Posted on: October 1, 2011 2:18 pm
NEW YORK -- The first time Dave Dombrowski asked about Doug Fister, Jack Zduriencik said no, he's not available.
And the second time, and the third time, and . . .
How many times was it, Dave, a dozen?
"At least," Dombrowski said.
"Probably," Dombrowski said. "Over a three-week period, we called a couple of times a day. Sometimes three times."
Zduriencik, the Mariners general manager, kept saying no. Dombrowski, the Tigers general manager, refused to take no for an answer.
"He opened the door at times, and then he would close it," Dombrowski said. "As long as it was open a little, we kept trying."
Eventually, on the day before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, the Tigers got Fister and David Pauley in exchange for four young players.
Fister went 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA, so you could say that Dombrowski's persistence is the reason the Tigers are in the playoffs. With Friday night's rain, Fister will in effect start two games in the Division Series against the Yankees, so you could say that he is the Tigers' best chance for advancing.
Fister will pick up for Justin Verlander when Game 1 resumes in the middle of the second inning Saturday night. If the series goes the five-game distance, Fister is now on schedule to start the deciding game.
And all because when Zduriencik said no, Dombrowski kept trying. And trying.
One Tigers person said he had never seen Dombrowski so determined to get a deal done. Dombrowski said he could only compare it to his pursuit of Mike Lowell in the summer and fall of 1995, when Lowell was with the Yankees and Dombrowski was running the Marlins.
"I worked on that one for six months," he said.
The Tigers identified Fister early, deciding that the combination of his ability and his contract status (he can't be a free agent until after 2015) made him the right fit. The Tigers looked at every pitcher who was or might be available (they made a try for James Shields, but Rays GM Andrew Friedman gave them a firmer "no" than Zduriencik did), but for most of the month, Fister was their top target.
In fact Tigers people insist, they preferred Fister to Ubaldo Jimenez, even if the price for the two had been the same (which it wasn't).
Their first offer for Fister, sources say, included none of the four players who were eventually in the deal (Casper Wells, Charlie Furbush, Francisco Martinez and Chance Ruffin). No one can remember how many other permutations were offered before Zduriencik agreed.
What does seem certain is that the Tigers were the one team that wasn't scared off when Zduriencik said no. Plenty of teams needed pitching, but no one else tried nearly as hard for Fister.
In the end, the Tigers thought they gave up a lot. They view Martinez as a future star at third base, think Ruffin has a chance to pitch very well in the big leagues and view Wells as a potential starting outfielder.
"I guess I'm old school," Dombrowski said. "You don't try to 'win' a trade."
And, apparently, you don't take no for an answer.
Posted on: August 9, 2010 3:12 pm
Edited on: August 9, 2010 3:39 pm
The Mariners have fired manager Don Wakamatsu.
The team also fired three of Wakamatsu's coaches (pitching coach Rick Adair, bench coach Ty Van Burkleo and performance coach Steve Hecht), and promoted Daren Brown from Triple-A Tacoma to serve as interim manager.
The relationship between Wakamatsu and general manager Jack Zduriencik has deteriorated over the course of the season, as the Mariners have become one of baseball's most disappointing teams. The M's are 42-70, and have been buried in last place in the American League West since the start of May.
Wakamatsu had trouble dealing with Ken Griffey Jr. before Griffey abruptly retired, and also had run-ins with Chone Figgins, the M's high-profile free-agent signing. There was a sense around the team that management didn't stand behind Wakamatsu, who won praise for the way he handled the M's last year, in his first season on the job.
Wakamatsu's firing was first reported by 710 ESPN radio in Seattle.
Posted on: October 22, 2008 6:10 pm
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Jack Zdurencik isn't well-known, and he has an easy-to-mispronounce name (it's zur-EN-sik).
But he might just be the perfect guy to take on the mess that's the Mariners.
"I guess that means they're going back to scouting and development," one scout said Wednesday, as word circulated that the Mariners have hired Zduriencik as their new general manager.
You'd think that's what it means, since the 57-year-old Zduriencik's background is in scouting and development. He was in charge of the Brewers' successful scouting operation for the last nine years, and under his guidance the Brewers drafted the core of the team that ended Milwaukee's 16-year playoff drought.
If this is the guy you pick to run your ballclub, presumably you're committed to building a winner from the ground up, rather than trying for a quick fix.
The quick fixes haven't worked in Seattle, that's for sure. This is a team that believed it was one trade away last winter, and reacted by surrendering young players in a deal with Baltimore for pitcher Erik Bedard. The Bedard deal was a miserable failure, but it wasn't the only one in recent years in the Pacific Northwest.
Now it's Zduriencik's turn, and now the Mariners will -- apparently -- try to build a winner. One look at Seattle's 2008 record (61-101) will tell you there's a lot of building to do.
One positive from that record: the M's will have the second overall pick in next June's draft, behind the Nationals.
With Zduriencik in charge, maybe they'll know what to do with it.