Mariners’ GM Jack Zduriencik received a multi-year contract extension today, removing all doubt that he would be back next season. He signed a one-year extension the year prior. To me, this extension is more of a reward rather than showing confidence in Jack Z. The numbers or years have yet to come out, but it’s obviously for at least two years. In October, Zduriencik will have spent six years with the organization, which is longer than Bill Bavasi’s tenure (’03-’08). In terms of how the extension came to be, I found Softy’s tweet intriguing.
Strange to me that Kevin Mather would approach him without any formal negotiations and offer him an extension, but weirder things have happened. Not much can possibly go wrong in the next month or two where I would have a different opinion of Jack Z. The thing about contracts for managers and GMs is that they are routinely terminated with years left on their contracts. The extension is essentially a formality.
Somewhat recently (April 23rd), I called for the Mariners to walk away from Jack Zduriencik after this season. My rationale for giving up on Jack was essentially as follows: He rushes prospects, his prospects haven’t panned out, and he’s had half a decade to figure things out to no avail. The article was fresh off of a win following an eight game skid, so I had a bad taste in my mouth, obviously. That compounded with former Mariner Nick Franklin being called up just to sit on the bench, I was annoyed. Then there was the somewhat recently released infamous Geoff Baker article in which Blengino basically calls him an incompetent fraud. (After my article, another article came out months later about how Jack is wishy washy and hard to deal with in trade talks.)
Well, shit happens and winning changes pretty much everything. Just as hitting coaches get fired for bad offense (see: Mariners), GMs and managers get extensions for their winning ways. It doesn’t really make sense, in fact, more often than not it doesn’t make sense. But it’s a thing and it happens. Josh Byrnes just got fired midseason and he probably didn’t deserve it, but the Padres are bad. Overall, I think Jack has done a good job but he’s done his fair share of bad things as well. He’s human. Most of the bad trades and moves he’s made in his tenure were just bad luck, to me. It’s baseball. Justin Smoak was supposed to be baby Mark Teixeira and hit 25 homers a year. Doug Fister was an average pitch to contact pitcher and struck no one out. Chone Figgins and Ichiro were supposed to form a steady 1-2 in the lineup and be OBP machines. Trading John Jaso for Michael Morse was inexcusable, but that’s one of the only few trades that I didn’t like at the time of the deal. Hindsight is 20/20.
At this point, I don’t think the extension is a big deal. Jack Z hasn’t been bad, but he hasn’t been the best. Now that most of his prospects have graduated to the majors, we’ll get a better grasp on his ability to identify talent in the draft. You can draft well as much as you want, but what it comes down to is those players producing. Z’s been good about replenishing the talent in the farm, and now he’s started to flip prospects for major league players, because we’re at that point as a team. So how do I feel about this trade? I don’t feel. Ultimately it doesn’t mean much, but it is a good gesture and it will be nice for us as fans and for Zduriencik to have some security and stability going forward.