no less, even bother sitting through a series of games to watch a player who isn’t on the 25-man roster? It makes more sense that the M’s would be looking at Carlos Quentin or even Chris Denorfia. I guess they could have been looking at additional pieces to a Blanks trade. Or maybe they were scouting players on the opposing team. Were the Padres playing the Brewers?

  47. MrZDevotee on July 30th, 2013 11:14 am

    Zak & Steve-

    You guys are like commies and capitalists…

    Or Democrats and Republicans… (Same thing?)

    You’re so entrenched in your corners you don’t realize you guys really aren’t disagreeing that much, just phrasing it in opposite terms.

    You both wanna see the team get better, and want the GM to make mostly good moves, that direct the team towards progress, quickly!

    My only take in the argument is that if you (Steve) wanna say his 2013 offseason moves were awful, lay out what he should have done instead and how those guys are doing in comparison… (“RBI’s”? Really? Oh no, you didn’t…)

    I think, more and more, Z had an “A” plan, and then was gonna fold his cards and wait for the next deal (2014) if he couldn’t get a winning hand.

    Being frugal might have been a “company” decision. But yeah, what would you have liked him to do instead? And just for shigs and gittles, you have to leave Jaso out of it. (Not saying right or wrong, just interested what you see out there we could have done differently. Wells and Jaso will just get lots of eye rolls, if you include them, so try going out on the limb without them…)

    **Also curious if you read that article he linked– the haul we got when we traded for Guty, Carp, Heilman, Cabrera, etc, etc., is way impressive versus what we gave up (+22 WAR with the M’s versus a collective negative WAR for the guys we gave up). I didn’t realize myself how nice of a trade that ended up being, even if I already remembered it positively.**

  48. scraps on July 30th, 2013 1:04 pm

    Way up there: T.I.F., you described Ken Rosenthal as “full of shit.” I don’t know about Rosenthal, really, but I remember (I think) that people who know much more than I do think Rosenthal is reliable. Can you elaborate, or is it that you feel the Mariners would definitely not be pursuing Blanks? (If so, I wish I could feel so confident as you.)

  49. Woodcutta on July 30th, 2013 3:01 pm

    For all of you Z apologists out there it is simple. If the M’s don’t address their outfield situation, i.e. improve it, between now and the start of the 2014 regular season, Z should no longer be the GM.

  50. phineasphreak on July 30th, 2013 5:47 pm

    The Pads were playing Dbacks. Scout could have been looking at RP Gregerson or any of the Dbacks OFs: Parra, Eaton, or Pollock. Its known that Dbacks are lookimg for SP and RP to make playoff push.

  51. stevemotivateir on July 30th, 2013 7:05 pm

    his backup plan was to bring in kendrys, ibanez, and morse for a season with the knowledge that we were still a year away from the first full wave of dope prospects making an impact. the fact is this website called for jack z’s job prematurely and now you’ve convinced yourself it’s the truth the way McDonald’s executives are convinced their food isn’t bad for people.

    Yeah, you know it all, don’t you? You should take note of the dates of those transactions, what positions they play, and who we have moving forward and who might potentially be available. You seem to think addressing the outfield will be simple.

    You’re a broken record. I’m sorry you still don’t get it. You should definitely keep thinking he’s done a fantastic job with everything, though. For extra comfort, take a look at the team’s records while you reflect on all the great trades and acquisitions he’s made.

    @MrZD

    I’ve gone over my ideas last offseason a million times. I know you’re familiar with at least a few of them. I’m not doing so again. They’re all documented in earlier posts.

    I frequent Lookout Landing (shocking, I know) and already saw that article. I’ve read articles regarding most, if not all of his trades. And I’m not sold. I wouldn’t be having this discussion if I was. That doesn’t mean I hate every single trade he’s made. Some were good. Not enough. And I’m not confident he can build a contender because of what we’ve seen.

