Mariners Mini Morsels: December 9

Nothing has been destroyed by Baker’s outstanding article. Rather, the article details what was destroyed many moons back, gradually over the course of months and years. For many, most certainly, the information is eye opening, but from here, what’s new are some of the details and anecdotes. What’s not new is the substance of the message. The organization’s not in great shape, in so many ways lacking the right kind of leadership. Source: Jeff Sullivan at USSMariner


Lincoln spoke often of the strength of cohesion in explaining how they had such great success after the departures of Randy Johnson, Ken Griffey Jr. and A-Rod. “The more I see,’’ he told The Seattle Times that season, “the more I am convinced there isn’t a connection between superstars and winning.” From: Larry Stone at the Seattle Times


Tampa likes Walker and a number of other prospects. You know what that says to me? You are on the right track. If the Rays like those players, the Mariners should like those players. Hang on to them. Or at least don’t give them all up for two years of a pitcher. Shannon Drayer at My Northwest


Two GMs: “Would NOT trade Taijuan Walker in David Price package.” (Seattle did offer TW in Justin Upton bid last winter.) Mariners getting lots of calls on Ackley, who had terrible start to ’13 but a nice finish. Mariner’s targets include Price, Cruz, Benoit, Corey Hart (GM Jack Zduriencik drafted him in Milwaukee) From: Jon Heyman at CBS Sports


The Mariners are targeting outfielders. Shin-Soo Choo and Nelson Cruz top the wish list. At this point, the club needs players with high on-base percentages so that Cano has base runners to drive in. As such, Choo would be an excellent addition given his penchant for reaching base. Choo’s on-base percentage, which was a career high .423 last season, combined with Cano’s batting average and power, is a recipe for runs. Cruz is a traditional middle-of-the-order bat, so there’s much less potential for lineup synergy. Source: Brad Johnson at the Hardball Times


AL West Commentary

Angels’ Jerry Dipoto is limited in attempt to improve team. The Angels are desperately in need of starting pitching, but they have little money left to spend and no impact prospects to trade, which makes it difficult for the general manager to make a deal. As the winter meetings open Monday, no one in the Angels’ front office expects a third consecutive Christmas surprise from ownership. Santa brought Albert Pujols to Anaheim two Decembers ago and Josh Hamilton last December, but to this point owner Arte Moreno has mandated his team remain under the luxury-tax limit. After all, the limit goes no higher next year, when Mike Trout cashes in.

The highest salary awarded to a player through the arbitration process is $10 million. Trout could get $15 million in his first year of arbitration, $20 million his second year and $25 million his third and final year, according to a person familiar with the process. The Angels have engaged in preliminary talks about a long-term extension with Trout, but they have no incentive to sign one any time soon, since that would trigger a luxury-tax payment this year. That buys the Angels a year to get the salaries of Joe Blanton and Vernon Wells off the books, which should cover Trout’s first arbitration contract and Hamilton’s $8-million raise in 2015. The team-building part is trickier. That leaves the Angels looking at the likes of Mike Pelfrey, Chris Capuano, Jason Hammel, Paul Maholm and Edinson Volquez. Sign two and try to out slug everyone else? “As an offensive team, we’re in very good shape,” Dipoto said. “In the bullpen, we’re in good shape. In the starting rotation, there’s still work to be done.” And, perhaps, one last winter to try to do it.  Source: Bill Shaikin at the LA Times

So they said

“The fact that we’re linked to a lot of people,” Zduriencik said, “we probably should be. Just from the amount of work we’ve done.” Source: Bob Dutton at The News Tribune


“I don’t know if you can ever (offset) what you lose with a guy like Robbie Cano,” said CC Sabathia, who is undertaking his usual offseason routine as he attempts to atone for the least productive season of his career. “But those are some pretty good players that we just got to step into some key positions.” Source: Andy McCullough at The Star-Ledger


Mariner’s potential off-season targets

Kendrys Morales: In a market almost devoid of power, you would think Morales would be a popular figure. But he, too, has that lose-a-draft-pick stigma attached. And NL teams view him, for the most part, as a guy who needs to stay in the AL because of health and defense worries. So almost no one saw him signing any time soon. “He’s in trouble,” said one AL exec. And one NL executive made it clear how much he agreed — by picking March 20 as Morales’ signing date, unless the Mariners strike out on the other bats they’re chasing and bring him back. “I think he has all the makings,” the exec said, “of this year’s Kyle Lohse.” Source: Jason Stark at ESPN [Insider needed and recommended]


John Axford has chances for closers job after non-tendering by St Louis Cards. Cubs, Orioles and Mariners are among the interested. From: Jon Heyman at CBS Sports


Orioles are in on Andre Ethier, Raul Ibanez and not in Morales or Tanaka if posted. From: Jim Bowden at ESPN



Rakuten Eagles president Yozo Tachibana spoke with the Japanese media, including Nikkan Sports and Jiji Press. The highlights of Tachibana’s comments include:

• If Tanaka wants to go to MLB, they would like to let him leave.
• It is questionable whether the $20 million posting fee cap is a fair price for his value.
• The Eagles had valued Tanaka’s posting price beyond $20 million.
• Convincing Tanaka to stay is a high priority.

