7/31/2014 9:17 P.M. ET
Zduriencik pleased with trade returns
By Greg Johns / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik took some heat earlier this week from a FOXSports.com report that said he was "exasperating" fellow baseball GMs with his negotiating style by not always completing talked-about deals with other teams, but Zduriencik wasn't worried about that Thursday after finalizing two more acquisitions just prior to the non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Zduriencik added outfielders Austin Jackson from the Tigers and Chris Denorfia from the Padres, giving up a trio of Minor League players in infielder Nick Franklin, outfielder Abraham Almonte and reliever Stephen Kohlscheen.
Zduriencik, in his sixth year as Mariners GM, then fired back at the external criticism of his negotiating style, saying he wasn't about to be forced into deals that weren't good for his team.
"I never felt pressure," Zduriencik said. "I always felt common sense would prevail. To do a deal because you feel pressure is a bad deal. To do a deal because it makes sense is what you set out to do. There were people out there that thought the Mariners were prime targets, they're in a pennant race for the first time in 10 years, they're going to give up the farm. There was a little bit written about that.
"We were not going to do it and it probably didn't make a lot of people happy. But I don't care. If a few guys get ruffled in the feathers, that's their fault. This is our property, these are our players, this is our organization and that's our focus. If we can help each other, I'm all in. But we're not sitting here donating players to make somebody else better. Forget about it."
Zduriencik didn't want to give up prime pitching prospects Taijuan Walker or James Paxton, or third baseman D.J. Peterson, last year's first-round Draft pick, for short-term help.
"We were able to hold on to a lot of our big pieces, "he said. "I don't know if I made everybody real happy about that, but that's their business. Our goal was to try to improve the club in the best way we can. We did that, gave up some nice pieces, but were able to hold on to what we think are still our primary prospects."
The Mariners have the lowest ERA in the American League, but rank near the bottom of the AL's hitting statistics while fighting for the second Wild Card spot with a 55-52 record going into Thursday night's series finale with the Indians.
Jackson and Denorfia will join the club Friday in Baltimore, and both figure to pencil in immediately against Orioles left-hander Wei-Yin Chen. The Mariners have been extremely left-handed leaning all season.
"We were looking for right-handed bats," Zduriencik said. "Now we've got a leadoff pure center fielder [in Jackson] and that's going to help a lot. And Denorfia has really good numbers against left-handed pitching. He's a tough kid that's been through the playoffs and knows it. Same thing with Austin Jackson, he's been there, done that. So bringing the veteran experience to the ballclub at this time of the year was a really important factor."
Zduriencik said the Mariners tried to claim Denorfia off waivers last year from the Padres and had discussions with the Yankees about acquiring Jackson before they dealt him to the Tigers back in 2010.
The latest talks began around the All-Star break, then heated up the last few days before reaching a head on Wednesday in the hours leading up to the Trade Deadline. Zduriencik said three-way trades can be difficult, but that was the best way to get Jackson in a swap that sent David Price from the Rays to the Tigers.
"We're happy this is the way it is," he said. "Three-way deals can get tricky. We were a key component in the deal to make it work for both [other] clubs."