The Seattle Mariners rewarded general manager Jack Zduriencik on Tuesday, giving him a multiyear contract extension while the team contends for its first playoff spot since 2001.
The team didn’t release details of his new deal.
Seattle went into Tuesday night’s game against Texas in the races for the AL West and the wild-card spots. At 71-59, the Mariners — boosted by the offseason signing of Robinson Cano, plus some recent moves — had already matched their win total for all of last year.
"I’m excited, I’m happy to be here for a few more years," Zduriencik said. "I believe in what we’re doing, I believe in the people that we have in place."
"Hasn’t always been easy. I think we put a plan in place and you do what your gut instincts tell you to do. I think where we’re at right now is we’re in a good spot as an organization," he said.
The 63-year-old Zduriencik has been Seattle’s GM since 2008. The Mariners haven’t reached the playoffs since losing in the AL Championship Series for the second straight time in 2001.
Mariners president Kevin Mather said he had discussions with ownership in January about Zduriencik’s long-term position and got the go-ahead to support him with an extension.
Zduriencik said he didn’t feel the need to broach such talks because he was focused on the day-to-day aspects of his job. Mather said the logistics came together Tuesday.
"It was as simple as I had lunch scheduled with him, we were talking about 2015," Mather said. "It literally was that simple."
"The question really was, ‘Do you like it here, are we treating you OK, are you enjoying your job, are we treating you right?’ He said, ‘I love it here, my family loves it here.’"
Zduriencik’s tenure with Seattle has been a mix of hits and misses, but the past two offseasons have proven fruitful in getting ace Felix Hernandez signed to a long-term contract, hiring Lloyd McClendon as manager and getting Cano with an offer of $240 million for 10 years.
Combined with the additions of Austin Jackson, Kendrys Morales and Chris Denorfia at the trade deadline and a pitching staff with the best ERA in the majors, the Mariners are in the postseason race.
Seattle also been helped by the continued development of third baseman Kyle Seager, a Zduriencik draft pick who earned his first All-Star selection this season. And Dustin Ackley, a former No. 2 overall pick by Zduriencik, has started to become the hitter in the second half of this season that the Mariners expected.
"I think there’s a lot of things that happen when you run an organization. A lot of things that don’t always go exactly as you hope they would go and there’s oftentimes a lot of things that happen where you can’t comment on it," Zduriencik said. "You’re just not in a position to make any public statement."
"But if you believe in what you believe in and you know what you’re doing is right, sometimes moves and decisions that happen are a little bit unpopular and sometimes there are things that get a little bit off track, but you have to stay the course and believe what you believe in," he said.
Zduriencik came to Seattle after serving as an assistant GM with the Milwaukee Brewers. He also spent time with the New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh.