According to Shannon Drayer of ESPN 710 AM in Seattle, the Mariners have signed general manager Jack Zduriencik to a multi-year contract extension.
The Mariners finished 40 games under .500 last season and sit 20 games under .500 here in 2011, but Zduriencik is widely regarded as one of baseball’s most forward-thinking executives and Seattle’s higher-ups clearly have confidence that he’s leading the youth-heavy club in the right direction.
Zduriencik — or “Jack Z” if you’re not big on spelling things out — began his professional baseball career back in 1973 as a player with the White Sox’s affiliate in the Gulf Coast League. He never made it to the major leagues and eventually moved into an off-field role, serving as an area scout for the Mets from 1983-1989.
Zduriencik bounced around in the 90s before latching on as the Brewers’ director of scouting near the end of the decade. That gig led to a front office job with Milwaukee in 2006, and in October 2008 the Mariners made him their general manager and executive vice president of baseball operations. Now he’ll remain in that role for another several seasons, and will look to bring winning baseball back to the Great Northwest.
Zduriencik has misfired on some deals, namely the Chone Figgins free-agent signing, but he has a knack for scouting and player evaluation, and would seem to be the right fit going forward for the rebuilding M’s.
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: