08/31/11 8:45 PM ET
Mariners, GM Zduriencik agree to extension
By Greg Johns / MLB.com
Zduriencik, who was in the final year of his original three-year deal, agreed to the extension Wednesday and said his sights remain set on bringing a World Series to Seattle.
"It was pretty quick," he said of negotiations with Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln and president Chuck Armstrong. "They said we'd like you to stay and here's what we want to do and then I had a short conversation with my wife and here we are."
Zduriencik, 60, has overseen a makeover of the Mariners' farm system, with much of the young talent already knocking on the Major League door. The Mariners have 12 rookies on their current 25-man roster and have played 15 rookies this season, the most in the Major Leagues.
Zduriencik is the eighth general manager in franchise history. He has been in Major League Baseball for 28 years and previously spent nine seasons with the Brewers from 1999-2008, where he was named Executive of the Year by Baseball America in '07.
"I'm very happy here in Seattle," said the Pennsylvania native. "When I took this job three years ago, we said we were going to try and build this thing from the ground up and accumulate talent every way we can. If you look at what's on the field here, I think we're starting to see that.
"The fact I've been asked to stay on is important. It's important to the whole process and certainly means a lot to me. I'm excited to have the opportunity to be here for more years."
Length of the contract was not released, per club policy, but the Mariners made it clear they feel Zduriencik is the right man moving forward.
"Jack arrived in Seattle with a clear plan and he has not deviated from that plan," Armstrong said in a statement. "Jack wanted to increase the talent base in our organization through scouting and player development. That is exactly what he has done."
Eric Wedge, hired by Zduriencik as the field manager this year, noted he didn't really know his new boss at the time of his hire, but said their relationship has grown throughout this season.
"I think everybody was hoping this was going to happen," Wedge said. "Jack is a great baseball person and great human being. He cares about the right things, which is important. I'm telling you, that's important.
"And he gets what we're trying to do. He's leading this thing and he understands," said Wedge, whose young club was 57-77 going into Wednesday night's game with the Angels. "When everybody is coming around, that's when it gets to be a little easier. But right now is when you've got to believe and understand what we're doing and stay the course. And you've got to have leadership in place that understands that, and he gets that better than anybody."
Of the 32 players on the Mariners' current Major League roster -- including seven on the disabled list -- 28 were acquired by Zduriencik and his staff. Of those, 15 came by trade, three were drafted, nine signed as free agents and one is a waiver claim.
The club has stockpiled some impressive talent in the Minor Leagues, including top pitching prospects Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker and James Paxton from the past two Drafts. The Major League club includes rookie standouts Dustin Ackley and Michael Pineda as well as hot-hitting Mike Carp and several key newcomers acquired in trades last month.
"We set our agenda when I took this job and I think as the years have gone on, we're getting to where we want to get to," Zduriencik said. "We're certainly not satisfied where we're at by any means at all. I do think we see some signs of hope and signs of things that will be positive for the future.
"When you look at the system and the young guys who've had a chance to be here, it bodes well for where we're headed. The fact the organization and Chuck and Howard and ownership group recognize that is very much appreciated."
Armstrong said that development bodes well for the future.
"We are headed in the right direction for long-term success," Armstrong said. "Now, as quality young players drafted by the Mariners and developed in our system begin to arrive in Seattle, our fans can look forward to an exciting future thanks to Jack's efforts."