Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik fired

When something’s been boiling for a while and then it boils over … well, that’s probably when Twitter’s at its very best. Because by then, all the wags have subconsciously been getting ready for the big moment. Case in point: the Friday firing of Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik

… in the wake of which, here’s just a small sampling:

 

 

 

 

 

That last one hits too close to home, as my wife now refuses to spend the night within a mile of the beach. (Thanks a lot, Kathryn Schulz, for writing a true story that might save my life someday.)

I think those tweets are a fair representation of the pathos and pessimism that have been hard-earned over these last … well, it’s been pretty rough sailing for the Mariners since 2003, when they won 93 games for the second straight season (but also failed to reach the postseason for the second straight season, leaving one to wonder how different history might look if the second wild card had existed in those years).

Zduriencik was hired nearly seven years ago, in October of 2008. In his first season at the helm, the M’s improved from 61-101 (their worst record since 1983) to 85-77 (progress!) … before falling right back to 61-101 the next season. And that 85-77 was obviously a mirage, considering the 61-101 record and the negative run differential. Really, Zduriencik’s only qualitatively good season was 2014, wnen the M’s won 87 games and outscored their opponents by 80 runs.

Was that a mirage, too?

Perhaps. Turns out Hisashi Iwakuma’s and Robinson Canó’s production wasn’t sustainable, even if we couldn’t know that before this season. The only truly predictable negative might have been the bullpen’s decline, along with Chris Young’s inability to win another dozen games (because he wasn’t on the roster any more). As we all should remember, before this season the Mariners seemed a pretty decent bet to finish in first place.

Again, the Mariners just fired the man who put together a 25-man roster that was, just five months ago, considered one of the best 25-man rosters in Major League Baseball.

Did he deserve to be fired? That’s a difficult thing to say. I don’t think I was alone in believing, just a little more than a year ago, that Dayton Moore deserved to be fired. He was then in his eighth full season as the Royals’ GM, and they seemed stuck playing .500 baseball. At best.

Well, look at Dayton Moore now.

Jack Z didn’t get as much time as Moore, but then again Jack Z didn’t build the same sort of farm system that Moore built. Call it luck or call it pluck, but ultimately it’s the results that will get you fired, or not. It’s not really so terrible that the M’s 2015 season hasn’t gone well; it’s that there’s so little reason for optimism about 2016 and beyond.

Now that it’s done, Zduriencik’s firing was obviously necessary, if only because it’s now manifestly obvious that Zduriencik had lost the faith of his employers in a way that Moore seemingly never did. Once that faith is gone, you have to either quit or wait for the axe. And it seems Jack chose the axe.