To say this site has had a tenuous relationship with Jack Zduriencik is an understatement, at best. A year ago, Logan argued that the extension he received previous to the 2013 was a mistake, and then I argued that the Mariners made an equally bad mistake by allowing him to return for 2014 after a miserable 2013 season. Then, he was ripped by ex-employees in an offseason scandal unearthed by Geoff Baker, and things were pretty much at rock bottom.
Still, Zduriencik had nothing to lose, yet he chose not to mortgage this team's future to show significant immediate improvement at the expense of the team's long-term success. Jack Zduriencik chose not to be Bill Bavasi this year, even though many of us expected him to be. Maybe it's because he had hit rock bottom that all expectations were washed away, but this was an improvement in a different situation. A new president in Kevin Mather. An absolutely mammoth free agent signing for the biggest contract in franchise history. Shrewd complimentary moves like Chris Young and Fernando Rodney, a manager that seems like a good fit (finally), and a roster that came together as some of Zduriencik's perpetually slow progressing young players started to play major roles in the team's success. The Mariners are good, not great, and much of that is a result of what Zduriencik has done in the past year. No matter how critical we have been in the past, he deserves his share of credit for the position this team is in now -- even though you could argue it took him far too long to get to this point.
Zduriencik further solidified his excellent season with a smart trade deadline, as Austin Jackson may not have been the splashy acquisition many wanted, but proved to be just as big of an upgrade by replacing the sub-replacement level James Jones. Chris Denorfia came at a reasonable cost, and the Mariners still haven't faltered as they enter their final playoff push.
It's unclear exactly how long the extension is for, except that the Mariners call it a multi-year deal. It seems like the length matters more than it actually does, as we all knew Zduriencik was bound to return after the season the Mariners have had. Whether or not people would have potentially supported him returning, it was going to happen anyway. Now, as the Mariners face another critical offseason in which they can't sit back and hope this team is good enough again with regression possible in many key areas -- starting pitching and the bullpen, especially -- they can focus on seeing Z's plan through, for better or worse.
It's gotten to the point in which Zduriencik's job is probably safe one way or another until the Mariners take a step back, and the extension really doesn't change that. If he's bad again, he'll get fired, at least in theory. General managers are routinely canned with time left on their contract, so this isn't exactly job security past next year -- something he'd already earned, informally.
Jack Zduriencik is being rewarded for what he's done this past year, and especially after the scandal, and it's hard to argue it isn't deserved. It's good business. Whether he's the best man for the job or not is tough to evaluate, since the past has been so rocky and the present is relatively smooth. And so we beat on.
In Z we trust, with trepidation, for yet another year.