Mariners Mini Morsels: December 5

Zduriencik was asked about trading young prospects today in the conference call. His response: “You’d prefer not to, but you never know how it’s going to play out,” he said. “You don’t know how you’re going to cross that bridge until the discussions get very specific in terms of players. I do think we like the young core group of guys here. We like what we’ve done. We like the arms that are here. But, again, if you have an opportunity to make your ball club better, you have to always keep the door open, always make yourself available for discussion and see where it ends up.”

On the subject large, long-term contracts – not specifically Cano – and teams growing more and more resistant to giving deals over five years to free agents, Zduriencik’s comments were telling. “I don’t think anybody loves them,” he said. “I don’t think that’s the case with anybody in baseball. Any kind of deal you can get on a short term, there’s more surety to it and less risk. But then there’s also the market that plays into it. You’ve seen these things go the way they go. You have to adapt to the market. In some cases, if you have to stretch more than you want, then you just have to and there’s not much you can do about it.”

“It was a clear goal of ours to get us to a point where we would have young and inexpensive players throughout the line-up and I think we’ve accomplished that goal,” said Zduriencik. “I always felt there would be a time where [we] would have to augment this club. I think we are at that time.” I don’t know if that’s an answer or gives us any hints, but that’s what he said. So the Mariners could possibly acquire Robinson Cano and David Price this offseason? I will now prepare for Armageddon. —Ryan Divish at the Seattle Times


The door is also open for trades, but reluctantly.“You would prefer not to but you never know how that is going to turn out,” Zduriencik said. “You don’t know how you are going to cross that bridge until you have discussions that get very specific in terms or players. We like what we have but you have to always keep the door open.” He has both currencies needed in this sport – dollars and young players. He would rather give up the former. The question now, is who will take it?

Source:Shannon Drayer at My Northwest


Comment From Chris_FB_ Saw your USSM piece on the Cano-to-Mariners rumors. Are the M’s damned-if-they-do, damned-if-they-don’t, this offseason? If they get some premium players, great, they have just as good an offseason as the Angels have the last 2 years, and look how that worked out. If they don’t get anyone significant or high quality, it’s more of the same ol same ol. If they “were in on” all the big names, more signs that a lame team has the stink of failure on it.


Cameron: It’s not like the only way to acquire players is to overpay for big names. There’s no reason they couldn’t have made 5-6 smart, low profile moves that filled out the roster with good upgrades and kept their financial flexibility for the future so that when a free agent actually wanted to come to Seattle, they’d have the ability to sign him.


So they said

“That’s the nature of this call, to try and give you as much of an update as I can without saying anything,” he said with a laugh. Jack Zduriencik on conference call via Shannon Drayer at My Northwest


“If Alex isn’t suspended, there’s almost no way they can sign everyone they want and stay under $189 million,” according to a major league official familiar with the Yankees’ situation said, adding that as long as A-Rod’s 211-game doping suspension is held up or reduced to no less than 162 games, “They might just pull this off.” Source: Mark Feinsand at the NewYork Daily News


“So the Yankees will inevitably regret signing Jacoby Ellsbury to a seven-year, $153 million deal — the real question is when. If they don’t regret the deal until 2018 or 2019 — when Ellsbury is a 35-year old coming to the end of his deal, struggling to stay in center field, constantly battling some nagging injuries — then you would have to say that they should feel pretty good about things. The trouble with these deals is that the regret often happens much earlier than you expect. I’m sure the Angels KNEW they were going to regret the Josh Hamilton deal at some point. I just don’t think they expected it to be the first year.” Joe Posnanski at Hardball Talk


Mariner’s potential off-season targets

Sounds as if Mets, White Sox and Mariners are the three teams with the most interest in Granderson. If Mets whiff, will likely go for Cruz. From: Mike Puma at the New York Post


Nats remain in on lefty reliever Ollie Perez. Seattle and San Diego like him, too. New Mariners Manager Lloyd McClendon had him in Pittsburgh. From: Adam Kilgore at the Washington Post


The Brewers, who remain interested in signing Corey Hart, are rumored to be checking in on every available first baseman, according to the source. Initial reports indicated that they were not interested in Napoli, Morneau or Loney, but Hart’s strong market and potential for a two-year deal may have changed the game for them. Source: Chris Cotillo at MLB Daily Dish


Sources:Orioles active in free agent talks for bats and arms; have interest in Shin-Soo Choo, Nelson Cruz and Ubaldo Jimenez. From: Jon Morosi at Fox Sports


With Ellsbury off the board, Choo is getting lots of attention. My guess is the Rangers are the favorites there. From: Tim Brown at Yahoo! Sports


Comment From Guest: Should the Mariners try and sign Corey Hart?

Dave Cameron: I think so.


Comment From Thad: Does Fister trade make you think Tigers are favorites for Choo?

Dave Cameron: Yeah.


Comment From Brian: Chances the Mariners sign Cruz, Santana, and Morales and call it an offseason?

Dave Cameron: They’ll sign a closer too.


Comment From Seymour: what do you think Garza ends up with and whom?

