Entering play Friday, the Seattle Mariners sit at 56-65, almost ten games behind the Houston Astros in the west and seven games out of the second Wild Card spot.
They've definitely not delivered on the preseason promise that most saw in the club, and general manager Jack Zduriencik counts himself among those 'disappointed' by the season so far.
In a chat with the media on Thursday, Jack Z. pulled no punches in making his perspective crystal clear.
As quoted by MLB.com's Greg Johns, "Everybody's disappointed," Zduriencik told the group. "But it's not a time to quit. It's not a time for a player to say, 'Well, you know what? I'm not having a good year.' It's time for a player to say, 'I've got six weeks left to go. I've got something to prove here.'"
Zduriencik has shared his thoughts on his team's frustrations all season long, such as in May when he said the players 'have got to figure it out' (they didn't) and when he basically said there would be no more major roster adjustments in late June. Despite his frank talks with the club, he emphasized his efforts to encourage the players and staff. Said Zduriencik to Johns and the assembled media, "It's a tough business, a tough job. These guys have enough pressure on them every single day that they don't need to be looking at the general manager who's panicking."
Seattle's continued struggles prompted some to point fingers in Zduriencik's direction, implying that he is principally responsible for their inability to be a true contending team. Zduriencik addressed that thought on Thursday as well, touching briefly on the idea that he'd be removed from his position after the year (rumors that have circulated lately).
On that topic, Shannon Drayer of 710 ESPN Seattle quoted him as follows:
"Quite frankly I don't pay a lot of attention to it. If you were engrossed in what people are saying or what somebody thinks what is going on when they don't have all the information, that can sidetrack you. It can affect your way of thinking. as a result. I've got eyes, I can see what is going on here. I know what has not worked and what should be working and isn't. For me to focus on any outside distractions that are unrelated to what I know, there's nothing I can do about that."
He also extended a vote of confidence in manager Lloyd McClendon, instead putting some of the blame of this season's problems on 'underperforming players'.
For now, the Mariners have to finish out the year. Judging by Zduriencik's words, it might behoove some of those 'underperforming' players to pick up the pace a bit if they want to stick around in the future.
(h/t MLB.com, My Northwest)
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