Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik gets multi-year contract extension
GM has rebuilt team with a younger core, but next step is getting the Mariners to win.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Thursday vs. L.A. Angels, 7:10 .m., ROOT | Furbush (2-3, 6.48) vs. Santana (10-9, 3.24)
Friday @ Oakland, 7:05 p.m., ROOT | Vargas (7-12, 4.52) vs. Moscoso (6-8, 3.80)
Saturday @ Oakland, 1:05 p.m. | Pineda (9-8, 3.71) vs. McCarthy (7-7, 3.64)
Sunday @ Oakland, 1:05 p.m. | Beavan (3-4, 4.11) vs. Cahill (9-13, 4.26)
Monday @ L.A. Angels, 6:05 p.m., ROOT | Hernandez (13-11, 3.27) vs. Haren (13-8, 3.16)
Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik was having a better day than usual, considering the standings.
His team entered Wednesday having dropped eight of its past 12 games and is en route to a second straight season of at least 90 losses. And yet, Zduriencik wrapped up the day knowing he'd get at least a couple more seasons to refine his efforts to bring a championship to Seattle, his team's overseers satisfied enough to ink him to a multiyear extension.
With that out of the way, Zduriencik now faces the challenge of transitioning many of the talented young pieces imported to the organization into players who can compete for something beyond future hope.
"It would be foolish to say, 'One year from now we're going to be here,' or 'Two years from now we're going to be here,' " Zduriencik said after his deal was announced. "That's difficult to predict because you're dealing with the human element. We'd like it expedited if we could ... have this thing move along quicker. But I do think you have to be patient and stay the course and realize where we're headed. Our goal from the moment I took this job was to win a World Series."
The Mariners have transitioned in a big way from the club that spent three months challenging for the American League West lead. A 17-game losing streak ended any 2011 contention hopes and paved the way for the team to make some July trades and minor-league promotions.
That led to an influx of young talent on the major-league roster, moves that have caused some growing pains on the field while raising hope that better things lie ahead.
Zduriencik will head into the winter with a core of youngsters that includes Dustin Ackley, Mike Carp, Kyle Seager, Casper Wells, Trayvon Robinson and a cluster of minor-leaguers from which to bolster the team's ranks via trade and further call-ups next spring.
"Jack arrived in Seattle with a clear plan, and he has not deviated from that plan," Mariners president Chuck Armstrong said. "Jack wanted to increase the talent base in our organization through scouting and player development. That is exactly what he has done.
"Through trades, waiver claims and free-agent signings, as well as the draft, Jack has accumulated talent throughout the Mariners organization. Our drafts the past three seasons have been very good, as exemplified by recent picks already arriving in the major leagues."
But getting players to the big leagues is one thing. Having them win more than they lose is quite another.
The team lost 101 games under Bill Bavasi in 2008, giving Zduriencik the No. 2 overall draft pick, used to secure Ackley. Another 101 losses last season gave Zduriencik another No. 2 overall pick, used on Danny Hultzen — part of a stable of minor-league pitchers being stockpiled.
Seattle hasn't spent big on free agents since Zduriencik gave four years, $36 million to Chone Figgins in December 2009. It remains to be seen whether ownership will bolster Zduriencik's rebuilding efforts with an influx of cash when he decides his core of youngsters can compete for a playoff spot.
But the guy in charge of getting those youngsters ready, manager Eric Wedge, said Zduriencik "gets what we're trying to do" and extending him was the right call.
"As a leader of what we're trying to do here, he's the guy to get this thing done," Wedge said. "So I couldn't be more excited."
For the record: W-L: 58-77; W PCT: .430; Streak: W1
Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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