The Seattle Mariners are expected to clarify the status of general manager Jack Zduriencik in the next few days, and may do so as early as Wednesday, sources have told Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
The initial confusion surrounding Zduriencik -- or Jack Z, for short -- began Tuesday when a report surfaced claiming that the Mariners had quietly given him a one-year contract extension, keeping the GM in the Seattle front office through the 2014 season. That report was later refuted by another that claimed the extension wasn't actually a new development, but something that had been agreed to privately before the 2013 season began.
At the same time, the team's persistent struggles on the field -- the M's on pace for their fourth consecutive losing season -- have led some to speculate that Jack Z is on the hot seat, per Heyman. The conflicting reports have left things a bit of a jumbled mess.
Mariners president Chuck Armstrong didn't help matters much in his brief phone interview with Heyman on Tuesday, stating:
"It's just not our policy -- I know some teams will talk about it -- we just don't talk about contractual situations.
"Except I can assure you we haven't had conversations with anybody about changing GMs. Jack's our GM, and it's a situation where we're finishing the season. Jack's our GM until he's not our GM."
Armstrong also briefly addressed the speculation that the club could be interested in bringing Yankees GM Brian Cashman in to take over, but wouldn't discuss much more than his personal affinity for Cashman:
"I'm a fan of Brian Cashman. We're both Kentucky guys. He's an astute baseball man, and I like him very much."
Armstrong added that he asked the Yankees permission for an interview with Cashman five years ago when the GM spot last opened up, but that New York declined his request. Cashman is under contract with the Yankees through the 2014 season, so if the M's really want him, they're going to have to wait another year before they can really give it a go.
Jack Z's standing contract with the Mariners was presumed to end at the end of this season, so there's a chance that is still the case. We just won't know for sure until the team clears things up.
The M's were 85-77 in Zduriencik's first season at the helm, but have finished last in the AL West each of the last three years.