Tag:Jack Zduriencik
Posted on: August 1, 2010 9:29 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:58 am

Zduriencik hanging Wakamatsu out to dry

Jack Zduriencik As the non-waiver trade deadline passed and people talk about winners and losers, I get a little chuckle. It's easy to talk about winners and losers of transactions, but the on-field wins and losses are a little different.

Sure, there are always opinions on moves -- like I still don't see how the Cardinals are better than they were before the deadline deal that sent an above-average hitter to San Diego for a below-average starter -- but those don't really mean much. It doesn't take much hindsight to find an example. Many, myself included, thought the Mariners won the offseason. General manager Jack Zduriencik was lauded for his moves, including getting Cliff Lee and Chone Figgins. For all those laurels, it's earned the Mariners a 39-66 record, better only than the Orioles, Diamondbacks and Pirates.

For everything Zduriencik did right in the offseason, it seems the season has the Mariners taking on water.

We all saw the ugliness in the dugout a little more than a week ago with Figgins charging after manager Don Wakamatsu. Neither Figgins nor Zduriencik have commented on the incident. If you saw the fracas in the Mariners' dugout, it was worse than the Zambrano outburst -- and Zambrano was indefinitely suspended immediately after the outburst. That announcement was made by Cubs general manager Jim Hendry. Zambrano has since apologized individually to players, to his team as a whole and to the nation on ESPN. You can question the sincerity of that apology, but not the fact that it was at least acknowledged as a mistake and something that shouldn't have happened.

In Seattle, Figgins was back in the lineup the next day. Figgins has since given an indication that he -- and others -- are upset with the way Ken Griffey Jr. was "pushed" out of Seattle. Griffey retired after being pushed aside as the everyday designated hitter. Wakamatsu had little choice not to play Griffey because of his lack of production, but it was an impressive piece of passive-aggressive micro-managing by Zduriencik to make Wakamatsu out as the bad guy in the end of the road of Seattle's most important sports hero of all time.

Don Wakamastsu Now, the Seattle Times ' Geoff Baker has the details of another incident of Zduriencik's lack of respect for Wakamatsu. Writes Baker :
Some of you speculated that today when I told you of how the organization decided to ship Justin Smoak to Class AAA less than 24 hours after Wakamatsu had outlined a course for him that involved remaining with the major league club. Wakamatsu said the move was "an organizational decision.''

Some of you mused, rightfully so, about how the organization keeps making Wakamatsu look bad. Whether intentional or not. Look, I understand the front office was busy today in all kinds of trade discussions that didn't bear fruit. Zduriencik doesn't have time to read every blog post about what Wakamatsu said on the Smoak situation yesterday.

But Zduriencik knows exactly what has been said on his non-support of the manager -- at least in public -- since the Figgins argument in the dugout. Travel from city to city, as we have this week to Chicago and now Minneapolis, and the people who work in baseball cannot understand how Wakamatsu is being allowed to twist in the wind like this.
It seems I have as good of a chance of sitting in the Mariners' dugout next season as Wakamatsu, who is signed through the 2011 season.

So it should be no surprised that according to sources in Seattle, the uniformed personnel in Seattle are as fond of Zduriencik as fish are of BP. But those same sources say most of the rest of the employees of the club feel the same way. Zduriencik's offseason showed he has a great sense of how to handle public relations, and for much of this year he's been able to pass the buck for the Mariners' disappointing season. Wakamatsu got the blame in public -- and among the players -- for Griffey's less-than-rousing sendoff, but as time goes on, it's apparent Zduriencik is the puppet master pulling the strings behind the scene and as a result, solely responsible for the Mariners' sinking ship.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 9, 2010 12:33 pm
Edited on: July 9, 2010 1:13 pm

Yankees want deal done today

The Yankees want Cliff Lee, they don't want to face him. ESPN's Buster Onley is reporting the Yankees want the deal done before Lee's schedule.

