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October 24, 2008 at 10:47 AM

Zduriencik wants “guys who are winners”

New Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik just wrapped up his news conference at Safeco Field. He was short on specifics, saying he wants to get to know the team and its personnel first. But he did give some hints about where he’s leaning.
On the subject of a new manager, he spelled out what he’s looking for in his ideal candidates:
“What you’re looking for is, you’re looking for guys who want to achieve,” he said. “You’re looking for guys who are winners, and you’re looking for guys who have a track record of success.”
That would seem to preclude any current bench coaches who’ve yet to manage elsewhere. But then again, it depends on how one defines “success.” A bench coach like Brad Mills in Boston has certainly achieved success and has the rings to prove it. But it didn’t sound like that was the candidate Zduriencik was describing.
On the issue of whether longtime employees like Lee Pelekoudas will be sticking around, Zduriencik wasn’t specifically asked about him. But he did say, “if you have good people here right now, you let them run with it.”
Also, he placed focus on the “general” part of being a general manager. Meaning he isn’t specializing in any one specific area and will need others to handle specifics.
On the issue of leadership, in and outside the clubhouse, he said: “I think the manager sets the tone. If you look at an army … you have a general. But that general has his lieutenants as well.”
Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln attempted to fend off critics who suggest he and team president Chuck Armstrong will be heavily involved in influencing Zduriencik’s decisions.
“This is a tough, seasoned executive,” Lincoln said. “He’s been around this game a long time. He is going to make the decisions. Jack Zduriencik is the man who is going to be making the baseball decisions for the Seattle Mariners.”
Zduriencik adds that he expects to have “as much autonomy as anyone in baseball.”
We’ll see. Zduriencik expects to be competitive in 2009, but he cautions that it has to be done right. A tough job lies ahead.

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