In the middle of road trip nearing the end of a spectacularly lost season, Jack Zduriencik was fired Friday morning as Mariners general manager, ending a seven-year tenure that produced two winning seasons, no playoffs and much player personnel controversy.
The Mariners made the announcement in a release that included this statement from president Kevin Mather:
“We have reached the point when change of leadership of our baseball operations is needed for the Seattle Mariners to reach our goal of winning championships. We are very disappointed with the results this season, and are not satisfied with the current operation. The search for a permanent general manager will begin immediately, and while there is no deadline, we expect to have a new GM in place as soon as practical.
We have great respect for Jack and his work ethic. He was an excellent representative of the Mariners both within the game of baseball and in the community. On behalf of the entire organization, I wish him and (his wife) Debbie all the best, and thank him for all his efforts.”
Jeff Kingston, assistant GM since 2009, was appointed to handle GM duties for the rest of the regular season.
Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln also had a statement:
“On behalf of our ownership group, I want to thank Jack for his loyalty and hard work over the years, and for the quiet dignity with which he has carried himself. During his tenure, Jack was dedicated to building a winning team, and at the same time, has embodied the Mariners commitment to the community by supporting many charities and causes, and making a difference in our community. We wish Jack and his lovely wife Debbie all the best.”
Zduriencik was hired in October 2008 from the Milwaukee Brewers, where he spent nine seasons, including his last position as assistant GM for player personnel. He succeeded Bill Bavasi, fired in midseason of 2008.
Bavasi’s five-year tenure had a record of 359 wins, 451 losses.
For the first five years under Zduriencik, the Mariners had a record of 359 wins, 451 losses.
But Zduriencik’s team won 87 games last year, leading to forecasts of playoffs and even a World Series for the 2015 team. But it has been a roaring disappointment, ending for practical purposes at the July 31 trade deadline when the best healthy reliever, Mark Lowe, was dealt for prospects. The Mariner have struggled in August to find major league caliber relief pitchers to finish the season.
Kingston spent nine years working with the San Diego Padres, serving the final seven seasons as director of baseball operations.
More to come on the story.