How wide was the concern that Jack Zduriencik would lose his job as the Mariners' general manager at the conclusion of this season? Informed or uninformed, it was vast, to borrow the word used by the older priest _ he pronounces it "vost" _ in this "Seinfeld" episode . Many Mariners baseball operations employees fretted about Zuriencik's future and, consequently, their own.
Outside the organization, a talent evaluator from another team predicted to me that the Mariners would not retain Zduriencik and would go after Yankees GM Brian Cashman.
But nope, Zduriencik will return, and that's much-deserved. The major-league results haven't been there this year or last year, following a surprisingly exciting 2009. But as Mariners upper management said in a statement, Zduriencik has followed through on his vow to bring young talent into an organization that was a shambles when he took over.
Just last night, following the M's announcement, the team defeated pennant contender Los Angeles of Anaheim when former Mets prospect Mike Carp _ whom the Mariners acquired in the infamous J.J. Putz trade _ hit an eighth-inning, two-run double. Seattle is trending upward.
Now, as for Cashman: As I've written here before, I think he'll return to the Yankees after this season, upon the conclusion of his current, three-year contract. There's always been some drama in Cashman's walk years, but there's less so this time. He has a very strong working relationship with Hal Steinbrenner, the Yankees' farm system is widely respected and besides, Cashman is on record that he'd like to stick around.
The Mariners' decision to retain Zduriencik increases that likelihood. It does so on an obvious level because, you know, that's one fewer opening. Yet there's also the fact that the Seattle job, specifically, has intrigued Cashman in the past. It did so after the 2008 season, before Cashman re-upped with the Yankees; the Mariners wound up hiring Zduriencik.
It's a good job, the Mariners gig. Ownership is willing to spend; Safeco Field is a beautiful ballpark to which, history shows, the fans come when there's a club worth seeing; Seattle is a great city; and the media crunch is exponentially less than that of New York. Hence Cashman's interest three years ago, according to friends, and it's why people pegged him there again now had an opening occurred.
But the Mariners and Yankees are both headed in the right direction. So even though we love to monitor the front-office Hot Stove League as much as we do the player version, the status quo in Seattle (definitely) and the Bronx (quite probably) is better news for both fan bases.