With the Seattle Mariners almost certainly heading toward their fifth losing season in six years, the status of general manager Jack Zduriencik’s future employment has been in question in the past few months.
Zduriencik’s two-year extension, which he received in 2011, is up after this season.
There is much debate among the Mariners fanbase whether or not Zduriencik should be retained for next season. Of those five losing campaigns, four have come on his watch since he was hired to replace fired general manager Bill Bavasi after the 2008 season. Zduriencik’s only winning season as GM came in 2009 when the team went 85-77. That team had a negative run differential (640 runs scored/692 runs against) and won a slew of one-run games.
Since then, his teams have gone 260-350. There was the regrettable free agent signing of Chone Figgins in 2010 and trade of starting pitcher Doug Fister in 2011.
In December at the baseball winter meetings, I asked Chuck Armstrong about Zduriencik’s future.
“Jack has nothing to worry about,” Armstrong said at the time.
But does he now? That is left unanswered.
Sources close to major league baseball and the organization have said that Zduriencik has received a one-year extension for 2014. The exact determination of when that extension was agreed upon, but it seems likely that it was before the 2013 season.
Perhaps it’s why Armstrong said Zduriencik had nothing to worry about for 2014 at the winter meetings.
The Mariners have not formally announced anything as to an extension.
Armstrong, who is in Oakland with team along with minority owner Chris Larson, would not confirm that report. He instead chose to stay with the Mariners’ policy of not commenting on contract situations and saying that commenting on that would only lead to many more questions. Some of those questions could the status of manager Eric Wedge, who is recovering from a stroke and whose contract is also up after this season.
When asked if there would be some sort of update or announcement regarding the general manager position in the near future, Armstrong was non-committal, saying that perhaps they might do something in the fall.
While the prospect of Zduriencik’s contract being extended into 2014 may cause some consternation from groups of Mariners fans, realistically the Mariners’ could still make a change at the position if they felt inclined. It’s only a one-year extension, which means that any financial hit would be minimal.
General manager Bill Bavasi was fired by CEO Howard Lincoln in the middle of the 2008 season, despite having another year remaining on his contract.
Extending a general manager’s contract and not making it public is not something new. Earlier this year it was learned that Seahawks general manager John Schneider signed a four-year contract extension after the 2012 season.