Ryan Divish is reporting that Jack Zduriencik has quietly received a one year contract extension through 2014. Zduriencik's contract is set to expire at the end of the season otherwise. Divish has reportedly known about this rumor from his source for a while, but held onto it until he could ask Chuck Armstrong, who had no comment.
If true I'm a little surprised, but not totally shocked. Despite the team's W/L record looking remarkably similar to 2012, the batch of young talent emerging is a result of Z's work, and I always suspected there was a chance he'd be rewarded for it, even if the acquisitions of Major League talent has been questionable.
I like Jack Zduriencik, generally speaking. He's done a lot of good things for this organization, and has them in a position to possibly break though and contend in the next couple of years, even if it took a little longer than it could have, or should have. I like how tightly he keeps things to the vest. I like his carefully guarded words and I like his understanding of building from the bottom. Still, I have my doubts that Z is the right man for the job past this season. His transformation of the young talent in this organization has been remarkable, but his big league roster construction has left a lot to be desired.
I have thought for a while that the Mariners could thank Z for all he's done and let him walk at the end of this season, hire a GM whose specialty is big league roster construction, and build off the excellent foundation Z built for this organization. I don't really believe in my heart that Jack Zduriencik can lead this franchise to a World Series. I think he has been a major part of the first step. The organization might need somebody else to take the additional steps, but I'm not going to lose sleep if Z is around for another offseason. I just don't know, honestly. I can't know.
In all reality, a one year extension isn't much of anything at all. At the surface level, it provides Z with at least some sense of job security. I don't know if job security leads to better decision making, but it will possibly cut down on the panic decision making, or making moves out of fear that are so short-sighted they hurt the team in the long run. I've been critical of Z this season for pushing the envelope too quickly with Mike Zunino, and even speculated (perhaps unfairly) that it felt like the move of a man fearing his job. If the extension is indeed done, it may have been done for a while before this news leaked.
It also gives the Mariners some options, which might include searching for a replacement. A one year extension isn't going to prevent them from replacing him with somebody else if the right fit is found to unseat him. It's a cutthroat business, and Z has been given a lot of rope to work with. Don't think that this means Z is absolutely going to be around in 2014. A lot can change in the offseason.
This seems like big news, but it really isn't big at all. Nothing has changed, and now it's just slightly more possible that nothing will change next year as well. Does Z get one final offseason to prove he knows how to put together a well-constructed big league roster? For now, it seems like he will, but I'm not the only one who needs convincing.