Have you ever wondered who the most difficult sports executive to work with was? Well apparently we have our answer, and it’s bad news for Seattle Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik.
A lengthy report by Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi on Monday slams Zduriencik as an indecisive deal-maker who has confounded the rest of Major League Baseball with his tactics in trade discussions. Zduriencik apparently has some kind of trade ADD that often leads him to bailing out on deals at the last minute to focus on others, before returning to his original ideas. By that time, other teams have often moved on.
Here’s the money quote from the article:
To hear rival executives tell it, though, Zduriencik mostly has exasperated trade partners with his negotiating style while trying to guide the M’s to the postseason for the first time since 2001. Those executives say the Mariners frequently inquire on a number of players, only to shift direction when a deal appears within reach.
Such conduct is not unusual for teams navigating the complex trade market. But in numerous conversations, executives from other teams have singled out Zduriencik as one of the most difficult GMs in the sport with whom to do business. Zduriencik’s peers express frustration with his methods – and their complaints are not new.
Wow, that’s a bombshell. Sports executives are typically loathe to call out their peers for fear of blow-back, but these rival execs were not shy about speaking out. On top of that, his peers now claim baseball’s trade market is clogged up mostly because of Seattle’s stalled pursuits of players like Tampa Bay’s David Price, Texas’ Alex Rios and Philadelphia’s Marlon Byrd. Zduriencik can’t make up his mind on deals for those players and everyone is waiting for a resolution one way or the other.
Zduriencik is unsigned beyond this season and while the Mariners have been a big surprise this year, they are also just 3-7 since the All-Star break and are only three games above .500. If he doesn’t make the proper moves to get them to the postseason he could be out of a job soon. He acquired designated hitter Kendry Morales from the Twins last week, but that is all he has accomplished so far.
Rival executives are apparently baffled at Zduriencik’s inability to close deals:
“He has made offers and then pulled back after we have said, ‘This is something we would do,'”one executive said. “He responds (by saying) it wasn’t an offer and that he will need to discuss it with his guys.”
Another executive added, “I don’t always get the sense that he knows what he wants to do. One day, he’s interested in one thing. The next day, he’s interested in another. That’s what makes it challenging.”
A third executive said, “They (the Mariners) don’t set out on a trade saying, ‘Here’s what we need. Let’s do what we can to get him.’ They think, ‘Who can we give up that will never be any good?’ They don’t want to give up anyone who will haunt them. That’s just flat-out fear.”
So basically he’s that friend we all have who will talk up a girl for months but never actually asks her out for fear of rejection. Then he wonders why he’s lonely.
Zduriencik denied all of those reports in an email to FOX Sports, but if everyone seems to agree on how he operates, I sincerely doubt they all just made it up.
This is a serious problem for a Mariners team trying to compete for a playoff spot and I wouldn’t be shocked if Zduriencik is gone after this season.