Jack Zduriencik

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Jack Zduriencik
Jack Zduriencik 2011.jpg
Zduriencik in 2011
Born (1951-01-11) January 11, 1951 (age 64)
New Castle, Pennsylvania
Nationality American
Alma mater California University of Pennsylvania
Occupation General Manager

John A. “Jack” Zduriencik (/zɜrˈɛnsɪk/; born January 11, 1951) is the former General Manager of Major League Baseball's Seattle Mariners.

Career[edit]

Zduriencik began his career in professional baseball as a second baseman in the Chicago White Sox farm system. From 1973 to 1974, he spent time playing for both the Gulf Coast White Sox and the Appleton Foxes.[1]

Following his playing career, Zduriencik spent several years as a coach for both baseball and football. His coaching tour included stops at Austin Peay State University (1975–77), Clairton High School (PA, 1977–80), and Tarpon Springs High School (FL, 1980–82).[2]

Zduriencik returned to professional baseball in 1983. Successive roles involving scouting and player development comprised most of the next two-plus decades of his experience, as he spent time in the positions of:

Zduriencik was so successful in Milwaukee that many observers felt that he deserved a large part of the credit for the Brewers' eventual return to playoff contention in 2008. Brewers General Manager Doug Melvin praised Zduriencik's efforts when he was quoted as saying:

"No doubt about it, he deserves almost all the credit for the young players we have. The players he has drafted are making an impact at the big league level." [3]

In recognition of his success with the Brewers, Baseball America made Zduriencik the first non-GM to receive their Major League Executive of the Year Award in 2007.[3]

In October 2008, following a dismal season and the firing of GM Bill Bavasi, the Seattle Mariners announced the hiring of Zduriencik as the franchise's new General Manager. Many critics hailed this as the correct move for an organization that had become the first team to ever lose 100 games while shouldering a player payroll of more than $100 million.[4]

At an October 2008 press conference following his hiring, Zduriencik got right to the point in introducing his philosophy going forward in Seattle:

“I'd love to have guys with good makeup and good character, committed to the city and the ballclub. But, when all is said and done, talent wins.”[5]

One of Zduriencik's first moves was hiring Don Wakamatsu, the first Asian-American manager in MLB history. Next, during the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada, Zduriencik made a remarkable three-team, 12-player trade that sent star closer J. J. Putz to the New York Mets as well as prospect second baseman Luis Valbuena to the Cleveland Indians but netted outfielders Franklin Gutierrez and Endy Chávez and first baseman Mike Carp, a prospect in the Mets' organization, as well as starting pitcher prospect Jason Vargas. During the beginning of spring training Zdurienck signed Mariners fan favorite Ken Griffey Jr. to a one-year deal.

After an 85-77 finish in 2009, Zduriencik's teams slumped to 61-101 in 2010, 67-95 in 2011, 75-87 in 2012, and 71-91 in 2013.

On December 7, 2013, Seattle Times columnist Geoff Baker wrote a scathing article about Zduriencik, quoting past employees to show that he is difficult to work with. He was accused of lying about knowledge of Josh Lueke's criminal past before a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays. He is also accused of lying on his original job application that he has an advanced knowledge of and fondness for contemporary baseball Sabermetrics of the Billy Beane mold, knowing that it would be beneficial in getting him hired.

[Actually, an employee whom Zduriencik fired, Tony Blengino, made the claim that he, not Zduriencik, falsified Jack's resume, according to Baker's article in the Seattle Times: "Blengino, who was working for the Milwaukee Brewers with Zduriencik at the time, said he authored virtually the entire job application package Zduriencik gave the Mariners in 2008, depicting a dual-threat candidate melding traditional scouting with advanced statistical analysis."[6]

Asked to respond to accusations by former manager Eric Wedge and Blengino, Zduriencik said: “I am aware of some of the comments of former members of our baseball operations group, and I find them unjust, misleading and one-sided. I don’t believe the airing of ‘dirty laundry’ should take place in the public arena, so I am not going to talk about internal meetings, daily conversations and personnel decisions.”[7]

Zduriencik subsequently issued a public statement in response to the accusations in Baker's column. The statement read in part: "I can also say that our current statistical analysis group is doing excellent work. Our dedicated staff and the tools they are using are a key component in our decision making process, and are light years ahead of where we have been. I am engaged with their work on a daily basis and very excited in the improvements made.

"We have never deviated from our rebuilding plan. We have stayed the course, and we now have a talented group of young players. We are hard at work looking into every option to add to this core group, as we said we would, and we are looking forward to 2014 and beyond."[8]

Zduriencik's assertion that advanced metrics have always been part of his office's player evaluation process seems to be borne out by his 2009 hire of Jeff Kingston to be his Assistant General Manager. Kingston's grounding in advanced metrics was noted in a 2009 article in the Dickinson Magazine published by his alma mater: "Much of Kingston’s research involves Sabermetrics, a scientific statistical analysis of players and teams designed to project future performance."[9] In addition, the Mariners' Baseball Operations Analyst, Wesley Battle, and Quantitative Analyst, Jesse Smith, bring a sabermetric perspective to their work with the club's front office. In 2014, the Mariners enjoyed an 87-win season, an improvement of 16 wins over the previous year's total, and missed the playoffs by a single game.]

On August 26, 2014, the Mariners extended Zduriencik's contract to a multi-year deal, based on the positive performance of the team in the 2014 season. Club President Kevin Mather believes the Mariners are "In position to be a contender for many years to come" and thinks Jack is making "valiant effort".

The Mariners fired Zduriencik on August 28, 2015.[10]

Education[edit]

Zduriencik earned a bachelor's degree in education at California University of Pennsylvania, followed by a master's degree in physical education at Austin Peay State University.[2]

Personal[edit]

Nicknamed "Trader Jack", Jack is married to Debbie Zduriencik. They have one daughter, Kimberly.[2] He is also an alumnus of Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Jack Zduriencik". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2008-10-26. 
  2. ^ a b c d Jim Street (2008-10-22). "Mariners tab Zduriencik as new GM". Seattle Mariners. Major League Baseball. Retrieved 2008-10-26. 
  3. ^ a b Tom Haudricourt (2007-12-03). "Zduriencik Named Top Executive". Baseball America. Retrieved 2008-10-26. 
  4. ^ Tyler Hissey (2008-06-16). "Firing Bavasi Right Move". Scout.com. Retrieved 2008-10-26. 
  5. ^ Larry Stone (2008-10-25). ""No-nonsense" Jack Zduriencik faces many decisions as he takes over as Mariners GM". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2008-10-26. 
  6. ^ "Dysfunction at the top: Eric Wedge, others point to trouble in Mariners’ front office" | http://www.seattletimes.com/sports/mariners/dysfunction-at-the-top-eric-wedge-others-point-to-trouble-in-marinersrsquo-front-office/
  7. ^ "Dysfunction at the top: Eric Wedge, others point to trouble in Mariners’ front office" | http://www.seattletimes.com/sports/mariners/dysfunction-at-the-top-eric-wedge-others-point-to-trouble-in-marinersrsquo-front-office/
  8. ^ "Statement from Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik" | http://blogs.seattletimes.com/mariners/2013/12/09/mariners-statement-from-general-manager-jack-zduriencik/
  9. ^ "Batter Up: Jeff Kingston '99 scores as a major-league baseball executive." | http://www2.dickinson.edu/magazine/article.cfm?article=330
  10. ^ http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/13531550/seattle-mariners-fire-gm-jack-zduriencik

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Lee Pelekoudas
Seattle Mariners General Manager
2009–2015
Succeeded by
Jeff Kingston (interim)