Via Twitter , Onley has too much info for 140 characters:

Heard this: The Yankees told the Mariners overnight that their current offer is their last and best offer for Lee. They expect
yes or no soon, because Lee is scheduled to pitch against them tonight. "There has to be an answer before the game," says 1 source.
Posted on: July 9, 2010 12:01 pm
Edited on: July 9, 2010 1:19 pm

Lee's other suitors not giving up yet

Despite the reports that Cliff Lee will be a Yankee, other clubs in the race aren't giving up yet.

Two sources from two different teams tell CBSSports.com that they're not out of the running for Lee quite yet.

One source even quoted Animal House, "was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?" he said in a text.

Although the Yankees appear to be the favorite, New York general manager Brian Cashman certainly won't be the only one calling Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik today.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 9, 2010 9:10 am
Edited on: July 9, 2010 1:06 pm

Report: Yankees 'on brink' of landing Lee

Cliff Lee New York may have a consolation prize in the LeBron James sweepstakes -- Cliff Lee.

The New York Post 's Joel Sherman reports the Yankees are "on the brink" of getting Lee from the Mariners. Sherman doesn't attribute the report to any source other than his own report, but says New York will give up top prospect, catcher Jesus Montero.

Sherman's report does hedge its bets, saying "The Yanks were not assured of obtaining Lee since other clubs such as the Mets, Twins and Rangers were in talks."

Lee is scheduled to start against the Yankees tonight.

According to the article, Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik suddenly wants to work quickly, trading Lee before the All-Star break.

UPDATE: ESPN's Buster Onley reports the Yankees and Mariners have "no agreement in place" for Lee and that it's possible another team could still get a deal done for the Mariners' ace.

So, this brings several questions:

1. Is Lee really going to the Yankees, or is this more New York hyperbole?

2. Is Zduriencik using scare tactics to get other teams to up the ante? Once you mention the Y word in baseball, emotions can get involved.

3. What would the Yankees do? They'd have six starters in the rotation, and they could be looking to trade one of them, even if they don't get much in return.

4. Are the Yankees just making sure they win a title, not just by improving their team, but keeping Lee away from any potential competition?

UPDATE 2: The New York Times' Tyler Kepner reports the offer from the Yankees has been made and it's up to the Mariners to decide.

Then the question becomes do the Yankees and Mariners get this done tonight, before Lee is scheduled to pitch against the Yankees? If so, when does he make his debut for Yankees? It would likely come in this series, so the Yankees would be dodging a potential loss and the Mariners would get to see all too well what they gave up.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 8, 2010 1:14 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2010 2:23 pm

Ranking the suitors for Lee

Cliff Lee Is your team in on the Cliff Lee sweepstakes?

Chances are -- unless you're a Pirates or Orioles fan, the answer is yes.

An anonymous source tells Newsday's Ken Davidoff that "pretty much every team within five games of the playoffs" has called the Mariners about Lee.

So, if you're counting, that's 17 teams, nine National League squads and eight American League clubs.

Besides the whole 15 games under .500 thing, Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik must feel like the prettiest girl in school.

This is far from a final list, and I could be completely wrong -- but here's a listing of the possibilities in some semblance of an order. Feel free to offer your own favorites.

1. Twins -- still a good possibility, they've got the desire, the prospects (Wilson Ramos, Aaron Hicks) and with a new ballpark, they also have an influx of cash and urgency to do something special. With Lee, we could have some postseason snow-outs.

2. Mets -- the other New York team is always out there trying too hard -- like your one friend who gets a little too dressed up and has that extra spray (or four) of cologne when you go out. Sadly, he always seems to strike out.

3. Reds -- never underestimate the desire of an owner to make a splash. Bob Castellini is an emotional owner and believes firmly in his town's desire to see a winner and ultimately support it. If the Mariners want corner prospects, the Reds could dangle Yonder Alonso and Juan Francisco -- blocked by Joey Votto and Scott Rolen's three-year extension, respectively. There's also Todd Frazier, who can play about anywhere, and pitchers Matt Maloney and Travis Wood, who could be added to the rotation right away.

