ADDITIONAL NOTE: If you missed my Talkin’ Baseball segment on Sports Radio KJR this morning, you can hear it above. Keep in mind, it was done before I talked by phone with Eric Wedge this afternoon.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge is eager to get back in the dugout this coming Friday. Wedge told me today he’ll be the manager and the guy in charge, but Robby Thompson will continue to help him get up to speed and ease back into things for a bit.
Still, this will be a big day for Wedge, coming just one month after he suffered a mild stroke.
Read my story online and in tomorrow’s paper about what Wedge told me on how he plans to cope with some of the stress that was responsible for the stroke happening in the first place.
In other news, there’s a report out there that general manager Jack Zduriencik has agreed to a one-year extension with the team. Now, there have been rumors floating around for a while now that Zduriencik has already been assured he’ll be back for 2014. In fact, it’s been said that he may have had the extension quietly given to him before the season even began.
Now, why the Mariners would do such a thing — if they did — and not tell anyone is something we can all guess at. Teams don’t always announce extensions right away.
I asked president Chuck Armstrong about it and he said it isn’t the team policy to comment. OK, then, so I picked up the phone, called Zduriencik and asked him point blank if it was true. He declined to comment.
“Howard (Lincoln) and Chuck (Armstrong) would be the ones to announce something like that, if there’s any truth to it,” Zduriencik said.
So, there we are.
In fact, if the team had been planning to announce something this month, the timing of it all would have been pretty bizarre once the team started losing games in bunches. As of right now, the Mariners are behind last year’s pace for wins and losses at the 124-game mark.
So, if they’re looking for a nice, happy period to announce something, they might look ahead to a four-game series in Houston that ends on Sept. 1. The Mariners might find themselves on a little winning streak by then. Or, if they wanted to wait for maximum exposure in Seattle, they could wait for the Houston visit from Sept. 9-through-the-11th and announce something at that point — hopefully with a three-games-or-more winning streak in the books.
I’m only half-kidding.
Seriously, if indeed the report about a one-year extension is true, it can mean several things depending on when it was given out.
If Zduriencik was given the extension before the season — when Mariners officials felt they were going to have a .500 team or better — it would mean he’s merely still got it now that things have gone off kilter. That might also suggest he may not be on solid ground if the Mariners collpase under a tough September schedule and lose, say, 95 games. After all, it’s not that tough to eat a one-year extension and fire the GM before 2014.
But if the extension was recent, it could mean the organization is still showing faith in their man now that the season has indeed gone worse than anticipated. A limited amount of faith, since it is, after all, a one-year deal. But that one year would be telling Zduriencik: “OK, we buy your injury stuff and the fact your manager was sidelined for a month. But no more excuses. You have to start getting something done and show you can have a winning season.”
So, like I said, the big story here — if there is an extension — is when it was given out. That, I can’t tell you. But like I said, these rumors have bounced around for a while.