“When you’re basing a lot of trust in a lot of kids with a short window of success, that is risky,” Zduriencik said. “They’re talented, but how quickly they become legitimate Major Leaguers is yet to be seen. There may be an opportunity for us in next few days where we can add something to it.
I’m not pencilling anybody in anywhere,” Zduriencik said. “Let them go out there and compete. It’s all up to them. I can’t tell you who the center fielder is or the left fielder, but I can tell you who the candidates are. Other than Corey Hart, none of these guys have established themselves. If we’re going to be a really good ballclub, let’s see what happens in Spring Training. It’s up to them.
Is Ackley the player he was after the All-Star break? Will Michael Saunders be able to put the pieces together? Will Smoak be able to do it? If those guys do that, the additions we made will be really good. But the best additions would be our guys getting better.” Source:Greg Johns at MLB
“In order to be successful at this game, sometimes you’ve got to fail and get knocked down on the mat,” McClendon said. “But at some point, you’ve got to get up and start fighting back. I think it’s time for some of our young pitchers — particularly in the bullpen — to get off the mat. Let’s find out what you’re made of.” Fighting words, those, and general manager Jack Zduriencik smiles when he hears them. “You’re going to be excited about Lloyd, if you’re not already,” Zduriencik said. “I’m excited about him as a person and as a teacher. I liked him a lot when I hired him, and I like him a whole lot now. He gets it.” Source: John McGrath at The News Tribune
“In time, Tanaka will be just another pitcher. Maybe a very good one, but in time he’ll feel real. We’ll be able to say, okay, he’s as good as this other guy, like we can do with Yu Darvish. In time he’ll feel a lot less, I don’t know, exotic. The process started today when we heard about the one hundred seventy-five million dollars. I’m okay with the Mariners sitting this one out. I’m just not quite sure what they’re supposed to do now.” Source: Jeff Sullivan at USSMariner
Endy Chavez has agreed to a minor league deal with the Mariners, source says. It includes a big league invite to spring training. From: Jerry Crasnick at ESPN (Chavez, who turns 36 in February, signed a minor league deal with the M’s last March and ended up playing in 97 Major League games, seeing time at all three outfield positions and hitting .267/.290/.327 in 279 PA.)
AL West Commentary
The Angels sign former Rockies IF Ian Stewart to a minor league deal with a spring invite. Stewart, 29, has .736 OPS in 6 years. Plays 2B, 3B. From: Jeff Fletcher at the Orange County Register
So they said
Said the executive who scouted Tanaka, “His walk rate will go up and his strikeout rate will go down. And if he doesn’t trust his stuff against major league hitters, he’ll nibble and his walk rate will go up even more, like happened with [Daisuke Matsuzaka]. And pitching in that ballpark in the AL East is another factor.” Source: Tom Verducci at Sports Illustrated
“In Japan, a bad pitch might end in a single, but at the Majors, that could be a home run,” Tanaka said, according to the Times. “The hitting power is different. And they’re careful with pitch counts [in the U.S.]. It’s not like I’ve never played ball before. I don’t want to over think it.” Joey Nowak at MLB.com
“I understand that to stay here, you’re not going to get a free-agent deal. You’re not going to do it. You can’t. It’s not possible. You’re bidding against one team. I understand you’re going to take a discount to stay. Do I want to do that? Absolutely. But just like they want it to be fair for them, I want it to be fair for me and my family. If we can get to something hopefully in Spring Training, that’s awesome.” Jon Lester of the Red Sox. Source: Jason Mastrodonato at MassLive
Mariner’s potential off-season targets
As of a week ago, Ervin Santana still was seeking a four-year deal in the $60M range. Chances of him getting anything close growing slimmer. From: Jeff Passan at Yahoo! Sports
Source:Orioles making progress on Fernando Rodney. O’s expected to make one other significant move as well. From: Jonah Keri at Grantland (If the M’s want to sign an established closer Rodney looks to be the last one standing now that Balfour has signed with the Rays.) However, Dan Connolly at the Baltimore Sun writes that may not be the case as, “the Orioles may attempt to ramp up their pursuit of Fernando Rodney, the best free-agent closer still available, but they hadn’t done it as of Thursday afternoon. According to an industry source, the Orioles and Rodney’s representatives have not had any dialogue in weeks while the club narrowed its focus to starting pitching. That’s contrary to several Internet reports Thursday that said the talks between the Orioles and Rodney had heated up.
Draft and Prospects
While several of the Mariners’ former top farmhands have now moved onto the Major League roster, Seattle still has one of the premier young talents in baseball with right-hander Taijuan Walker listed sixth overall in MLB.com’s preseason Top 100 Prospect rankings. Walker, 21, made three starts for the Mariners in the final month last season and is expected to challenge for a rotation spot this spring, but he remains a rookie in eligibility and thus is still part of the Top 100 Prospect rankings released on Thursday. Seattle’s only other player ranked among the Top 100 is D.J. Peterson, who came in 88th overall and eighth among third basemen. Source: Greg Johns at MLB
Scouts have poured into the Dominican Republic this week for a series of high-profile showcases, including Major League Baseball’s major July 2 showcase Wednesday and Thursday in San Pedro de Macoris for some of the top July 2 prospects in Latin America. Dodger’s scouts, meanwhile, were attending a private workout this week for Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, with Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti among those in attendance. Castillo, 26, left Cuba at the end of 2013, and while he’s not a free agent yet, he’s expected to draw considerable interest from major league teams given his tool set and track record in Cuba, including playing for the Cuban national team. Source: Ben Badler at Baseball America
By The Numbers
[Endy] Chavez, who will turn 36 on Feb. 7, hit .267 with two home runs and 14 RBIs in 266 at-bats, and he led all Mariners with a .295 batting average at Safeco Field last season. Chavez also hit .357 (5-for-14) as a pinch-hitter, including a home run at Cleveland on May 20. Source: Greg Johns at MLB
Over the last 10 seasons (2004-13), Miguel Cabrera leads the majors with 1,198 RBIs, followed by Albert Pujols (1,117), David Ortiz (1,090), and Mark Teixeira (1029).” From: The Bill Chuck Files
The Yankees will shell out $175 million for Tanaka — $155 million in salary plus the $20 million posting fee. But that’s not all. The signing also pushes New York past the $189 million tax threshold, which means a 50 percent tax on the overage. That means Tanaka’s salary (if you choose to isolate it and the team remains well above the threshold) effectively gets taxed as much as $77.5 million, bringing the potential effective cost of signing Tanaka to as much as $252.5 million.
Source: Tom Verducci at Sports Illustrated
The Tanaka deal caps an offseason in which the Yankees added catcher Brian McCann and outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran. The four big deals totaled $438 million. Tanaka receives the highest contract for an international free agent and the fifth-largest deal for a pitcher, trailing only those of the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw ($215 million), Detroit’s Justin Verlander ($180 million), Seattle’s Felix Hernandez ($175 million) and the Yankees’ CC Sabathia ($161 million under his original agreement with New York). Source: The Japan Times
Source: Chone Figgins agrees to minor-league deal with Dodgers with invitation to major-league spring training. From:Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports
Maryland native [and former Mariner’s reliever] Aaron Laffey gets a Minor League deal with the Orioles. From: Anthony Castrovince at MLB.com
If veteran reliever David Aardsma breaks camp with the Indians, he’ll earn $1 million. Coming to camp on minor league deal. From: Paul Hoynes at the Cleveland Plain Dealer