Mariners Mini Morsels: Winter Equinox Edition

Axial Tilt

“We’re at a point where I think we are trying to do a few more things. I’m not sure that anything is going to be a huge splash. We have some options out there that we can either make a trade or could add another piece to it. I think that if we go for another large deal, that obviously is going to have to go above my head. And at this moment we are where we are, and we’re trying to make things work with what we have.” GM Jack Zduriencik on MLB Network’s Hot Stove

(What you have ain’t enough Jack. Go! Fetch!)


“If the Mariners are done spending — if they truly are drawing the line after adding Cano and three lesser, oft-injured hitters — then the only thing that can be said about their plan is that there was no plan at all. Do the Mariners believe that Cano can almost single-handedly help the team’s young hitters improve? Do they think that their sophisticated fan base will be tricked into believing that this group of players will suddenly contend? That illusion should be shattered by the end of April, in a division that includes the AthleticsRangers and Angels, all of whom could be significantly improved by Opening Day. Again: What are the M’s doing? What is the plan? And how will general manager Jack Zduriencik survive if the Mariners’ 2014 season disintegrates into another mess?” Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports


Lincoln said they would have a bigger payroll budget this year. It was budgeted for $95M last season, although they only spent $87M. To me it sounds like Lincoln lied. Zduriencik also said they were not trading Walker, but it has been reported that they are considering it. I don’t trust these people anymore. As currently constituted, this team, even with Cano, is not going to be a contender. As it is, the Ms are a .500 team, tops. The new guys will be lucky to top the dinger total of Morales, Ibanez and Morse. The future of the Mariners is still down to the graduates; as they go, so go the M’s.


Mariners drawing strong trade interest in IF Nick Franklin with multiple teams involved, sources tell me and Jon Morosi. From: Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports


Walker’s stock rose with a couple of impressive outings in September. One rival GM opined, “I wouldn’t trade Walker straight-up for Price.” That seems a tad strong, but that prospect-protective mindset is getting to be pervasive in the game.

A person with connection to the Rays, meanwhile, says Seattle still has enough pieces to form a package for Price, even without Walker included. While that person didn’t mention any names, it’s likely left-handed starter James Paxton would be a person of interest, as might catcher Mike Zunino, a University of Florida prospect with big offensive potential. A Mariners person suggested they’d prefer not to deal Paxton, either, and build a deal around positional prospects. Source: Jon Heyman at CBS Sports  (Price for $30M in only the next two seasons, plus the cream or our farm crop, for a guy who’s agent says he won’t re-up with us is a bad deal done desperately.)


AL West Commentary

Free-agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo has agreed to a seven-year contract for $130 million with the Texas Rangers, sources told Yahoo Sports on Saturday morning. Choo presumably would bat leadoff for the Rangers, who traded their primary leadoff hitter –Ian Kinsler – to the Detroit Tigers for slugger Prince Fielder in November. Choo was second in the National League in on-base percentage last season to Cincinnati Reds teammate Joey Votto.

The Rangers also had been engaged with Nelson Cruz, who was their regular right fielder until he was suspended for 50 games as part of the Biogenesis investigation. They had some interest in bringing back Cruz, who hit 27 home runs – tied for 14th in the American League – in 109 games in 2013. Source: Tim Brown at Yahoo! Sports

(Obviously, the Rangers are no longer interested in Cruz.)

Right now, there’s an argument that the Angels are about as good as the Rangers and the A’s. Which means there’s an argument the Angels are contenders for both the division and the wild card. And some think the Angels are going to make a strong push for Tanaka, should he get posted, and that would significantly bolster a mediocre pitching staff. I don’t like how the Angels are positioned for the future. I don’t like many of the decisions that’ve been made by Jerry Dipoto and Arte Moreno. But for just this coming season, you should expect the Angels to make a lot of noise. Mike Trout is baseball’s biggest advantage, and there is enough talent that surrounds him. Source: Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs


The A’s still have seven players that are eligible for arbitration: Jim JohnsonLuke GregersonBrandon MossJosh ReddickJed LowrieJohn Jaso and Jesse Chavez. Source: Steve Adams at MLB Trade Rumors


