BY SPNW Staff 02:17PM 08/20/2013

Report: Mariners extend Zduriencik one year

Citing anonymous sources within the club and major league baseball, the News Tribune reported Tuesday that the Mariners have agreed to extend the expiring contract of general manager Jack Zduriencik for one year through 2014. Mariners president Chuck Armstrong, traveling with the team in Oakland, declined comment on the extension.

The futures of Zduriencik and manager Eric Wedge have been the objects of speculation since the winter, when both were denied extensions beyond the 2013 season. Beyond locking up Felix Hernandez with a $175 million deal, the Mariners also made no big commitments to new players.

Instead, the club pushed some of its premier prospects to the big club earlier this season in hopes of staying competitive; critics said the moves were born of job-saving panic. While Brad Miller, Nick Franklin and Mike Zunino have shown positive signs, the record before Tuesday’s game against the A’s was 57-67. At the same point year ago, the Mariners were 60-64.

While numerous injuries have compromised progress, the Mariners are headed for their fourth losing season in a row and eighth in the past 10. The club has only 11 winning season in its 36-year existence.

The one-year extension can be seen as a tepid endorsement by ownership for Zduriencik’s work. And there was no report on the fate of Wedge, who is set to return Friday to the dugout after a month-long recovery from a minor stroke suffered at the park July 22.

Replacing the disastrous Bill Bavasi in 2008, Zduriencik is in the fifth year in Seattle with “the plan” to restock the farm system, which is plainly better than when he took over. But his major-league level deals, particularly the Doug Fister trade with Detroit, the Michael Pineda trade with New York and the free agent signing of Chone Figgins, have done little to move the needle.

Despite a ticket-price increase, Mariners attendance average is 23,134 through 63 home games, 23rd among MLB’s 30 teams and ahead of the Safeco Field-low in 2012 of 21,258. A chunk of the increase is attributable to the season’s only sellout, when Ken Griffey Jr. was inducted Aug. 10 into the club’s Hall of Fame.


YourThoughts

  • Westside guy

    They don’t get a pass because of the injuries. Guti’s body is a ticking time bomb, and Morse has a history of both missing time with injuries and “playing hurt” – so those should’ve been foreseen. Heck, if anything Jack lucked out – no one could predict Raul’s first half tear.

    Jack can build a farm system, but apparently sucks at everything else a GM has to do. He’s basically Dayton Moore 2.0.

    • art thiel

      Ah, but imagine the ‘pen Steve Delabar was . . . oh wait, he was traded. Never mind.

  • Mark

    Stay the course! Avoid long-term contracts (except for Felix) and don’t rock the boat with big changes in management. Stay the course until we can sell the team. ;)

    • art thiel

      You’re obviously on the Mariners internal email list.

  • bugzapper

    Seriously? One Griffey sell-out night and it was enough to raise attendance above the terminally dismal 2012? Let me get out my calculator here…
    23,134
    - 21,258
    = 1,876
    ÷ 63
    = 29.8

    So the reason attendance allegedly doesn’t stink as bad as 2012 is because 29.8 more fans ON AVERAGE came through the gate? Or is it because 29.8 more fans PAID. We all know the M’s add in the pre-paid no-shows to pad the numbers.

    As for Z, meh. Seen Milwaukee do anything of consequence since he set ‘em up and left? This is typical Mariners mediocrity at work.

    • art thiel

      Every MLB club counts ticket sold, not actual fans in the stands. You don’t have to like it, but it’s been SOP for years.

      As far as Jack, remember, if he gets fired, the same guys who hired him will pick his successor.

      • bugzapper

        Well, you know where I’ve stood on that for years. Refuse the Losers!

    • maqman

      That’s a 9% increase, how you doing in the down economy?

      • bugzapper

        You mean based on one sale. How you doing with the other 62?

      • maqman

        Do the math, if you know how. An increase of 1,876 is 8.8249 percent higher than the past seasons total of 21,258.

  • RadioGuy

    I’m okay with the one-year extension. Compared to where the on-field organization was when he took over (after Bavasi and Gillick both let the farm system rot for years), Zduriencik has been rebuilding the talent pool from the bottom up. It’s true that quantity doesn’t equal quality but overall, I have a lot better feeling about the Mariners future than I did in 2008.

    Now if they could just quit allowing opponents all those walk-off wins…

    • art thiel

      What we can’t know, because Z will never tell, is what the constraints from ownership have been. He owes Ichiro a great favor because ownership wanted to re-sign him until he insisted on a trade. He’s been mostly productive as a Yankee but would have been much less so here, and in the way of the rebuild.

      • RadioGuy

        Sorry…I double-posted.

  • jafabian

    I fair deal I suppose. The article sums it up perfectly: good at evaluating young talent, progress stops there. Not unlike former Mariners GM Dick Balderson. But a one year deal should serve notice to Jack Z. that a lot is expected next season. When he was hired I was disappointed ownership didn’t take a chance with Kim Ng of the Dodgers. I still wish they went that route. IMO, she had a better resume.

    • bugzapper

      Damn, dude, you had to remind us of the Kim Ng passover. It’s no doubt the reason this team has wandered in the desert the last five years. We’re being punished for worshipping false idols.

      • art thiel

        Who’s to say she would have fared better? But I’m guessing before acquiring Josh Lueke, she would have googled his name and the sexual assault conviction.

      • jafabian

        She was the assistant GM for both the Yankees and the Dodgers. Z was the director of player personnel for the Brewers. Don’t see how he won out in that.

  • maqman

    I’m glad Z came and hope he stays. I still believe in the plan. I think fans are finding the new players interesting enough to come out and see They will also like the free agents and trade returns on next years team. As for Wedgie I could stand to see how he does with a fairly set lineup. I respect the fact that his players like him but he might want to tighten the reins a bit, get them running more and some more frequent fielding drills.

    • art thiel

      I also understand why other fans are fed up with year five of the plan. Again, it gets back to ownership.

      • jafabian

        The M’s seem to have one every five years.