Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik's Seven Best Moves So Far
After the 2008 season, the Mariners fired GM Bill Bavasi and hired Jack Zduriencik.
Led by GM Jack Zduriencik, the Mariners made bold moves over the last couple of years to make them the favorite to win the AL West in 2010.
This is a look at the seven best moves JZ has orchestrated as Seattle GM.
Feel free to agree or disagree in the comments section.
7. Carlos Silva for Milton Bradley
A lot of people might disagree with this one making the list, but just hear me out.
Some M's fans might not like the idea of bringing the controversial Milton Bradley to Seattle.
But I think you got to love it.
Starting pitcher Carlos Silva was doing nothing. He was eating up money (no pun intended) and giving up loads of runs whenever he actually pitched.
Now he's gone and the Mariners acquired an All-Star from just two years ago to bolster their offense.
Sure this could backfire but I doubt it could ever be worse than the Silva fiasco.
Worst case scenario, Bradley acts up and he is quickly benched/cut to avoid any trouble.
But, he very well could have another All-Star season or even if he has an above average season for him it would be a major boost.
So answer this question, would you rather have Silva or Bradley on your team?
My answer is Bradley and my prediction is that he will play a key role in the Mariners' success in 2010.
6. Hiring of Don Wakamatsu
In 2009, Wakamatsu's first season as manager, the Mariners improved by 24 wins.
I personally do not believe the Mariners were actually an 85-win team.
It seems to me Wakamatsu was the perfect fit for Seattle and led an average team to 12 games over .500.
People around the league saw that too as he finished fourth in AL Manager of the Year voting in 2009.
This previously unknown coach could be the perfect manager to lead the M's to postseason success in 2010 and many years after that.
5. David Aardsma
In January 2009, Zduriencik traded for relief pitcher David Aardsma from the Boston Red Sox for only a minor league pitcher.
This move didn't cause much excitement at first.
But people started realizing just how good this move was when DA took over as the Mariners closer during the 2009 season.
Aardsma was lights out during the season posting 38 saves, which was good for fourth in the American League.
Imagine how good he'll be now that he will spend the whole season as the M's closer.
4. Trading for Franklin Gutierrez
Franklin Gutierrez never made much of an impact with the Cleveland Indians.
But since coming to Seattle, Gutierrez has been electric.
With phenomenal defense and an above average bat, Gutierrez instantly became a fan favorite.
Plus, Seattle only gave up J.J. Putz, Jeremy Reed, and Sean Green, none of whom have been sorely missed.
This guy is definitely one of the centerpieces of the Mariners' makeover and should play a big part in the M's success for many season to come.
3. Felix Hernandez's Contract Extension
In 2009, Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez went 19-5 and finished second in the AL Cy Young voting.
If he hadn't turned heads around the league before, in 2009 he most surely did.
So instead of waiting for the greedy Yankees or Red Sox to try to lure him away in the free agent market, Zduriencik took the initiative to lock him up for the next five years.
Hernandez is only 23 and hopefully he will enjoy a long career with the M's and maybe bring them a few championships.
2. Signing of Chone Figgins
In my opinion this may have been the best move by JZ and it's tough for me not to put it No. 1.
Chone Figgins is one of the best top of the order hitters in baseball. Ichiro may be the only one better than him.
Now they're both on the same team.
The M's won't lose anything on defense after Gold Glover Adrian Beltre left town and they surely will get more offensive production.
Plus, the Mariners took him from their division rival Los Angeles Angels.
No matter what it's a great move if you take a player from a rival and add him to your team.
It's all the more impressive when that player was one of the top players on the other team.
1. The Cliff Lee Trade
This move has got to be one of the greatest trades ever made by a team.
The Mariners got a Cy Young pitcher, who is probably top five in all of baseball, without losing anything at the big league level.
Sure, Lee will most likely only be around for a year unless Seattle wants to pay big money.
But with a one-two punch of Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee, I don't see anyone being able to top the Mariners in the AL West.
This moves also allows the Mariners to go further in the postseason and match up more favorably against the perennial powers like the Yanks and BoSox.
Bravo to Zduriencik for this one.