  52. zak24 on July 30th, 2013 8:46 pm

    @stevewtvrurnameis

    it was never about their record for his first 5 years. it’s what comes in the next 5 years that matters. the trouble with you is you don’t believe something is possible until it’s already happened. we are such a healthy organization at this point moving forward. 5 years ago we were depleted completely. you keep plugging along visionlessly though buddy. we’ll see whose right in a couple years. only at ussmariner do you have know it alls calling people know it alls.

  53. zak24 on July 30th, 2013 9:07 pm

    @woodcutta

    not only am i not apologizing for Jack Z i’m calling you naive, jaded and ignorant for continuing to doubt him. he’ll address the outfield when the time is right.

  54. scraps on July 30th, 2013 9:20 pm

    Naive =and= jaded?

  55. Dave in Palo Alto on July 30th, 2013 9:48 pm

    Everybody at work is ultimately judged by results, even if the process looks good. I don’t see that the process with Z is anything special, and the results are especially bad. I haven’t seen keen personnel insight — some draft picks were good, others not. Z picked up Eric Thames for one of the dominant relievers in the league. Pineda, who looked special, was dumped for Jesus Not Christ. Only Josh Hamilton’s mystic vision stopped Z from crippling the team with that debacle.

    This front office is just not that good.

  56. Choo on July 30th, 2013 10:29 pm

    @phineasphreak:

    Interesting. The D-Backs are the anti-Mariners: too many OF’s and not enough pitching. On paper, the two teams match up well for a potential trade.

  57. MT on July 31st, 2013 3:25 am

    stevemotivateir

    If they could win, of course they would sign players that would give them wins. But 1-2 more wins vs dingers? I don’t know what would excite fans. I think it’s a wash. At least it was something different to distract the fans while the rebuild was continuing. Should the team have gotten defense only players like they did in the early years of Z’s tenure? I think it would have negatively affected fan perception=attendance because of the lack of change.

    I don’t care what you believe, but the M’s were broken when Z came in. The minors and the majors were awful. Z had no cards to deal from, and had to restock the entire system. Unlike other sports, it takes 4~6 years to develop minor league talent in baseball and to get them to the majors. Even after the talent gets to the majors, it sometimes takes several years before they completely adjust to the majors.

    If Z was lucky he could’ve rebuilt the team quicker, but he wasn’t lucky with his gambles.

    He tried to sign good players to reasonable deals, but he failed. Of course players want to go to teams that pay more and win. Should he have overpaid even though the core of the team wasn’t ready? I don’t think so.

    You mention that the team was still reporting profits. Do you know how businesses operate? Baseball is a business even if you don’t believe it is. For the company to continue to operate, they have to generate profits. So, of course their going to cut costs and spending to report a profit.

    Who do you expect to pay for the enormous contracts that you want the M’s to sign? Ownership? The owners want a profit (like any other business), and don’t want to invest more money unless there are likely returns in the future.

    Now, the team is looking like it will be competent, which will result in greater attendance, and greater revenue. Also, the new TV ownership will also generate greater profits for the team because they are likely to start winning.

    The M’s front office has the ability to recognize minor league talent. I’m not a scout, but is it that different to recognize minor league talent and major league talent? If their so competent at the minor league level, I would assume they would be better at the majors if given the resources.

    I truly think the past incompetence was greatly affected by the limited resources this FO was given.

    Regarding Fields, Fister, Morrow, Jaso. Fields was a Bavasi draftee, so I don’t think simple logic will explain that (I think there’s some baseball politics involved for that one).
    Fister, I don’t think anyone expected Fister to take such a leap forward in production. Morrow was broken in Seattle because of the misuse by the old regime.

    For Jaso, I don’t really know, and it’s a minor deal so I really don’t care.

