Mariners sign GM Jack Zduriencik to multi-year extension

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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.

Mets to move Matt Harvey to the bullpen

Matt Harvey
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Mets right-hander Matt Harvey is heading to the bullpen, according to comments made by club manager Mickey Callaway on Saturday. As predicted, Harvey doesn’t appear to be taking the news particularly well, going so far as to tell Callaway that the decision has him “at a 10 with being pissed off” and that he’s motivated to prove himself as a starter.

It’s been rough going for Harvey this spring. After missing significant time to a shoulder injury last season, the 29-year-old righty returned to the mound with a lot left to prove. He pitched to an 0-2 record in four starts, issuing 14 runs, four home runs and 17 strikeouts in 21 innings. It’s been a while since the Mets have seen anything better out of their starter — he hasn’t turned in a sub-4.00 ERA since 2015 and hasn’t pitched well enough to earn an All-Star berth since 2013 — and now it appears they’re at the end of their rope.

At this point, the Mets insist that the shift is a temporary one. While Callaway has helped successfully convert several starters to the bullpen, including Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco, that’s not the plan for this veteran right-hander. Instead, both the team and Harvey seem to view the change as a way to clear up any mental blocks Harvey may be encountering on the mound. “We know he’s healthy,” assistant GM John Ricco told reporters. “He’s feeling good. Then you get to, is this a little bit of a mental thing, a confidence thing? One of the things we talk about is getting him into the ‘pen, where he can have success in short spurts, get that confidence back and really let it go and get back to being a guy who can dominate the way he’s shown in the past.”

Harvey will be eligible to pitch out of the bullpen on Tuesday, when the Mets are scheduled to kick off their next road series against the Cardinals. As for his replacement, left-hander Jason Vargas will resume his role in the rotation when he comes off the disabled list next Saturday.