“Seattle Mariners 2012,” Jack Zduriencik, General Manager, Seattle
The program about current Seattle Mariner news, updates, gossip, etc. was given by Jack Zduriencik, Executive Vice President & GM of Mariner’s Operations. Also on hand to provide information was Kevin Mather, Executive Vice President of Finance & Ballpark Operations.
Jack Zduriencik conceded that although the last couple of seasons have been tough, there are “better days ahead!” He explained that the Mariners are building for the long-term and expanded on that statement by saying that drafting a player at the age of 17,18, or even 20 — it takes a while for them to mature into their potential. Often, there may be a 5-7 year lag between the year they are drafted and when they really come into their own and show their true potential. Last season the Mariners had 18 rookies – the most of any major league team!! They had the youngest club in the division. Drafting players when they are young; however, gives the fan base an opportunity to really get to know the players. Likewise, the players develop a real sense of loyalty to the community and the fans over the long run. It is a process in which he wants the team to be a meaningful and valuable part of the Seattle community. This well-established foundation ties in fans emotionally as we watch the young players become seasoned professionals.
Kevin Mather makes the introduction.
The Mariners have signed some new talent recently. Munenori Kawasaki, an eight-time All-Star infielder in Japan’s Pacific League, officially signed with the Mariners on Wednesday, January 11th, as a Minor League free agent with an invitation to the club’s Major League camp in spring training. Hisashi Iwakuma, one of the premier pitchers in Japan over the past decade, signed a one-year deal with the Mariners and will compete for a spot in the club’s starting rotation when spring training opens. Returning to Seattle, veteran left-handed reliever George Sherrill has passed his physical and signed a one-year deal with the Mariners. The Mariners are still looking for a solid batter and Jack Zduriencik assured us that finding that player to fill the roster is a priority.
More efforts to improve the club include the challenge that’s been made to all of the Mariners — to become better athletes, healthier, more “total” players, and to get involved in the community.
Another effort to find talent in the future lies in the Dominican Republic. Kevin Mather has taken a lead in the project to build an academy there that will be state of the art and help to accumulate talent in the Dominican Republic for later recruitment by the Mariners.
President John Martinka thanks Jack Zduriencik for his presentation.
A source of inspiration for the Mariners, the team’s manager, Eric Wedge, is described by Jack Zduriencik as “an intense, good, tough guy who is a leader and the players respond.” He likened his mannerisms to Johnny Cash and John Wayne. “It’s about the connection – he feels like he can make anyone better. He is positive and believes in every player – that they will get better.”
As a “thank you” for speaking, BBRC President John Martinka, presented Jack Kduriencik with a gift of 1,000 pounds of produce to be given to Rotary First Harvest in his name.