  58. stevemotivateir on July 31st, 2013 6:43 am

    it was never about their record for his first 5 years. it’s what comes in the next 5 years that matters. the trouble with you is you don’t believe something is possible until it’s already happened. we are such a healthy organization at this point moving forward. 5 years ago we were depleted completely. you keep plugging along visionlessly though buddy. we’ll see whose right in a couple years. only at ussmariner do you have know it alls calling people know it alls.

    There’s no trouble with me. Again, you’re assuming. Somehow, you got it into your head that I can’t see the big picture, or recognize the positives. I do. But you’re ignoring the many black spots, some of which still exist. You’re the one who’s delusional. And you spout off with arrogance and naivety, which makes you incredibly annoying. On top of that, you criticize the people who run this site and frequent it, yet here you are. You’re a genius.

    not only am i not apologizing for Jack Z i’m calling you naive, jaded and ignorant for continuing to doubt him. he’ll address the outfield when the time is right.

    You really don’t know when to stop talking. It shouldn’t be a surprise that people quote you and pick you apart. It will continue as long as you speak the way you do.

    By the way, addressing the outfield, along with every other area, is something the GM is responsible for every year. Not just when you feel the time is right. But keep assuming you know better.

  59. scraps on July 31st, 2013 1:10 pm

    Fister was already taking big steps when a Mariner. I was dismayed — several people were — when he was traded, and it turned out the trade was even worse.

  60. zak24 on July 31st, 2013 1:57 pm

    @stevemotivateir

    If you were called right now by the powers that be and given the absolute power to fire Jack Z would you do it? If so, when and why?

    I won’t make any more assumptions.

  61. stevemotivateir on July 31st, 2013 2:35 pm

    Did you really need to ask that? I’ve made it pretty clear I’m not confident in his ability to acquire the right MLB players, and since the draft is past, there’s really no reason to wait. Kingston could fill-in on an interim basis. I don’t want to see Jack make any more trades.

    Let’s move forward.

  62. zak24 on July 31st, 2013 4:36 pm

    @stevemotivateir

    Yeah I needed to ask it; your answer now serves as a tangible starting point for a new conversation, free from assumptions. Why are you not confident in his ability to acquire the right MLB players? Using the past calandar year statistics on fangraphs I’ve prorated to 650 plate appearances the WAR numbers for the following MLB players (all of whom GMZ has overseen the acquisition of except Saunders):

    Nick Franklin — 3.9 WAR (“Good Player” almost worthy of Fangraph’s “All Star” player label)

    Justin Smoak — 2.3 WAR (“Solid Starter” awesome! Considering we got him for Cliff Lee in a trade that has since netted the Mariners 20+ WAR)

    Kyle Seager — 5.1 WAR (Superstar)

    Brad Miller — 3.4 WAR (Good Player)

    Mike Zunino —- 2.9 WAR (“Solid Starter” almost worthy of Fangraph’s “Good Player” label)

    Raul Ibanez and Michael Saunders —- 1.5 WAR each (“Role Players” and Saunders at times has looked like a “Solid Starter” Ibanez could be a 4th outfielder on a contending team couldn’t he? Saunders maybe even a solid 3rd outfielder, no?)

    Kendrys Morales —– 2.9 WAR (“Solid Starter” nearly worthy of “Good Player” Label)

    Franklin, Miller, and Zunino are small sample sizes but I am confident in Jack Z’s ability to acquire the right MLB players due to the fact that we have productive, young, and inexpensive players for years to come locked in at C, 1B, 2B, 3B, and SS. We have a quality DH who likes Seattle and may resign in the offseason, and now we can clearly turn our attention toward adding to the outfield. Our pitching is anchored by Felix and Kuma (Kuma! What a great value! $$$) a nice pitcher’s park to call home and Taijuan Walker, Erasmo, etc. We have some decent OF prospects now working through the system in Romero, Austin Wilson, O’Neil, and a possible OF’er in Peterson. We have money to spend due to avoiding bad contracts and a new TV deal which should boost payroll. It’s fair to point out Morrow, Fister, and Delabar as bad trades, even Jaso if you like (although we got Jaso for a nothing bum bad player in josh lueke who also happened to be a rapist). Overall it seems that building through the draft has brought us to this point of having 6 locked in starters who happen to be productive, and youthful with financial flexibility… outfield is a clear need area so GMZ can focus his attention moving forward. He’s overseen the acquisition of all 6 of those starters. So yes, let’s move forward… I say with GMZ leading the way. There is another draft next year, it’d be nice to have GMZ and McNamara running it. Why don’t you want to see Jack make any more trades? He may not have to if for example Jacoby Ellsbury wants to come back to the PNW and Romero turns out to be a solid starter. If Smoak can figure it out after all that why can’t ackley turn into a solid starter as well? Why not us, steve? Why not us?

