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Zduriencik Quietly Shaping Roster

Rather clearly, Jack Zduriencik has finished evaluating the franchise and he is beginning to take action. None of his moves are big, but they could be setting the stage for more noticeable ones. Four players on the 40-man roster at the end of the season are on it no longer:
  • Yung Chi Chen, 2B: Chen was placed on waivers and claimed by the A's, so he is completely gone. He made some noise last year after hitting well in the Arizona Fall League, but most never saw him as a big prospect. He showed some ability to hit for average, but had little power potential, and he was not exceptional defensively either. I'm a little surprised Zduriencik let him go, but he likely is not a terribly big loss.
  • Joe Woerman, P: Woerman is yet to make the majors, but he had a tough year in AAA, and has mostly worked his way through the system by being solid at every level. There is a good chance he is back in Tacoma again. Woerman is exactly the kind of player that always drove me nuts with Bavasi. He is the kind of pitcher that at best is looking at being a fringe MLB player. There are plenty of pitchers like that out there, so why use a 40-man roster spot to protect him like he is a rare commoditiy?
  • Jake Woods, P: To Bavasi's credit, Woods was pretty good for one year, and he was stolen on waivers from the Angels. However, he has been pretty bad in AAA the last couple seasons, and it was clear that he had no future in this organization. He is now a minor league free agent. Once again, this was a rather obvious move, but there were times when the previous leadership did not grasp the obvious incredibly well.
  • Jared Wells, P: Wells pitched some for the Mariners last year, but he did not exactly light the world on fire in the majors, or in AAA. At best, he will bounce between the majors and minors, perhaps sticking for a few years in someone's bullpen. Like Woerman, Wells is the kind of guy that's rather easy to find in baseball, and Zduriencik understands the value of opening up roster space to potentially add guys that are not so easy to find.
These do not seem like major moves because they are not. However, these are the kind of moves that Bill Bavasi never made, and as a result we lost some guys that would help out the roster right now (Cha Seung Baek and Jorge Campillo come to mind). Bavasi's handling of the 40-man roster was atrocious, and already Zduriencik is showing better command of it. By my count, the Mariners right now have 3 open spots on their 40-man roster, which gives them plenty of flexibility. Those will likely be filled, because I am not counting the M's three free agents (Ibanez, Cairo, and Bloomquist) as part of the roster.

Flexibility is good, especially when you need to make changes. These little moves are the ones Bavasi never made. These are the ones that prevent a team from randomly cutting guys on their 25-man roster, as Bavasi had a penchant for doing. These moves show a sense of vision and thinking beyond just tomorrow. It is the kind of thinking that an effective GM does.