So in the end, while the Eagles are obviously upset that they won’t be making as much money off Tanaka as they were anticipating, if Tanaka wants to make the jump to MLB this season, it’s expected that they will let him go.

A $20 million posting fee is still a substantial amount of money for the Eagles, who control Tanaka’s rights for two more seasons. If they choose not to post him this winter, Tanaka would be only one year away from true free agency, at which point Tanaka might prefer to not be posted and wait another year to sign without any restrictions, leaving the Eagles without any compensation. As one MLB team official put it, whether the Eagles were counting on $60 million or $20 million for Tanaka, in the end, it’s likely $20 million or nothing. Source:Ben Badler at Baseball America


Japanese clubs will be able to set a desired amount for the bidding fee of non-free agents after details of the new posting system were unveiled Friday. Sources said the amount of the posting fee, which Nippon Professional Baseball teams can decide, will be capped at $20 million.

This is in stark contrast to the previous system in which Major League Baseball clubs made blind bids for the right to negotiate with a player. The highest bidder was granted an exclusive, 30-day window to try to sign him. The new system is expected to increase opportunities for the posted player since it will open the bidding to more teams — almost similar to being a free agent — if the Japanese team sets a low enough price. Once the Japanese team sets a desired amount for the posting fee, it will be made public to all 30 major league clubs. All the teams who can tender the set fee will be able to negotiate with the player. The club that manages to sign the player will pay his Japanese team the fee. If a deal does not materialize, the player remains in Japan. A player can only be posted once during each offseason.

The new system, which is expected to go into effect as early as next week, will pave the way for Rakuten Eagles ace Masahiro Tanaka to the majors this winter. Throughout talks between NPB and MLB, it had been proposed to award negotiating rights to all the highest bidders under a $20 million ceiling. But in the end, the two parties agreed to let the Japanese team decide the posting fee. Source: Mainichi


Been told posting system document still not finalized and even when approved by NPB, still needs MLB executive council approval, which could come this week. Told that NPB has agreed to the main points in new posting deal (mainly the $20M maximum post bid), but smaller items slowing things down right now. From:Joel Sherman at the New York Post


Alumni News

The latest name to add to the list of southpaws the Nationals have expressed interest in, a person familiar with the situation said, is Eric O’Flaherty, a dominant Braves reliever coming off elbow reconstruction surgery. The Nationals have not yet given him an offer, but they have maintained dialogue with O’Flaherty, who has been one of the best relievers in baseball for the Nationals’ pre-eminent NL East rival. The Nationals are one of six teams to have shown interest in O’Flaherty. Source: Adam Kilgore at the Washington Post


According to a series of tweets, Dan Duquette indicated that the Orioles are interested in Raul Ibanez as a left-handed bat. Ibanez, 41, batted .242/.306/.487 with 20 doubles, 29 home runs and 65 RBIs in 124 games with the Mariners. He has 300 homers in 18 major league seasons. After hitting 24 homers, driving in 56 runs and posting a .578 slugging percentage in the first half, Ibanez batted .203/.295/.345 with five homers and nine RBIs in 51 games after the break. Ibanez played 99 games in left field, but I don’t recall hearing him mentioned among the finalists for a Gold Glove. His .306 on-base percentage didn’t impress, either. But he’s got some pop and could be a left-handed designated hitter. Source: Roch Kubatko at MASN


Yankees interested in Ibanez reunion but have other moves 1st and signs are he’ll sign at Winter Meetings Being good guy must matter. From: Joel Sherman at the New York Post


Rockies have expressed interest in free agents Michael Young and Raul Ibanez. But nothing serious at this point. Young viewed for bench role. From Troy Renck at the Denver Post


With Napoli off boards clubs such as Rangers, Rockies, Giants and Marlins are getting more serious on Mike Morse. Struggled last year but he had surgery in October for bone outgrowth in wrist that hampered him. In 3 previous years he averaged 21HRs, .861OPS. From: Joel Sherman at the New York Post