By Shannon Drayer
So, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com, a big league executive is frustrated that Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik did not unload a number of his one-year players at the deadline to help another club make a run.
"What the heck is Jack doing?" one exasperated executive on a "buyer" team asked Wednesday morning. "What he's asking for -- it's crazy. He should be able to move any of those three guys. They could all be the final touch on somebody's roster. But with every one of them, it's always, 'If somebody wants to blow us away ...' In this era, with all the parity in baseball today, why would any team want to risk giving up a premium prospect for a rental player? But that's what he asked for. It's crazy."
They could be the final touch on somebody's roster. Yep. The Mariners were just a holding pen for these guys until someone else needed them.
Why would any team want to risk giving up a premium prospect for a rental player? Therein lies the rub. That player may be a rental player to the opposing executive but he isn't to Zduriencik and it's Zduriencik who sets the price. Why would he price as a rental player someone who can bring back a draft pick or possibly be coaxed into staying and be an integral part of the future let alone continue to set what he deems a positive example for the young players and help win games over the final months of the season?
Kendrys Morales, Raul Ibanez and to a perhaps to a lesser extent Michael Morse are hardly rental players to Zduriencik.
It is so interesting to hear these national perspectives. Why wouldn't Zduriencik give up one these players -- who he clearly values and clearly has a plan for -- to get another Trayvon Robinson or Eric Thames? Francisco Martinez, anyone? I have heard fans lament that the Mariners are just a farm club for the rest of MLB, but apparently others within the game feel the same.
Well, that's not the case. The fact of the matter is Zduriencik has put himself in the position for that to not have to be the case.
"There's a point where you say, 'I am giving up big-league players for players down the road that you have your fingers crossed,'" he said Wednesday shortly after the trade deadline. "We've done that."
You make those quantity over possible quality trades when you need lots of pieces. You do that when you are trying to build a farm system. The farm system is built and Zduriencik is no longer dealing in that currency. Zduriencik did not have to trade those players.
Much like he never had to trade Felix Hernandez and that was a common assumption outside of Seattle for years: Felix will never sign. The Mariners can't afford him. They have to get something for him.
How did that turn out?