4. Rangers -- they're not as long of a long shot as you might think. Lee's not about money. It's about prospects, and Justin Smoak is a prospect that would fit perfectly. Roy Oswalt would be costly; Lee is only $4 million for the rest of the season. If money's still an issue, they could sweeten the pot with another prospect. MLB -- the organization -- has a vested interest in the Rangers and they'd likely loan the Rangers the money to make it work. A Rangers team in the playoffs is more valuable to a bidder than one that breaks down in August.

5. Yankees -- the team could go get him, but why rent him now and give up prospects when you've still got a good shot at winning and will just buy him in the offseason, anyway. That way you keep the prospects. But with the Yankees, you've always got to have them in the discussion. They're a courtesy top five, due to the fact they're the Yankees.

6. Rays -- pitching depth isn't a problem in this system, but they have a potential impact bat in B.J. Upton, and a serviceable catcher in Dioner Navarro. A Lee-David Price front of the rotation could be lights-out in a short series.

7. Phillies -- yeah, the Phillies could add the former Phillie, but it would likely cost them Domonic Brown -- who GM Ruben Amaro Jr. wouldn't give up for Roy Halladay. The desire is there, but the prospects may not be.

8. White Sox -- the news on Jake Peavy makes them the highest-riser on the list, plus GM Kenny Williams loves to make a splash, and this would certainly qualify.

9. Cardinals -- despite needs to fill out their rotation, the Cardinals are reportedly looking for bats more than arms. Still, it's tempting to think of a playoff rotation of Lee, Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright -- that would make them a favorite based on "the great" Albert Pujols' offense alone.

10. Tigers -- Detroit could use him, that's for sure. GM Dave Dombrowski has never shied away from a big deal, but it's unclear whether Detroit has the juice in either prospects or cash to get it done.

11. Red Sox -- a lot of needs with all their injures, Lee would be a luxury -- not that they haven't indulged in those in the past.

12. Braves -- Atlanta could certainly use Lee -- who couldn't? -- but they don't seem like a fit in either needs or assets. The Braves, more likely will be crossing their fingers that Lee doesn't land in the NL East, which is still up for grabs.

13. Rockies -- they are more likely to fine-tune than to do anything big. GM Dan O'Dowd has prized prospects and is unlikely to mortgage the future for a rent-a-player.

14. Padres -- sure, they're broke and they're pitching well, but there is some reason here. 1. Owner Jeff Moorad has said he'll deal for an arm if he can, and 2. most of the Padres arms are young arms. Mat Latos, Wade LeBlanc and Clayton Richard may not only tire down the stretch, Latos, at least, is on an innings count of 150 to 180 and he's already an out away from 100 innings on the season.

15. Giants -- looking for bats, not arms.

16. Angels -- ditto.

17. Dodgers -- Jamie McCourt is unlikely to give any of her alimony to help Frank out.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 4, 2010 6:13 pm
Edited on: July 4, 2010 6:14 pm

Plenty of names available to Mariners for Lee

Cliff Lee Could Jack Zduriencik of the Mariners be trying to engineer a three-team trade?

Buster Olney of ESPN speculates on Cliff Lee's future -- as everyone will do up until he is traded -- and notes that Seattle wants a "difference-making hitter" in any Lee trade.

Olney suggests Justin Smoak from Texas, but it's hard to imagine the Rangers agreeing to that. Perhaps Chris Davis is a more viable alternative, but Texas would then have to upgrade other elements of the package.

Another player that may catch Seattle's eye is Yonder Alonso of the Reds. Alonso was drafted as a first baseman but since Joey Votto has that position locked up, has been playing left. The Mariners could return him to his natural position of first or even slot him as DH, and the Reds would certainly love Lee as they make a push for the NL Central crown.

