Mariners fire general manager Jack Zduriencik

Aug 28, 2015, 8:33 AM | Updated: Aug 31, 2015, 12:22 pm
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The Mariners have fired Jack Zduriencik, who has been the team's general manager since 2009. (AP)
(AP)

The Mariners have fired general manager Jack Zduriencik, bringing to an end a tenure that began with promise but instead is closing in on its seventh season without a playoff appearance.

The team made the announcement Friday morning. Assistant general manager Jeff Kingston will handle GM responsibilities for the remainder of the season.

Related: M’s president Kevin Mather on firing Zduriencik

Mariners president Kevin Mather called the team’s performance this season “very disappointing” in the press release announcing Zduriencik’s firing. But appearing on 710 ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Salk” Friday morning, Mather said the decision was about not just the 2015 season but also a need for a change in the leadership of the Mariners’ baseball operations department.

“This team is better than when Jack took over but we’re not getting to meaningful baseball in October, and that’s where our goal is and that’s where we intend to end up,” Mather said. “I had a tough conversation with Jack Zduriencik this morning and he handled it first class.”

The Mariners entered the season with what appeared to be their best team since Zduriencik became the general manager in 2009. Some even predicted Seattle to reach the World Series, but as of Friday Seattle was 10 games under .500 and fourth place in the American League West with only the slimmest chances of reaching the postseason.

Zduriencik’s firing is a matter of course, a move that many – including 710 ESPN Seattle’s Mike Salk – had been calling for.

Zduriencik was considered one of baseball’s top talent evaluators when he came to Seattle, a reputation he had earned by hitting on so many draft picks during his time as an executive in the Milwaukee Brewers organization.

But there were far more misses than hits with the Mariners, who were routinely picking near the top of the draft by virtue of poor finishes the year before. The Mariners either struggled or failed in just about every other aspect of team building under Zduriencik, including trades, free-agent signings and player development.

The result was a 505-595 (.459) record as of Friday. That included only two winning seasons and three with 90 losses or more. The most games Seattle won under Zduriencik was 87 in 2014.

Said Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln: “On behalf of our ownership group, I want to thank Jack for his loyalty and hard work over the years, and for the quiet dignity with which he has carried himself. During his tenure, Jack was dedicated to building a winning team, and at the same time, has embodied the Mariners commitment to the community by supporting many charities and causes, and making a difference in our community. We wish Jack and his lovely wife Debbie all the best.”

Mather told “Brock and Salk” that the Mariners decided to fire Zduriencik now as opposed to waiting until the end of the season so that the organization could get a head start on finding his replacement.

“It was a tough morning and the search starts,” Mather said. “We’re going to find a general manager that can lead this organization. As I’ve said consistently, give me 85 to 92, 93 wins every year and I’ll take my chances in the playoffs. We’re looking to play meaningful baseball in October, and today was a tough day but a start to get there.”

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