Baker: Contract extension coming soon for Jack Zduriencik

Otto Greule Jr

On its face, it's shocking. But this is either good news, or no news at all.

Geoff Baker isn't done on this beat just yet. Or maybe this is part of the new investigative role but, either way, he dropped this big scoop:

Let's get this out of the way right now: no one can say definitively that Jack Zdurienzik has earned an extension. You can try, for sure, and I've heard arguments better than the one I tried to make when this team was on fire in July—but you can't irrefutably say Jack's on-field work has warranted a contract extension. Because it hasn't.

But you know what? This is still good news. Or, at worst, it's no news at all.

A lame duck general manager isn't a good idea for anyone. I've had my doubts about the notion Jack would burn the future he's spent years building to the ground as the price of a quick influx of talent, but for those of you who thought we'd see a Myers-for-Shields type offseason move because of Zdrurencik's job security, this should quell that.

Again, the argument can be made that Zduriencik doesn't deserve this—and, sure, whatever—but in this whole debate the side I agree with most is the clan of reasonable folks saying "This guy is either the man you want steering the franchise, or he isn't—make a long-term commitment, or can the guy."

They've decided, right now, he's the guy.

That could change. It can always change. When Eric Wedge was fired walked away from his job because he didn't feel wanted, and Jack Zduriencik made his day-after-day radio tour, he kept making the same point when asked about his contract: it doesn't matter how many years he has left on his deal, if Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong don't think he's the right guy to run the franchise, then he's going to get fired.

If this team loses 95 games next year, it isn't going to matter what Jack Zduriencik's contract says.Of course, with this post, I'm ignoring the first part of Baker's tweet, and while McClendon's multi-year contract is no surprise, it's important to consider it as context. This may have been a necessary step in bringing McClendon or any other manager on board—the belief that, at least on paper, his immediate boss has some job security.

This will undoubtedly cause a great deal of outrage, here and elsewhere, but it can't be stated enough: a lame duck general manager is a bad idea. On its face, the news is surprising—but considering the context, and where things are now, it was something that had to be done.

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