The Texas Rangers signed infielder Kensuke Tanaka, a veteran of the Japan Pacific League, to a minor-league deal on Friday. The Rangers tried to sign Tanaka, 32, before last season as a potential utility infielder. He went to San Francisco and appeared in 18 games as an outfielder, hitting .267 with no extra-base hits in 30 at-bats. Tanaka and Rangers’ right-hander Yu Darvish were teammates for seven seasons with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters of the JPL. Source:Gerry Fraley at the Dallas Morning News


So they said

“HOF vote is conferring an honor. Writers aren’t throwing people in prison, or denying them a job. Just not honoring them.”  From: Brian Kenny


Mariner’s potential off-season targets

Royals are at payroll limit, so chances of bringing back Ervin Santana on 1-year deal are remote even if his price dropped. The money designated for Santana has already gone to free agents Jason Vargas and Omar Infante. From: Jerry Crasnick at ESPN


Orioles have interest in Kendrys Morales, source says, but the draft pick remains a substantial barrier. Source: Jon Morosi at Fox Sports


We can’t speak to the real current state of free-agent negotiations, but if there are teams thinking about six and seven years for Choo, they should also be thinking about Ethier, who could be had for little in a matter of minutes. And if the Dodgers are willing to eat a little salary, all the better. Andre Ethier isn’t signed to a good contract. But Choo’s probably not going to be, either, and that contract’s going to last an awful long time. Source: Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs


Baseball Best Practice

“Why would we spend money that we think is going to be money not well spent? That’s the important part. With the way the market is set up right now, I’m not real comfortable with going the extra mile for some of the guys that are still out there still that may improve us a little bit, but in the long run may be detrimental to us.” Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. to Corey Seidman at CSN Philly



Rakuten Golden Eagles president Yozo Tachibana on Masahiro Tanaka: “All I can say is that the correct information is that nothing has been decided.” From: Patrick Newman at NPB Tracker 


Hiroshi Mikitani Rakuten Golden Eagles owner: “We’re not planning on dragging this out. We want to give an answer quickly.” Source:


Tanaka said to be deciding between agents Casey Close, Arn Tellem and Mark Pieper. From: Patrick Newman at NPB Tracker 

(Yahoo! Japan story seemed to emphasize the fact that Casey Close was Derek Jeter’s agent, perhaps indicating a Yankees predisposition. The good news is Boras is not named.)


No word yet if Tanaka is coming, but Kevin Youkilis is joining Tanaka’s Golden Eagles team in Japan, per Nikkan Sports. From: Joel Sherman at the New York Post


Rangers GM Jon Daniels was asked if he would have wanted the new posting system two years ago when the Rangers pursued and signed Darvish. “No, I don’t, because we had an exclusive window,” Daniels said. “We knew we were in it. As long we didn’t screw up the negotiation, we were going to get the player. That’s what we were concerned about. That worked out pretty well for us.” Source: Todd Wills at


LAUSANNE (SUI) – For the first time in nearly five years, and since the implementation of the World Baseball Ranking system by the International Baseball Federation in 2009, there is a new leader in the world of baseball (See World Baseball Rankings).

A highly productive year by USA Baseball registered enough ranking points to surpass the previously top-ranked Cuba, which had reigned over the baseball world since the first rankings were calculated in 2009. After a second-round exit at the 3rd World Baseball Classic back in March, Team USA went on to capture gold medals in the 12U Baseball World Cup in July, beating host Chinese Taipei in the final, and the 18U Baseball World Cup in September, edging out “Samurai” Japan in Seoul, Korea.

USA was also able to generate pivotal points from the internationally sanctioned historic five-game “Friendship” series with Cuba that brought Team Cuba to the US for the first time in over 17 years. Team USA’s national university team won all five of the contests. Source:Press Release World Baseball Softball Confederation


Alumni News

The Rangers have re-signed left-hander Ryan Feierabend, who led Triple-A Round Rock in innings this season with 120 1/3. Feierabend appeared in 25 games with Seattle from 2006-08 and has the eighth-highest ERA (7.22) among pitchers with at least 100 career innings. Source: Gerry Fraley at the Dallas Morning News


Farm Report

NateTenbrink 3-5, 3B, 2RBI tonight. In 10G for Bravos de Margarita, .323 (10-31), HR, 2B, 2 3B, 5RBI, 6R, 9BB, 10K. From: Mariners Minors