Dave Cameron: 4/60 from Seattle.



Nippon Professional Baseball and Major League Baseball have reached a basic agreement on a new posting system, sources said Thursday. It is thought that an agreement has been reached after MLB requested a posting fee cap of $20 million. The move will be formalized once the two sides have ironed out the details. “A draft is being prepared and hopefully both MLB and NPB can sign an official decision,” said NPB secretary general Atsushi Ihara.

The implementation of the new system would pave the way for Tohoku Rakuten Eagles pitcher Masahiro Tanaka to sign with a major league team this winter. Tanaka told Rakuten during contract negotiations in December last year that he hopes in the future to pursue a career in the major leagues. He has not clearly stated that he wants to make the move this off-season. NPB on Tuesday discussed with representatives of the Japan’s 12 teams MLB’s demands of a maximum posting fee of $20 million and although Rakuten showed reluctance to the proposal, it accepted the idea and resolution was passed. Source: Japan Times


Posting proposal: Player can negotiate with all teams that make max bid for rights. That means: FA bidding war! From Bill Shaikin at the LA Times


Proposed Japanese posting system wouldn’t help small-market teams so much as big-market teams that suck.Tanaka to Cubs?  From: Jonah Keri


Infielder Casey McGehee, who contributed in leading the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles to their first Japan Series championship this season, has been granted a release, the commissioner’s office said Tuesday. McGehee was among the commissioner’s list of protected players retaining negotiating rights for next year, but the team has granted him a release since the 31-year-old Californian is contemplating a return to the major leagues. The Eagles plan to continue talks with McGehee and have already proposed sweetening the offer with a substantial pay raise in a multiyear deal.

Hiroshi Abei, the Eagles’ scout in charge of signing foreign players, said he received a phone call from McGehee’s agent early on Tuesday morning. “We accepted his request because that’s what he desires,” said Abei. Should McGehee decide to continue playing in Japan, he has said he would like to remain with the Eagles. In his first year in Japan, the former New York Yankees player who spent most of his time at third base with the Eagles hit a team-high 28 home runs with 93 RBIs in all 144 games. Source: Japan Times


By The Numbers

In 1983 Jack Morris completed 20 games, averaged 8 innings per start, and threw 293.2 innings, the most in the past 30 years. Source: YCPB You Can’t Predict Baseball


David Price’s pitching WAR over the last three seasons: 13.5. Doug Fister’s WAR in those years: 13.3. From: Buster Olney


Comment From Evan: In regards to WAR, why does 10 runs equal 1 win? That sounds high.

Dave Cameron: It’s based on historical evidence. A team that scores 700 runs and allows 700 runs will win ~81 games. A team that scores 710 runs and allows 700 runs will win ~82 games.


Baseball Biz

A look at the Yankees’ finances reveals that a lust for trophies isn’t the only thing fueling this free-agent splurge. When the Yankees fail to make the playoffs, as they did in 2013, their revenues plummet. Proceeds from ticket sales and stadium suite licenses alone totaled $295 million through Sept. 30 this year, according to public records reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. That is down from $353 million in 2012, $377 million in 2011 and $384 million in 2010, the records show.

The figures appeared on financial statements the Yankees are required to file with the city to demonstrate their ability to make payments on the bonds used in the construction of Yankee Stadium. Attendance represents just one of the Yankees’ revenue streams, but it highlights the enormity of the financial incentives for the team to make the playoffs. People with knowledge of the team’s finances said the drop-off from 2012 is almost entirely a result of the fact that they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

Had the Yankees failed to reach the playoffs in 2012, their ticket and suite revenues would have been closer to $300 million rather than $353 million, the people said. Similarly, in 2010 and 2011, postseason games accounted for $59 million and $58 million of all such revenues, respectively. That is to say nothing of the boost in merchandise and concession sales and next-year ticket sales.

“What this clearly shows is that the Yankees’ whole financial equation is built around winning,” said Vince Gennaro, author of “Diamond Dollars: The Economics of Winning in Baseball” and a consultant to major-league teams. “If you take that away, they become mere mortals from a financial standpoint. The financial payoff at this juncture, coming off a missed postseason, is way more than any other team stands to gain by improving themselves by three, four, five, six wins—whatever the number might be,” Gennaro said. “Some people will say, ‘Well, is it an overpay?’ With the Yankees, that’s the wrong question. The second-biggest problem the Yankees could have is overpaying for a free agent. The biggest problem is not getting the free agent they need to get back to the postseason and make a deep run into it.”

If all had gone to plan, the Yankees wouldn’t have needed to spend much on free agents at all. Steinbrenner believes the team shouldn’t require an exorbitant payroll to win championships. And he is right: A better farm system would make such an outlay less of a necessity.“I know there’s people out there who have said, ‘Well, the Yankees just have this money machine that just keeps printing money,'” Gennaro said. “Let me tell you: If the Yankees were an 85-win team or an 83-win team for three or four years in a row, they would suffer financially orders of magnitude more than any other franchise.” Source: Brian Costa at the Wall Street Journal