By Shannon Drayer
Jack Zduriencik was able to take time off from apparently trying to acquire everyone (with the newest target being Jason Bay, who according to our own Mike Salk is close to signing with the Mariners) and join “Brock and Salk” Tuesday morning. While there wasn’t a ton of new information, he did say that there has been a lot of interest in his young players, that he wouldn’t characterize any possible deal as close to being done yet and he would not acknowledge reports that he met with Josh Hamilton Sunday night.
“We are doing our due diligence,” was his only comment on the Hamilton topic.
He did, however, hit on a topic I talked about in my previous post that I find interesting. On the meeting with Hamilton I wrote:
The interesting dynamic here is that a meeting with the Mariners is more for the Mariners’ benefit than Hamilton’s. He has been to Seattle countless times. Coming from the AL West he knows plenty about the Mariners. The Mariners, on the other hand, know little about him. They have done their due diligence, and from what I understand, a ton of due diligence in this case, but as he was under contract with the Rangers until after the World Series they couldn’t talk to him. If they have any interest, and they do, this is a guy they want to look in the eyes and to hear from.
How much can you get out of a meeting like this? With millions of dollars hanging in the balance, what can you gather from those minutes that you sit with that player? You sit down with Felix Hernandez and you pretty much know what you have. Josh Hamilton or any other free agent? It is a completely different matter with a player you don’t know.
“It is a challenge, no doubt about it,” Zduriencik said. “The safest and best way to get to know your players is to grow your own. You’ve had them since they were kids coming into the system, you know them. That’s why some players get traded because sometimes an organization feels this guy is not going to work for us.
“The acquiring club, or the club that is getting a free agent? That’s a whole new deck of cards because now you are sitting there with a guy that maybe has played in the major leagues for a while and his motivation factor is somewhat different. Maybe it is the first time he has ever signed a big contract, he is with a new team in a new environment.
“It’s very interesting to see how that whole process unfolds. It’s like your own children. You know your own children the best. When the neighbor’s kids come over you know them and you like them but you may not know them inside out and I think that is the risk you have sometimes when you bring players into your organization.”
Big risks for big dollars. It is a tough thing to weigh, a tough call to make. For Jack Zduriencik it is all part of the job.