Nobody really has any idea what this means, other than Jackie Z is getting rewarded for what is really his first successful season as a general manager. Obviously, success is measured by how well your Major League ballclub does, and this year we’re looking at a team that’s 13 games above .500.
I must say, I’ve been quite pleased with the job Z has done this year. The Cano deal looks like a slam dunk, the trade for LoMo has been a vast improvement over Justin Smoak, and the deals at the deadline were reasonable while at the same time not giving away all of our prized young talent.
I probably see these things a little differently than most, but the bottom line is: Kendrys Morales is an improvement over the designated hitters we’ve had here before. Austin Jackson is an improvement over James Jones and Abe Almonte. Chris Denorfia gives us a solid right-handed platoon in right field.
Then, you have to factor in the pitching. The Mariners REALLY got lucky that Randy Wolf threw a hissy fit and walked, thereby opening the door for Chris Young. Nevertheless, Z went out and got him to sign and he’s been a thrilling success story. Same goes for Fernando Rodney, who has been tasked with locking down this bullpen for two years. Joe Beimel was another low-cost prospect who panned out.
At this point, it’s probably easier to look at which moves DIDN’T work, because that number is much smaller. Corey Hart is an obvious disappointment, but you had to like the reasoning behind that signing when it happened. John Buck is a guy who didn’t really work out, but who’s going to put a guy on blast for not hitting on a backup catcher? Willie Bloomquist has been okay, but then he got hurt, and now you wonder why we’d go out and sign him to a 2-year deal when he probably should’ve been had for less. Granted, we needed his versatility as a utility infielder early in the season, but was he ever going to be necessary in 2015?
The point is, after starting out this year at an all-time low as far as fan confidence is concerned, Z has rebounded quite nicely. Cautiously optimistic is probably the phrase I’d use. It doesn’t hurt that some of the younger guys are coming around a little bit (Ackley, for instance, if this thing is indeed for real). I mean, when you’ve got the likes of Smoak, Montero, Ackley up until a few weeks ago, the Fister deal, the Figgins signing, and the 2013 outfield all under your belt … that’s a LOT to recover from! You’d be foolish to revert back to In Jack We Trust again, but for now, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Frankly, it’s as much as he deserves, at least until we see some sustained success over a number of years.
This extension is like giving your teenage child the keys to your car the day they receive their driver’s license. Yeah, you “trust” them, because you have to, but that doesn’t mean you’re not constantly worried for your car’s safety every moment they’re out there alone on those city streets.