For the second day in a row, the team making the biggest news splash on Saturday was the Seattle Mariners. Unlike Friday's blockbuster signing of Robinson Cano, yesterday's story wasn't a transaction, it was a blistering report on the inner workings of the team's front office, written by Seattle Times reporter Geoff Baker. The story, which came about after dozens of people were interviewed, including recently departed manager Eric Wedge, makes team president Chuck Armstrong, CEO Howard Lincoln, and especially general manger Jack Zduriencik look terrible. The biggest reveals come from Tony Blengino, who until recently worked for the team and had been Zduriencik's top assistant.
Choice quotes include:
- "All I've done is exactly what I said I was going to do and all you've done is the exact opposite."
- "Jack never has understood one iota about statistical analysis. To this day, he evaluates hitters by homers, RBI and batting average and pitchers by wins and ERA."
- "I'm not going to stand by and let them treat other human beings the way they treat human beings."
Go and read the story, it's a doozy, and Baker is to be commended for pulling it all together.
Lookout Landing observes that the timing for this couldn't be any worse, as the Winter Meetings are about to begin, and this is the story baseball people will be talking about. Will the Mariners now find it more difficult to make other moves to continue improving the team, at a critical point when they've just committed nearly a quarter of a billion dollars to Cano, but still need to add talent in order to complete?
There's also an Indians angle, as Wedge of course, used to manage to the Tribe. Near the end of the story comes this:
His experience was "night and day" from managing in Cleveland, where Indians president Mark Shapiro, GM Chris Antonetti and others "care about the right things."
"Neither one played, but they know and respect the game," Wedge said. "They respect how hard the game is. They know how to communicate and they're smart people."
So we've got that going for us, which is nice.
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There weren't many notable transactions Saturday (Friday used up the entire weekend's supply, I suppose). The biggest was probably the Astros signing relief pitcher Chad Qualls to a 2-year, $6 million deal, with a team option for $3.5 million in 2016.
Hot stove chatter on Twitter includes reports that...
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MLB.com's Jim Callis writes that the 2014 draft class is deeper than most, and filled with pitching talent. The top player at this point is considered to be North Carolina State lefty Carlos Rodon. The bats are there too, as one AL scouting director says, "I can't remember a time when there was this much power available."
The Indians currently hold the #23 pick (but that could change, depending on what happens with players who declined qualifying offers) and 3 of the top 50 picks.