The Mariners like what they’ve seen from GM Jack Zduriencik thus far and today rewarded him with a multi-year contract extension. Terms were not disclosed, but it’s for more than one year — not one year plus and option as some rumors out there now have it.
Zduriencik said moments ago that he’s pleased to be sticking around Seattle beyond 2011 and that he hopes to see this rebuilding plan through to fruition — meaning, win a championship.
“When I took this job three years ago, the thing that we said we were going to do is try to build this thing from the ground up and try to accumulate talent in every way we can. I think if you look at what’s on the field here, I think we’re starting to see that. It’s starting to come to fruition. And I think the fact I’ve been asked to stay on is important. It’s important, I think, to the whole process. It certainly means a lot to me and I’m excited to have the opportunity to remain here for a few more years.”
Zduriencik knows he won’t have unlimited time to get the rebuilding plan to where it needs to go. But he stopped short of providing any timelimes for when he expects to achieve the level of championship success he’s seeking.
“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’,” he said. “That’s difficult to predict because you’re dealing with the human element. We’d like it expediated it if we could. 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. To make this community and this organization proud of what we’re putting out there on the field. I think we’re headed in that direction and we’re seeing signs of some positives here and we all should be proud of that.”
Mariners manager Eric Wedge was pleased to see his boss get some years added on. After all, Wedge is here beyond this year. Might as well have the guy who hired him along for the ride as well. Makes the whole thing much easier on a manager.
“I’m real excited that they’ve got Jack tied up,” Wedge said. “He’s the guy to lead this thing. Really, we didn’t even know each other when all this started. I was real impressed by him. He’s one of the main reasons I came here, along with Chuck (Armstrong) and Howard (Lincoln) and so many others. And our relationship has just grown immensely here in a short period of time. We’re alligned with our thoughts. As a leader of what we’re trying to do here, he’s the guy to get this thing done, so, I couldn’t be more excited.”
Wedge admitted he’s relieved that the extension happened. He said Zduriencik “cares about the right things” and “gets what we’re trying to do.”
“I’ll tell you something,” he said. “Now is the time. Now is the time where you’ve got to stick your nose in there and be tough.”
Meaning, there are good things Wedge sees taking place that he knows won’t be apparent to anyone else for quite a while longer. And in the midst of another season of 90+ losses, it’s important to maintain belief in the end goal — even when it isn’t always visible.
M’s president Chuck Armstrong put out a release explaining the reasons behind the extension.
“Jack arrived in Seattle with a clear plan, and he has not deviated from that plan,” 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,” Armstrong continued. “Our drafts the past three seasons have been very good, as exemplified by recent picks already arriving in the Major Leagues. Our player development group, revamped by Jack when he arrived, has done a very good job of preparing players to be successful in the big leagues. Eric Wedge and his coaching staff, hired by Jack, have done a terrific job of balancing our desire to win every game we play with the challenge of developing young players to be a part of championship teams in the future.”
“We are headed in the right direction for long-term success,” Armstrong said. “Now, as quality young players drafted by the Mariners and developed in our system begin to arrive in Seattle, our fans can look forward to an exciting future thanks to Jack’s efforts.”
In other news, the Mariners will be announcing a few September call-ups after tonight’s game. Some of those will involve pitching, which, after last night’s debacle, is not a surprise.