The Seattle Mariners announced a multi-year extension for executive vice president and general manager of baseball operations Jack Zduriencik, the club announced on Tuesday. This announcement comes with the ball club’s currently record as 71-59, six games out of the AL West lead, and a .5 game lead in the race for the second Wildcard spot.
The terms of the deal have yet to be officially announced, Zduriencik’s bosses seem to be happy with the progress that the squad is making:
“Since Jack took over after the 2008 season, we have been building toward our ultimate goal, which is to win the World Series,” said Mariners president Kevin Mather. “We believe, with the efforts of Jack and his staff, we are now well positioned as an organization to be a contender for many years to come.”
Mather’s statement hits on the fact that Zduriencik has successfully managed to rebuild the Mariners depleted farm system, and produced a club capable of contending at the major league level. In other words, he has been able to do what he was initially hired to do back on October, 2008.
In Zduriencik’s first season (2009), the Mariners surprised everyone by winning 85-games and hanging around — contending, but not really — for the only Wildcard spot that season. Zduriencik made some big moves in the following off-season, acquiring Cliff Lee in a trade and signing Chone Figgins to a four year deal, that led to high expectations for the 2010 squad…those expectations came to a quick end as the team never really seemed to be able to win ball games and Lee was traded midway through the year.
The following season saw the rise of the “Fire Jack Z” crowd as the team played .500 ball for the first half, before losing its next 17 games and ending any playoff hopes before they really began. As the squad headed into 2012, the anti-Zduriencik attitude in the city was building, but the team played decent ball and hung around .500 for the majority of the season; giving fans hope that 2013 would be different…especially with the outfield walls being moved in at Safeco Field.
Following the conclusion of the 2012 season, Zduriencik made several moves that sacrificed defense and on base percentage in favor of power (John Jaso for Mike Morse is one example). As a result of those moves, nothing really improved; the team’s offense was still terrible and the defense was gagtastic. Seattle won 71 games in ’13 — compared to 75 games in ’12 — and many people expected the Mariners to just let Zduriencik’s contract expire.
But management didn’t and signed him to a one-year (prove your self) extension. Zduriencik responded to that tepid endorsement by signing utility man Willie Bloomquist to a two year deal…before droping a 10-year $240 million mega deal on former Yankee’s 2B Robinson Cano. After a few more, smart signings the roster for the upcoming 2014 season was (apparently) ready to contend.
The fact that the 2014 roster was contending through the All Star break was impressive, and is entirely to Zduriencik’s credit. What was even more impressive was the fact that he didn’t mortgage the franchise’s future prior to the trade deadline. Zduriencik’s intelligent moves at the deadline made it pretty obvious that a contract extension was coming.
It is a contract extension that he has earned.