January 15, 2009 in Sports

M’s approach face-to-face meetings

By Kirby Arnold Everett Herald
 

Throughout the winter, Seattle Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik couldn’t say who’ll be his closer – or DH or left fielder – because he hadn’t gathered the manager and coaches together with the front office to discuss those issues.

That will change beginning Friday when Zduriencik and his executives begin three days of meetings in Seattle with manager Don Wakamatsu and his staff, plus the scouting department.

Yes, they’ll talk about who’s capable of replacing J.J. Putz as closer. And they’ll discuss the DH and left-field situations.

But there’s a lot more to deal with than those issues.

This is the first opportunity for Zduriencik and his assistants to run their ideas past Wakamatsu, the coaches and the scouting department in person.

“I’ll give them the state of the union based on where we stand and why we did things the way we did,” Zduriencik said. “It’s an opportunity to get everyone together here and get on the same page.”

Dissenting opinions are encouraged.

“Without a doubt,” he said. “Everybody wants to hear what I have to say and I want to hear what everybody has to say. I’ll be interested in their views, their thoughts and ideas.”

It’s an important weekend for the scouting staff, particularly the amateur scouts who’ll hit the road soon to watch college and high school players.

“We’ll talk about players throughout the country and set up how we’re going to organize the areas throughout the country,” Zduriencik said. “We’ll talk about players, the grading system, evaluating and communication – all the things that lead up to the amateur draft in June. And we’ll talk about the statistical analysis aspect of how we’re going to look at players.”

With so many personnel changes throughout the organization since the end of last season, there will be a lot of introductions. Even that is an important step, Wakamatsu said.

“As a staff, we talk a lot on the phone,” Wakamatsu said. “But it will be nice to get us all in a room together. We function as a group and the more we can get in front of each other and talk about certain philosophies, the better we will work together.”

Wakamatsu and the coaches also will discuss how they’ll organize spring training and, yes, how the team might come together.

“It’s still a little early to discuss lineups, but we’ll deal with how we want to go about our business, the scheduling and things we want to accomplish at spring training,” he said. “If you look at the (coaching) staff, we’ve taken guys from Colorado, Anaheim, Texas and Oakland – a lot of organizations that do a lot of things right. To approach a subject and get five or six different opinions will be valuable.”


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