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Topic: jack zduriencik; howard lincoln; chuck armstrong; extension

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August 21, 2013 at 5:41 PM

Coast is now clear for Mariners to announce Zduriencik extension

Mariners president Chuck Armstrong (left) and CEO Howard Lincoln (right) are expected to announce shortly that general manager Jack Zduriencik (center) is back for 2014. Zduriencik was quietly given the extension last winter, but team has been waiting for right moment to announce it. Photo Credit: AP

Mariners president Chuck Armstrong (left) and CEO Howard Lincoln (right) are expected to announce shortly that general manager Jack Zduriencik (center) is back for 2014. Zduriencik was quietly given the extension last winter, but team has been waiting for right moment to announce it. Photo Credit: AP

The Mariners are apparently going to make public before they play another game what they have known since a few months after last season ended.

That general manager Jack Zduriencik is actually under contract through 2014, and not 2013 as had been thought. It seems the team gave Zduriencik an extra year on his deal shortly after the 87-loss campaign in 2012 came to an end.

Why keep it a secret? Well, there could be several reasons.

One, they were too embarrassed to admit they had extended their GM after another losing season and were waiting for a more positive moment to tell fans. They may have assumed they’d get ample opportunity in 2013. But given how this season has actually gone, those “windows” of positivity have usually slammed shut before anybody could crawl through them.

Two, they actually wanted to judge Zduriencik’s performance this year before announcing he was staying, giving them the option of eating the final contract year and seeking help elsewhere if he failed to meet their expectations.

Three, they were worried manager Eric Wedge would be viewed as a lame duck and in trouble, since he doesn’t have an extension and Zduriencik does.

Four, there have been rumors in New York that GM Brian Cashman might want out of his Yankees deal before it expires — coincidentally, also after 2014. The Mariners tried unsuccessfully to interview Cashman five years ago before they hired Zduriencik. If he was to become available a year early — and he’s now denying that will happen — it would look awkward if the Mariners suddenly dumped Zduriencik this winter, having already announced him as their guy for 2014.

Perhaps, a combination of all four factors is at-play.

But even if so, now is still the perfect time for the Mariners to confirm Zduriencik will be back in 2014, if that indeed is their desire. It won’t get any better than now, not after the Mariners beat the Oakland Athletics 5-3 here today to finish this tough, nine-game trip with a winning record. Seattle just beat two AL West contenders on the road. Looking ahead, life might never be this sweet again for a team still eight games under .500. If the Mariners were seeking another window of positivity — making a Zduriencik extension an easier “sell” for skeptical fans and media — this one just cracked open.

As for the other possible holdups, the timing might never be better than now to deal with them head-on.

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