General manager in sixth season; terms of multiyear deal undisclosed
SEATTLE -- Jack Zduriencik, whose Mariners are contending for their first postseason berth since 2001, has received a multiyear contract extension as executive vice president and general manager, the club announced on Tuesday.
Zduriencik is in his sixth season as GM, and the Mariners enter Tuesday's game against the Rangers with a record of 71-59, having already equaled last year's win total with 32 games remaining.
Terms of the extension were not disclosed, per club policy, but Zduriencik was operating on a one-year deal this season and the extension is for multiple years.
"I'm excited and happy to be able to be here for a couple more years," Zduriencik said. "I believe in what we're doing. I believe in the people we have in place. It hasn't always been easy. I think we put a plan in place and you do what your gut instincts tell you to do. Where we're at right now is a good spot as an organization.
"Our fans have been very, very patient and I really appreciate that," he said. "And I thank ownership for the vote of confidence. I'm happy and my family is happy and we're looking forward to seeing this thing through. We have a goal in mind and we're on our way to doing it."
Mariners president Kevin Mather said the negotiation went quickly after he broached the subject with Zduriencik at lunch Tuesday.
"It was a short discussion," Mather said. "The question really was, 'Do you like it here? Are we treating you OK? Are you enjoying your job?' He said, 'I love it here, my family loves it here.' I said, 'Well then let's stay. Let's stay.' Big smile on his face. I said, 'I guess that's a yes.'"
Lloyd McClendon, hired by Zduriencik last offseason to replace Eric Wedge as field manager, said he's been thrilled by the working relationship that has quickly developed.
"I think it's well deserved," McClendon said of the extension. "Jack has done a tremendous job of putting this club together and making the necessary acquisitions to make us better. I just think he's done a tremendous job all around, starting with Spring Training, and getting the pieces that we needed to be competitive. Hopefully this continues to build."
Zduriencik has been in Major League Baseball for 35 years, working with the Mets, Dodgers, Pirates and Brewers before joining Seattle prior to the 2009 campaign.
Zduriencik is the eighth GM in Mariners history and is credited with helping rebuild the club's farm system and developing a young core that is now maturing at the Major League level.
McClendon said the club's Minor League system is one of the best in baseball, something he knew even before he took his job last winter.
"I didn't need to be here to know what they've got," McClendon said. "This is one of the finest farm systems in all of baseball. I don't think you'll find anybody that would tell you different. We're tremendously talented in the middle of the field, we've got some tremendous arms in the Minor Leagues and certainly some real nice bats at the lower levels. I'm excited about what the future holds for this club. I said it in my initial press conference, this is a golden era for the Seattle Mariners and it's only going to get better."
When Wedge resigned last year after failing to get a desired multiyear extension prior to the end of a 71-91 season, he blasted Zduriencik in a newspaper report and called the organization "dysfunctional," a point McClendon wryly made light of on Tuesday.
"We talk every day on a lot of different subjects," he said of working with Zduriencik. "We're probably as dysfunctional as dysfunctional can get. It's a pretty good relationship.
"Seriously, and this is a real important point, when you talk about dealing with someone on a daily basis, the one thing you have to understand is the first thing you need to do is agree that sometimes you're going to disagree, to make your organization better. It's not always about 'I love you' and 'You love me.'
"There are some days when he leaves this office with a bandage over his head and other days I leave the office with a bandage over my head," McClendon said. "But our relationship is one of mutual respect. I think he's tremendous at what he does and I hope he's proud of the job I've done for him. It's pretty good."
Zduriencik acknowledged things haven't always gone smoothly, but he looks at the big picture and sees positive steps all around.
"As an organization, we're in a good spot," he said. "You're never satisfied. If I had Mays and Mantle, I'd still be looking for more. That's just the nature of what you do. But I think we're on our way to being what we want to become and that's a world champion. We have a ways to go to get there, but we also have pieces coming that are going to help us and we have pieces that are continuing to develop on our big league club.
"I'm happy we're where we are today personally, but also for this city and organization. And I'm looking forward to where we're going. It's going to be better than where we're at today."