  63. stevemotivateir on July 31st, 2013 8:16 pm

    So you recognize the small sample sizes for the rookies you mention, but they’re your primary argument for Jack’s brilliance? You can’t prorate rookies with a month of service time and call them a guarantee. Ackley severs as the poster boy for caution. Which brings up another point… the first ‘core’ of young player was suppose to be Ackley, Smoak, and Montero. Obviously not all the younger players have impressed. And while Smoak is having a better year at the plate, I wouldn’t say he’s figured things out. He still doesn’t produce like a corner infielder and his defense still sucks. And even if you called this year a success, several years of sucking still counts against him.

    You’re also ignoring the fact that my complaints aren’t draft-related, so you can throw out your chart and start over. And again, I never said all of his trades were bad. Not all his FA signings were bad either. Even Bavasi did a few things right.

    But when you look at every transaction collectively over the last five years, which I have -many times, also factoring corresponding moves, DFA’s, etc, it shouldn’t be hard to see why so many of us aren’t sold. There were a lot of mistakes. There were some bullets dodged as well.

    I’m content with McNamara in the fold. I think he’s done a pretty fine job overall. And an argument could certainly be made that he deserves more credit for the drafting than Jack.

    But Jack isn’t needed. It doesn’t matter if he hasn’t been as bad as Bavasi. He hasn’t been good enough. I want better. You should too.

  64. stevemotivateir on July 31st, 2013 8:30 pm

    Maybe you don’t realize it, but you’re arguing in circles. You’re digging for a loop hole that isn’t there. I’ve outlined my issues with Jack many times and I’ve detailed them many times over the years in the comments. I’ve also given credit when it was do. If you don’t understand, comprehend, accept it, whatever, I really don’t care. But you can’t win an argument like this. With exception to 2009, he’ failed to field a winning team. And there’s still considerable holes to address. Feel free to believe in him, though. Just don’t be surprised if the disappointment continues (as long as he’s still employed here).

  65. zak24 on July 31st, 2013 9:16 pm

    Jack’s building a dynasty. If you don’t understand, comprehend, accept it, whatever, I really don’t care.

  66. eponymous coward on July 31st, 2013 11:07 pm

    Jack’s building a dynasty. If you don’t understand, comprehend, accept it, whatever, I really don’t care.

    Feel free to point out the extensive list of MLB GMs who have worse records than Bill Bavasi had as as the M’s general manger their first 4+ years in the league and went on to build dynasties any time now.

    Producing some good ballplayers in your minors and developing them is necessary for a dynasty, but not sufficient. The problem with Jack Zduriencik isn’t the minor league development and scouting; it’s the other stuff that takes us from “necessary” to “sufficient”.

    Anyways- that dynasty of talent he created over in Milwaukee- good for two 90 win seasons and lots of below-.500 seasons when combined with so-so GM skills (sound familiar?). I guess “dynasty” has been defined down, huh?

  67. stevemotivateir on August 1st, 2013 7:12 am

    Oh, I didn’t realize he was trying to build a dynasty. How did miss that?! The package offered for Upton makes a lot more sense now.

    Every GM is trying to build a dynasty with the resources they have.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.