OAKLAND – With the Seattle Mariners almost certainly heading toward their fifth losing season in six years, the status of general manager Jack Zduriencik’s future has been in question.
It was believed that Zduriencik’s two-year contract extension, which he received in 2011, was up after this season.
However, sources said Zduriencik will be under contract for 2014, having received a one-year extension from the organization.
When that extension was agreed upon is not known, but it is not a recent development. ESPN 710-AM reported that Zduriencik received the extension before this season.
Much of this season was spent under the assumption that Zduriencik’s future was undetermined.
Perhaps it’s why team president Chuck Armstrong said: “Jack has nothing to worry about,” at the winter meetings in December when asked about Zduriencik’s contract.
Armstrong, who is in Oakland along with minority owner Chris Larson, would not confirm the extension, saying that commenting would lead to more questions.
Some of those questions could be about the status of manager Eric Wedge, who is recovering from a stroke and whose contract is up after this season.
There has been debate among the Mariners’ fan base about Zduriencik’s future. Of those five losing seasons, four have come since he was hired to replace fired Bill Bavasi after the 2008 season. Zduriencik’s only winning season as GM came in 2009 when the Mariners went 85-77.
Since then, his teams have gone 260-350. There was the regrettable free-agent signing of Chone Figgins prior to the 2010 season and trade of pitcher Doug Fister in 2011. He also drew criticism for acquiring reliever Josh Lueke as part of the trade that sent pitcher Cliff Lee to Texas. Lueke had a questionable background stemming from allegations of rape that were later pled down to false imprisonment.
While Zduriencik’s contract being extended into 2014 might cause some consternation from Mariners fans, Seattle could still make a change at the position. It’s only a one-year extension, which means financial damage would be minimal.
Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln fired Bavasi in the middle of the 2008 season, despite Bavasi another year left on his contract.
The Mariners wrap up the three-game series at 12:37 p.m. with right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma (11-6, 2.95 ERA) facing A’s right-hander A.J. Griffin (10-8, 3.76).
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