When you start talking about teams that have disappointed in the 2015 baseball season the Seattle mariners would easily make that list. When you’re team is suppose to win and doesn’t it normally cost someone their job and in Seattle it was general manager Jack Zduriencik, Zdurienck was relived of his duties yesterday (Friday); assistant general manager Jeff Kingston will fill Zdurienck role for the remainder of the season. Zdurienck took over as the Mariners general manager in 2009. Seattle finished 3rd that season with a record of 85-77. From 2010-2013 the Mariners finished 4th and never had a winning record. Things started to look up in the 2014 season as Seattle finished above .500 at 87-75. Remember the Mariners made a big splash in free agency in the 2014 off season by signing Robinson Cano for 10 years and $240 million. This off season the Mariners made another big free agent signing by inking Nelson Cruz for 4 years at $57 million that wasn’t enough to make the Mariners contenders in the American League West. The Mariners are in 4th place in the A.L. West at 60-69; 11 games behind the 1st place Houston Astros and are actually closer to the final wild card spot than in their division. Seattle trails the Minnesota Twins by 7 games for that 2nd American League wild card spot. While Cano struggled throughout the first half of the season he has performed better after the All-Star break and has his average up to .275. Cruz on the other hand has been good from the start for the Mariners. When Seattle made the signing a lot of the experts feared that Cruz’s home run totals would fall by a large margin since he’d be playing 81 of his games at SafeCo Field. Cruz has 39 home runs in 126 games so far this season; so his home runs haven’t suffered this season from playing in Seattle. Cruz is also hitting .317 with 82 RBI’s so far and if the Mariners had found their way into contention this season Cruz would be a contender to win the A.L. M.V.P. The way Cano and Cruz played didn’t have too much to do with Zdurienck being fired. Catcher Mike Zunino who showed some power at times was never able to hit well enough at the major league level and was sent to Triple-A this week. Zunino is just 24 years old, but has hit .214 in 2013 when he was called up and played 52 games. In 2014 which was Zunino’s first full season he hit .199 with 22 home runs. This season in 112 games Zunino’s batting average was .174 with 11 home runs. Maybe the time in Triple-A will get Zunino righted he’ll contribute to the Mariners future. Dustin Ackley was the 2nd player taken in the 2009 draft behind Steven Strasburg. Ackley was brought up in 2011 and played 90 games hitting .273. He never hit better than .253 again and was moved to the outfield from 2nd base. Zdurienck dealt Ackley to the New York Yankees for Ramon Flores and Jose Ramirez at this seasons trade deadline. Ackley and Zunino weren’t the only issues with the Mariners this season. Austin Jackson (.268) is the only regular hitting better than .260. On the mound even “The King” Felix Hernandez has had his issues. Hernandez has had 3 games were he hasn’t lasted more than 4 2/3rd of an inning. On June 12th against the Astros Hernandez lasted just 1/3rd of an inning; giving up 8 runs. Just a couple of starts ago on August 15th the Boston Red Sox got 10 runs on 12 hits over just 2 1/3rd innings against Hernandez. Hernandez is 15-8 this season, but his ERA is 3.66 which would be his highest for a season since 2007. Hernandez is just 29 years old, but has thrown close to 2300 career innings; so we’ll have to see if he can bounce back next season. While Hisashi Iwakuma did pitch a no-hitter this season; he’s only made 13 starts this season because of injuries. The rest of the Mariners rotation is 26 or younger and no one has an ERA of lower than 4.20. The bullpen had it’s issues as well for Seattle. Before being designated for assignment and dealt to the Chicago Cubs Fernando Rodney was 5-5 with 16 saves, but had an ERA of 5.68 and lost his closer job to rookie Carson Smith. While Rodney is 38 years old he was coming off a career high 48 saves; he also had 48 saves in 2012 for the Tampa Bay Rays. Rodney had had his issues with closing before, but this is the first time his ERA had ballooned like that. Now of course these are just a few of the players that seem to have under performed for the Mariners this season. I’m sure you’ve heard someone in baseball say “that you can’t fire the players” so if it’s not the manager who loses his job the next choice would be the general manager; so Zdurienck was the person let go.
There are some reports out there that are saying we may not see Kyrie Irving in a regular season game for the Cleveland Cavaliers until January of 2016. Irving has had quite a few injuries early in his NBA career, but if you remember this injury happened during the playoffs. They say this type of injury takes 3 to 4 moths to recover from and there was some talk he’d be their for opening night. It’s a confusing situation with Irving, but if he was to take the floor opening night there’s a chance he could suffer a setback or re-injure the leg and miss even more time. Rather than taking any risk, the Cavaliers may bring him along very slowly, allowing the leg to be strengthened by the time January rolls around. Irving was looking like he would break into that top tier of NBA point guards with the season he had in 2014-15. Irving averaged 21.4 points per game along with 5.1 assists per game and even kicked in 1.5 steals per game. Don’t forget that Irving out up these numbers sharing the ball with LeBron James and Kevin Love. If Irving is out until January it won;t have a huge impact on the Cavaliers playoff chances. With the Eastern conference being as weak as it is the Cavaliers with LeBron are pretty much a lock to get in and the most important thing for them would be to have a healthy Irving when the playoffs started. I know we’ve mentioned fantasy football on the podcast quite a bit, but fantasy basketball isn’t that far behind and Irving’s injury will have more impact there than in the actual NBA. Most leagues don’t have a roster spot for an injured player and it would be very tough to hold a player even one as good as Irving until January; so he may end up being the best waiver wire pick up in your league.
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