BY Seth Kolloen 07:00AM 06/24/2011

Kolloen: Zduriencik, don’t go all Bavasi on us

Jack Z. must decide–soon–whether to attempt a Bavasi-like rapid improvement program.

Jack Zduriencik has some big decisions coming up. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

Jack Zduriencik and I are in the same boat. I’m trying to figure out whether to go to Hawaii in October, and he’s trying to figure out whether to trade a prospect for a left fielder. Both decisions hinge on how we assess this question: Do the Mariners really have a shot at October’s playoffs?

I’m skeptical. On offense, we’ve got no power, and that’s not likely to change unless Zduriencik places a call to Barry Bonds. The bullpen is combustible, with journeymen like David Pauley and Jamey Wright seemingly pitching over their heads. And I don’t have much confidence that rookie Michael Pineda and fragile Erik Bedard can continue their stellar performances.

It all reminds me of another season when we had a mediocre team and a general manager in his third season. Bill Bavasi, feeling the pressure to keep the M’s in the pennant race, tried to upgrade the Mariners’ weakest offensive position, DH. He made two separate trades with Cleveland, cumulatively trading Shin-Soo Choo and Asdrubal Cabrera for Ben Broussard and Eduardo Perez.

Broussard had 15 homers over a two-year stretch as a part-timer. Perez was out of baseball at season’s end, having hit just one homer in 102 plate appearances with the Mariners.

Cabrera and Choo are the cornerstones of the Indians franchise. If he hadn’t traded them, Bavasi might still be the Mariners’ general manager today.

“We were trying to get better fast,” Bill Bavasi told ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick recently, in an attempt to explain two disastrous 2006 trades that cost the Mariners two young stars. “The 2006 club was sort of starting to get it together and we believed it was important for the players to see we were serious about … maybe not winning … but at least getting better now.”

“Sort of starting to get it together.” Does that sound like any baseball franchise you know?

I’m thinking Zduriencik avoids the Bavasi trap and continues with his rebuilding plan. I’m thinking he holds on to all of the Mariners young hitters, even if he’s offered a solid left field option like the Padres’ Ryan Ludwick. I’m thinking he sees this team for what it is–a great group of guys playing over their heads–but not far enough over to justify reinforcements. And I’m thinking I’ll book that trip to Hawaii.


YourThoughts

  • Pixel13

    Right on, Seth.  Just spot on.  Now, if Geoff Baker would realize this…

  • Pixel13

    Right on, Seth.  Just spot on.  Now, if Geoff Baker would realize this…

  • Anonymous

    Agreed.  Does anybody disagree that this was supposed to be a rebuilding year going in?  I’m as surprised and pleased as anyone the M’s are doing as well in the standings as they are, but that has as much to do with the collective mediocrity that defines the AL West as it does with the lights-out pitching.  This is otherwise the same team we had going in, and I doubt that anyone will argue that the hitters are underachieving.

    You mentioned dealing Choo and Cabrera away.  I would argue that even though Bedard (God love him) has had an outstanding year, we still gave up a future All-Star outfielder, a pretty decent middleman, a potential bottom-of-the-rotation starter and two young arms for him.  That is not receiving par value.  All I’ll say about Woody Woodward dealing Varitek and Lowe to the Red Sox for Slocumb is that (like JFK’s assassination for a lot of people) I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I first heard about it…I won’t repeat what I SAID when I first heard about it…

    Stay the course that was set going in.  This is still not a playoff quality team and (as in 2009) it’s dangerous to assume the pitching is going to be able to totally carry them throughout a 162-game schedule.  Let the younger players continue maturing in Seattle and on the farm, keep waiting for the Nick Franklins and Taijuan Walkers to develop on the farm, and continue drafting prospects like Danny Hultzen in June.  That’s how you build a consistent winner at the major league level with a smaller market team, NOT by trading your future away during a season that has been a total surprise for a team that still has a lot of holes in its everyday lineup.

  • RadioGuy

    Agreed.  Does anybody disagree that this was supposed to be a rebuilding year going in?  I’m as surprised and pleased as anyone the M’s are doing as well in the standings as they are, but that has as much to do with the collective mediocrity that defines the AL West as it does with the lights-out pitching.  This is otherwise the same team we had going in, and I doubt that anyone will argue that the hitters are underachieving.

    You mentioned dealing Choo and Cabrera away.  I would argue that even though Bedard (God love him) has had an outstanding year, we still gave up a future All-Star outfielder, a pretty decent middleman, a potential bottom-of-the-rotation starter and two young arms for him.  That is not receiving par value.  All I’ll say about Woody Woodward dealing Varitek and Lowe to the Red Sox for Slocumb is that (like JFK’s assassination for a lot of people) I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I first heard about it…I won’t repeat what I SAID when I first heard about it…

    Stay the course that was set going in.  This is still not a playoff quality team and it’s dangerous to assume the pitching is going to be able to totally carry them throughout a 162-game schedule.  Let the younger players like Dustin Ackley and Carlos Peguero continue maturing in Seattle, keep waiting for the Nick Franklins and Taijuan Walkers to develop on the farm, and continue drafting prospects like Danny Hultzen in June.  That’s how you build a consistent winner at the major league level with a smaller market team, NOT by trading your future away during a season that has been a total surprise for a team that still has a lot of holes in its everyday lineup.