Getting set for a marathon day of baseball here in Chicago, where, as you can see, there is hardly anyone on the field at the moment because it’s too cold. The Mariners cancelled outdoor hitting today and moved it to the indoor cages.
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Many of you keep asking on Geoff Baker Live! and here on the blog about what Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik will do with his tradeable players — Erik Bedard, Adrian Beltre, Jarrod Washburn, Miguel Batista — if this team gets to July and is still in contention. It’s a fair question and, as Zduriencik admitted to me today when I put it to him, a tough one.
“Honestly, I have really not thought once about July — about what happens in July,” Zduriencik said. “I want to be in this position as we move forward. Being in first place and winning. We’re doing this the right way. I think players need to be happy with it, with how we’re going about things. If you’re this group of players, you’ve got to be excited. They deserve to be where they’re at and things take care of themselves.”
Zduriencik repeated that line several times: about things taking care of themselves.
“My concern is that these guys continue to do what they’ve been doing,” he said. “That’s what I want to see happen. I’m not going to speculate, or even entertain thoughts of July right now. Things will take care of themselves, that’s the way baseball is. Right now, I want this club to win. To win now. This year. And they’ve demonstrated that they can do that. That they can win right now.”
Zduriencik went out of his way to say he’s very impressed by Erik Bedard , but also would not discuss when he’d have to start talks on a long-term deal if his aim is to keep the lefty beyond this year. But I’ll go out on a limb here and say Bedard is much happier with this year’s overall experience. It’s a better clubhouse and the team is winning. Last year, he was traded for five guys, gets parachuted in here with a bunch of expectations riding on his back, gets hurt, then has to live through the experience of “Team Dysfunction” for six months. This year, the pressure’s off, he’s loosened up, the team is a more pleasant environment to be around and folks are starting to realize he really was hurt last year. Bedard could have told some people that he was hurt sooner than he did last year — not the media, necessarily, but at least his own coaches and some teammates. Might have allowed the team itself to get to know him quicker. But that’s water under the bridge now. Things are going well, the team is winning, Bedard’s a big part of it, and he’s a free-agent after this year. If you’re going to think about keeping a guy, giving him a pleasant environment to be around is a good start. Anything else, as Zduriencik says, would be mere speculation on my part.
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April 28, 2009 at 1:07 PM