Posted December 10, 2013

Former manager Eric Wedge blasts Mariners front office in Seattle Times story

Seattle Mariners
Jack Zduriencik, Mariners

The Mariners have had four straight losing seasons under GM Jack Zduriencik. (Elaine Thompson/AP)

Former manager Eric Wedge and more than two dozen past and present baseball operations employees issued a scathing indictment of the Mariners’ front office in an article by The Seattle Times‘ Geoff Baker published on Saturday. Taking aim at general manager Jack Zduriencik, chief executive officer Howard Lincoln and outgoing team president Chuck Armstrong, who is set to retire on Jan. 31, Wedge, who managed the team from 2011-13 and resigned at the end of the 2013 season, accused the organization of “total dysfunction and a lack of leadership.”

Among former employees who spoke to Baker were Tony Blengino, a former special assistant to Zduriencik in both Milwaukee and Seattle who was demoted last winter and let go after the 2013 season, former professional scouting director Carmen Fusco, who was fired in September 2010, and former top Latin American scout Patrick Guerrero, who was fired in September 2012. Blengino’s criticisms include the accusation that he, not Zduriencik, prepared the job application package that got Zduriencik hired as the Mariners’ GM in October 2008.

“Jack portrayed himself as a scouting/stats hybrid because that’s what he needed to get the job . . . But Jack never has understood one iota about statistical analysis. To this day, he evaluates hitters by homers, RBI and batting average and pitchers by wins and ERA. Statistical analysis was foreign to him. But he knew he needed it to get in the door.”

Blengino says that his relationship with Zduriencik began to deteriorate after Seattle suffered a 101-loss season in 2010, saying, “Jack tried to destroy me.” He goes on to paint a damning portrait of Zduriencik’s way of doing business over the last two seasons.

“He began operating much like the Wizard of Oz, wielding his power from behind a curtain. . . . Intimidating, manipulating, and pitting people against one another. Berating them for no particular reason. He set out to eliminate any type of disagreement, accumulating yes-men who meekly go along with his program.”

Guerrero echoed the yes-man criticism, while an anonymous current scout added, “They’ve humiliated people they’ve let go . . . and the ones still here hate it. They hate the way they’re treated.”

Wedge also detailed interference from Lincoln and Armstrong, including their demands that the team’s top pitchers, including Felix Hernandez, throw live batting practice between starts, and that the team take early fielding practice this past September despite being worn down by the long season. Wedge, who said he received no support from Zduriencik on such matters, refused to comply with either request. “If I did what they wanted,” Wedge said, “it would be a joke of an organization.”

Reached for comment by Baker, Armstrong declined to respond to the criticisms. Lincoln said Wedge “mischaracterized much of what occurred.” Zduriencik called criticisms “unjust, misleading and one-sided.”

Baker’s report was published just one day after the Mariners signed Robinson Cano to a 10-year, $240 million contract that ranks as the third-largest in major league history and after a season in which the Mariners, despite losing 91 games, debuted many of their best prospects, including starting pitchers Taijuan Walker and James Paxton, catcher Mike Zunino, second baseman Nick Franklin (now displaced by Cano) and shortstop Brad Miller, all of whom were drafted under Zduriencik’s leadership.

25 comments
nikedunks13
nikedunks13

somebody call the waaaaaaaaaaaaambulance.  Wedge is so butt hurt that they didn't give him an extension

yeahisaiditsowhathuh
yeahisaiditsowhathuh

If failing to rape Sac out of their NBA team wasn't bad enough, now Seattle baseball fools are exposed.  To the person, they all should be eviscerated...Sliced, diced, and tossed out the door.


The only team in town worthwhile are the Seahawks who, on the other end of the scale, are just flat-out kicking the s#hit outta the rest of the league.   

PaulKelly
PaulKelly

This team s 27,000 short each game for attendance. If Cano fills the place with the missing 27,000 at the average fan expenditure of $58 per person (low estimate by the way) times 81 games, that is $126,846,000.00 extra income. In two years they have their money back and Cano is still hanging around literally for free. Maybe he will be good maybe not. How can this be a bad deal when he will bring in MONEY, immediately. If he plays well the apparel sales will be icing on the cake. If he plays huge, the sales around the league will be the whole bakery. It's really just tough nuts for all the rest of the league, they do not have to offer ludicrous contracts for average players but now they all have their noses in the air in a snit.  Just keep in mind, this league has a cap and a stifling tax if they go over. I know there are a bunch of ifs in this  scenario and I doubt Cano will be a shadow of himself in the later years of the contract but the short term is excellent and sets the Mariners up for the future.  

William27
William27

I wish I could wish him the worst of personal luck.

and do it to his face.

William27
William27

how can jack who seems to be totally inept at his job keep it so long and make so much money. there must be hundreds of people that could do a better job !!!!!!!!!!!

Jed1
Jed1

Just like every pro sports franchise, the team is a reflection of its ownership. A fish rots from the head down.

DougBeers
DougBeers

So is ownership going to respond other than some bs politically correct statement of support?


rentistoohigh
rentistoohigh

“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.”


(lifted from the Wiki)


----the philosophy of many a last place GM...hide the checkbook from him...right now !

RuKdingMe
RuKdingMe

If these guys want to portray Zduriencik as an idiot they just need to point to the Cano contract which was at least $60M more than anyone else was willing to pay.

2001mark
2001mark

Jockin' Jay-Z, Jockin' Jay-Z, Jockin Jay-Z, Jockin Jay-Z... Jockin' Jockin Jockin' Jay-Z!  

Only 12 more years to go.  Then Cano can etch his monument in Yankee Sta...ahhh sorry no dice.  


Mo Money Mo Problems :P

JANigro
JANigro

Cano will soon rue the day he became a Mariner!!

tonybot3
tonybot3

I don't get Blengino preparing the job application for the guy, but then later holding it against him.  Seems like he did it in the first place because there was some sort of relationship there... If its gone now, don't have sour grapes, as it is partly your own fault.

tracejuno
tracejuno

The M's don't have a formula for success? No way!

Papi Del Negro..... Dont ask
Papi Del Negro..... Dont ask

A perfect mirror example of both corporate and political America. Ironic how sports can reflect society sometimes.

DODGERFAIL2013
DODGERFAIL2013

what moron is wanting their elite pitchers to throw live batting practice during the season?  just so rich kids can play with their toys live and in person whenever they want?


terrible organization.  even ken griffey jr. walked out mid-season in his final year.

Bobnipotent
Bobnipotent

@yeahisaiditsowhathuh Your lack of understanding of the Sacramento Kings situation is telling, but you got the rest right.  M's brass, all the way up, needs to go.

rennis2427
rennis2427

@PaulKelly HAHAHAHAHA Love it. That is exactly the government see's how these bailouts will work.

LeeMorrell
LeeMorrell

@RuKdingMe Forget the $60m...it's the 3 extra years.  The Yankees offered more money (per year) over 7 years but JayZ, errrr, Cano wanted the 10 years...

PWINGS
PWINGS

Maybe not. If Cano had wanted to be part of a better organization, he could have signed elsewhere for less money. Of course, his reasoning may have have been simply that expressed by Latrell Sprewell a few years ago: "Hey, I got a family to feed!"

eddie767
eddie767

@DODGERFAIL2013 You said it,if KGjr left you know there's a problem. He loved Seatle and they used him. Until the owners realize,you can't run a bb org.like a corp.they will continue to fail.