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One of those prospects the Mariners got in the Lee deal faced rape charges last year

Jul 12, 2010, 10:29 AM EDT

The news of his arrest and plea is all over the Internet. Why, then, didn't the Mariners' front office know about it?

Josh Leuke — one of the pitchers acquired by the Mariners in the Cliff Lee deal —  faced rape and sodomy charges in California last summer. He later pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of false imprisonment with
violence. Lueke was sentenced to 40 days in prison but was released immediately thereafter for time served.

That’s bad. Also bad: not everyone on the Mariners seemed to realize this at the time of the trade. The Seattle Times’ Geoff Baker:

Mariners president Chuck Armstrong said he was “not aware” beforehand
that a Class AA pitcher obtained in the Cliff Lee deal pleaded no
contest last year to a charge of false imprisonment with violence
against a woman.

“I was not aware of that before we acquired him,” Armstrong said.
“And it is going to be addressed.”

Team CEO Howard Lincoln didn’t know either.  General Manager Jack Zduriencik said he did know about it, but on Friday mistakenly said that Leuke had been “cleared,” which is not true, meaning that Jack Z either didn’t really know everything or else he was trying to gloss it over. Either way, he said he asked the Rangers if they thought Lueke was anything to be concerned about moving forward and was satisfied with their answer.

Still, how you don’t bring higher ups into the loop on this kind of thing beforehand is a mystery to me. It’s just as much a mystery to me why — regardless of Zduriencik’s responsibility to keep his bosses informed — they didn’t know it independently. Google Lueke and the case turns up pretty prominently (there are even pics of him in prison scrubs out there for crying out loud).  Look at his stats from last year and you see that he pitched only four games. Even if you didn’t know about the criminal charges, don’t you look at that and ask if the guy had Tommy John surgery or something?

Geoff Baker is going to town on this. And rightfully so, in my mind.  As he notes today, the Mariners have been out front in the community supporting groups and initiatives aimed at putting a stop to violence against women. This has led to a zero-tolerance policy on the part of the team which has in turn led to players being sent out of town on a rail before.  Now the team trades for a guy who pleaded guilty to a charge which involved violence against a woman.

Reasonable people can disagree how much Lueke should be punished within his profession for his criminal transgressions.  Reasonable people can’t disagree, however, that the Mariners either didn’t do their homework or simply didn’t care about Lueke’s background when they made the deal. My guess is that Zduriencik is in some hot water with his
bosses over all of this, and as I sit here right now, I think it’s pretty justified.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - Jul 12, 2010 at 10:36 AM

    As long as they didn’t give Cliff Lee to the Yankees, I don’t care who they traded him for.

  2. YankeesfanLen - Jul 12, 2010 at 10:41 AM

    So the Mariners are all concerned about David Adams ankle and take Jack the Ripper instead. Isn’t that….special?

  3. YankeesfanLen - Jul 12, 2010 at 10:45 AM

    Oh, and pretty boy Smoak swung and missed at every curve ball within 3 feet over the weekend. I LOVE being a sour grapes Yankees fan………Let me tell you about Cliff Lee’s start for Texas……

  4. willmose - Jul 12, 2010 at 11:32 AM

    Trader Jack is the best GM ever!

  5. Largebill - Jul 12, 2010 at 11:37 AM

    Most important aspect of management is knowing what you need to let the higher up know about and rule # one is if you’re not sure if you need to advise the boss then you need to advise the boss. There are lots of times where I said to my boss “This will probably never be an issue and you may not be concerned right now, but I wanted to make sure you’ve heard about this in case it comes back up.” It serves a couple purposes. Not only does it cover you, but it lets the boss know you’re concerned with protecting him from looking foolish or out of the loop.

  6. Ditto65 - Jul 12, 2010 at 12:00 PM

    Stay Classy, HBT.

  7. rob - Jul 12, 2010 at 12:03 PM

    Jack Z obviously knows the way the California Penal League can develop talent. Look at what a year in that league did for Rick “wild thing” Vaughn.

  8. Jonny5 - Jul 12, 2010 at 12:21 PM

    This is kinda disturbing, I’m shocked he wasn’t released as soon as he plead no contest. BTW Is “Leuke” a swiss name? Just wondering, since they have no problem in Switzerland with raping, even if it’s a 13 year old girl…. Polanski should get the firing squad, but instead he’ll be lauded as a great artist and get comp dinners and drinks in Switzerland. Kinda sick when ya think about it…

  9. Boo Hoo Florio picked on your team - GET OVER IT - Jul 12, 2010 at 3:27 PM

    So people in the Mariner organization are suggesting that they punish Leuke again for his prior incarceration? Josh Hamilton sniffed an elephant’s worth in weight of cocaine and went through rehab and is welcomed as the guy who made the most of his second (and ectetera) chance. Apparently the Rangers thought Leuke reformed himself enough to remain a member. So why’s the kid gotta go through it all over again in Seattle?

  10. Kung - Jul 12, 2010 at 5:29 PM

    Josh Hamilton has no connection to this at all. He abused himself, versus this guy seriously harming someone else. I do agree that if he has committed to reform himself, then this is a minor issue, but bringing Josh Hamilton in was a stupid idea.

  11. Boo Hoo Florio picked on your team - GET OVER IT - Jul 13, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    Stupid how? Josh Hamilton still committed a crime. When is a crime not a crime? Either you’re in prison or you’re not. What puts people in prison? Crime.

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