Olney then turns his attention to Brett Lawrie of Milwaukee. When Jack Z worked for the Brewers, he selected Lawrie in the first round of the 2008 draft. Lawrie has since emerged as one of the best prospects in the game while manning second base. Even though the Brewers are out of the race and wouldn't be interested in a Lee-for-Lawrie swap, Olney speculates that Zduriencik could engineer a three-way trade, sending Lee to the Reds, a stable of pitching prospects from Cincinnati to Milwaukee (fulfilling the Brewers' need for pitching) and Lawrie to the Mariners.

There's nothing to support this trade, but it's an intriguing idea.

All that said, Charley Waters of the Pioneer Press hears that the Twins are the frontrunners for Cliff Lee and are currently deciding whether Wilson Ramos should be made available to Seattle, who craves a young catcher. Interestingly enough, Waters says the Mariners love their 26-year-old catcher, Adam Moore, so Ramos may not be as available. Hard to imagine any team turning Ramos down who is head and shoulders above Moore but even if that's the case, Minnesota has more chips they can send out.

That starts with center fielder Ben Revere, who -- despite a clear lack of power -- has advanced well in the system since being selected in the 2007 draft. Joe Benson is another outfielder in the system that could be available, as well as major-league starting pitcher Nick Blackburn. It's doubtful Seattle would entertain Blackburn as the last thing they need is another back-of-the-rotation starter.

The Cliff Lee sweepstakes are heating up, and it's anyone's guess who plucks the prized left-hander with an obscene 89/6 K/BB ratio.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 28, 2010 9:59 am
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:55 am

Mets want to enter Cliff Lee sweepstakes

Cliff Lee It seems inevitable when a big-time player with an expiring contract becomes available, it's New York that becomes the subject of relocation rumors.

What's different -- for now, at least -- when it comes to Cliff Lee is that it's the Mets that are being mention.

The New York Post 's Joel Sherman writes that Mets general manager Omar Minaya has called Jack Zduriencik to tell him the Mets want a chance to negotiate when the Mariners' boss decides to raise the white flag up the mast and listen to offers for Lee.

Sherman also reports that not only would the Mets consider dealing top prospect Jenry Mejia to secure Lee, but they would not need a negotiating window with Lee to try to secure the ace.

Mejia, a right-handed starter, left his Double-A start in the second inning with what the team described as "shoulder stiffness."

Even with that possibility -- one SportsNet New York's Kevin Burkhardt tweets is not a possibility -- Sherman says many within the organization doubt the Wilpon ownership group would sign off on giving up talent and taking on more payroll.

Sherman also notes the Mets have little-to-no interest in Roy Oswalt and Fausto Carmona, but the Cubs' Ted Lilly could be a possibility if they strike out on Lee.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 11, 2010 10:38 pm
Edited on: June 12, 2010 12:53 am

Big doings in Seattle

Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times recaps a busy day in Mariner-land :

• Pitcher Mark Lowe will undergo back surgery that will likely end his season.
Luke French replaces Ian Snell in the rotation.
Chone Figgins is back at the No. 2 spot in the lineup.
• And manager Don Wakamastsu has gotten the dreaded vote of confidence from general manager Zduriencik.

"Don's our manager," Zduriencik told reporters. "Look, he's our manager. Last year, there were so many praises, and so many people were high on the job Don did. Because the club's been in a bad stretch, because the club hasn't played well, certainly Don's disappointed like everyone else. He's our manager right now. We're moving forward. I expect Don to right the ship. I expect Don to take charge of the thing. He's the manager. That's his job. I look forward to watching it. Don hasn't swung a bat this year, Don hasn't fielded a ground ball, and Don hasn't thrown a pitch.

"As we move forward from here on out, I'd like to say this club is going to play better baseball from here on out. That's would certainly be what I'd hope to see. And Don will be the manager watching them do it."

So that means, what, two more weeks of the Wakamatsu reign?

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com