When they traded for him in July as part of the deal that sent Cliff Lee to Texas, Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik and President Chuck Armstrong claimed they had no idea that pitching prospect Josh Lueke (pictured at right) had once been accused of rape. Now though, thanks to some fine reporting by The Seattle Times' Geoff Baker, what the Mariners brain trust knew and when they knew it is being called into question.
Lueke eventually plead to a lesser charge and was put on three years felony probation. He would have been a risky player for any organization to take on, especially one like the Mariners, who have a very public annual campaign against domestic abuse.
Did Jack Z lie, did he not do his homework or, worse, did he do both?
Armstrong initially claimed that he and Zduriencik didn't find out about Lueke's past until hours after the trade was complete. But recently fired pitching coach Rick Adair, who knew all about Lueke's criminal history from his time working with the Rangers, told Baker that wasn't true.
From the Times:
Adair would not divulge details of his conversations with Zduriencik about prospects. Asked whether he'd discussed Lueke's charges or jail time, Adair said that was "common knowledge" and repeated: "I told him about everything that I knew on and off the field."The Mariners also may not be telling the truth when they said they tried to return their recently-purchased damaged goods. Armstrong claimed he tried to ship Leuke back to Texas but the Rangers wouldn't budge.
GM Jon Daniels told the Times that wasn't true either. "We offered several times to reacquire Lueke in a separate transaction -- an offer originally made the same night the deal was announced," he wrote in an e-mail.
The sad thing for both the Mariners and Lueke is that this whole mess could have been avoided had Zduriencik or Armstrong done a simple Google search. Seely's argument that we've got the league's most overrated GM is looking truer by the day.