The Seattle Mariners hired Milwaukee Brewers executive Jack Zduriencik as new general manager Wednesday.
Jack Zduriencik, credited with turning the Milwaukee Brewers from also-rans to a playoff team, was named the Mariners’ new general manager Wednesday.
Zduriencik, 57, has been in the Brewers’ organization for nine years, serving as their vice president and special assistant to the general manager for player personnel since January 2008.
He had headed the Brewers’ scouting department since being hired on Oct. 25, 1999, and is responsible for drafting the core of the NL’s wild-card team, including Prince Fielder, J.J. Hardy, Ryan Braun, Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks. Another of his draftees, outfielder Matt LaPorta, was used as a trade chip to acquire Cleveland’s C.C. Sabathia, who led their playoff run.
Zduriencik (pronounced zur-EN-sik) will be introduced at a news conference on Friday, an off-day in the World Series. Teams need special permission from the commissioner to make major announcements during the World Series.
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Zduriencik, 57, succeed Bill Bavasi, who was fired in June, and was chosen over finalists Kim Ng (assistant GM, Dodgers), Tony LaCava (assistant GM, Blue Jays) and Jerry DiPoto (player personnel director, Diamandbacks).
Zduriencik was originally hired by since-fired Milwaukee GM Dean Taylor and retained by his successor, Doug Melvin, who has called the decision to keep Zduriencik one of the best he has made.
“I am very excited by this opportunity,” Zduriencik said in a news release issued by the Mariners. “Seattle is an outstanding organization with great fans, a great ballpark and an ownership group committed to the goal of bringing a World Series to the Northwest.
“I believe that working together, we can make the Mariners a model franchise. I am looking forward to getting to work immediately, and developing a plan to reach our goal.”
Zduriencik, who was a finalist last year to become GM of his hometown Pittsburgh Pirates, has been in major league baseball for 25 years, working for the Dodgers (director of international scouting (1999), two stints with the Mets (area scout, 1983-89; scouting cross-checker, 1990, 1994-95; and minor-league operations director, 1996-97; special assistant to the GM 1998) and serving as director of scouting for the Pirates (1991-93).
He was named Executive of the Year by Baseball America after the 2007 season, the first non-GM ever to win the award.
“Today is a very exciting day for the Mariners,” team president Chuck Armstrong said in the Mariners’ release announcing the decision, which they’ve mulled over for four days since conducting the second round of interviews.
“We have spent the past several months looking at a very complete list of potential candidates to become our new general manager. The individuals we interviewed for the position were excellent. We believe Jack is the best person to provide a new approach and to lead our baseball operations. He has a proven track record of recognizing talent, both on the field and in the front office.”
Howard Lincoln, the Mariners’ CEO, said: “Jack is extremely well-respected throughout baseball. His track record in recognizing and developing young talent in Milwaukee was instrumental in the Brewers’ steady improvement over the past several seasons. I am very excited about the passion and leadership he will bring to our organization.”
Lincoln also praised Lee Pelekoudas, who had been interim GM since Bavasi was fired June 16.
“He did an excellent job of keeping the organization moving forward,” Lincoln said.