December 9, 2013 at 7:27 AM
Thanks to everyone who participated in the chat. It was entertaining as always. The Mariners like Shin Soo-Choo, but so do many other teams as Ken Rosenthal reports here.
A few more notes from Zduriencik’s meeting with the media
On any possible effect of the Times story on free agent negotiations or as a distraction?
“Our focus is totally on making this club better,” he said. ”We’re going to try to do what we can here, continue our meetings with the agents and focus on baseball.”
Zduriencik admitted that his current roster and possible projected line-ups is a little too left-handed heavy. And ideally they’d add a right-handed bat.
“It would be very important,” he said. “That could very well be our main focus. But I also think if you can add talent, you just have to take a chance. Even though we are more left-handed oriented than I’d like to be right now, you still have to try to improve your club. But preferably a right-handed bat would be better.”
Zduriencik was also very candid on possibly bringing back Raul Ibanez as a bat off the bench and maybe a platoon situation DH. But it’s not a priority right now.
“We’re very fond of Raul,” he said. ” We have to sift through some things at these meetings, primarily because we are so left-handed. As much as he and I would like to get something done, I think we need a little more time to figure out how we’re going to allocate and what opportunities present themselves here. And that’s hard to say because he had such a good year and he’s such a great guy. But we certainly again are touching all of our bases on a lot of players.”
We just got done meeting with general manager Jack Zduriencik. Quite a bit of stuff to sift through, but the biggest piece of news was his comments about trade rumor surrounding top prospect Taijuan Walker.
“I don’t have any intentions of trading Taijuan Walker,” Zduriencik said. “You listen to any opportunities that present themselves and you go into discussions with a lot of people. And his name will come up. Why wouldn’t it? As do a lot of our guys, quite frankly. But Taijuan is high profile because he’s rated our top prospect. So if I was a club out there, why wouldn’t I ask about Taijuan Walker? That would be a smart thing to do because you never know where it’s going to take you. But I have no intentions of trading him.”
There are rumors that free agent outfielder Nelson Cruz turned down the Mariners’ offer of 5-years, $75 million. That’s a lot of money for a guy that’s 33 and coming off a PED suspension and doesn’t hit well outside of Arlington. It may actually be a good thing for the Mariners. Cruz is being rumored to be interested in going to Baltimore.
Tony Blengino did a radio interview on Sirius with Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette talking about the story in the Seattle Times.
“It’s not like I was chasing around reporters trying to get this story out there,” Blengino said.
He’s sticking by what he said in it.
“That article was the tip of the iceberg,” Blengino said.
In this story by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, there is an interesting paragraph where the Mariners were apparently bidding against themselves.
By mid-day Friday, Seattle had heard that some team bid nine years and $225 million for Robinson Cano, so the Mariners upped their bid to $240 million and 10 years before apparently realizing the initial bid had come from themselves, too.
This is interesting and a little surprising. Seattle had always seemed to be the top bidder in this. I hadn’t heard anything like this, but it isn’t impossible to happen. It’s happened to many teams before.
Ken Rosenthal tweeted out that the Angels are considering trading Mark Trumbo. But it sounds as though the club would want quite a bit in return. Yes, he’s a right-handed bat to fit the lefty heavy order, but there are many red flags – a .294 OBP – on Trumbo beyond the homers. And ask yourself what you are willing to give up to get him.
Roy Halladay signed a 1-day contract with the Toronto Blue Jays so he could announce his retirement. He’s on the podium right now doing a press conference. He’s a pretty classy guy, and it’s kind of sad to see injuries end his career. I got to see Halladay pitch a few times, the guy was a beast on the mound. Loved this story by SI’s Tom Verducci about Halladay.
12: 28 p.m.
Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik released a statement addressing some of the accusations that former manager Eric Wedge and former special assistant Tony Blengino made about the upper management and the way the organization was run. Zduriencik did so in hopes of moving on forward and not letting it be a distraction.
You can read the entire statement in a separate blog post.
Talked to a few baseball people and most didn’t believe that the story about upper management dysfunction would have any effect on the Mariners in negotiating with free agents. Most baseball stick together. And the idea of airing of the club’s dirty laundry in that format seems to be taboo in their thinking. It seems many people are siding with Zduriencik.
10:52 a.m. (Mickey Time)
Tony LaRussa took some questions after the press conference. While everyone was asking about past, I was able to sneak in a question about this future. He talked about working the commissioner’s office since retirement, but he wants to go beyond that and get into a front office position .
“I miss the winning and losing without missing the dugout,” he said. “So someday I’ll be back in the game.”
Would that someday include president of the Mariners?
“Those decisions are made by other people,” he said. “But I’d like to be part of of the competition again. That place has got great potential.”
10:33 AM (Disney Time)
Good morning from the luxurious and very maze-like Swan & Dolphin Resort. It took a little while get credentials and find the media work room, which you can see in all of it’s glory. It would be difficult to find a collection of more poorly dressed middle-aged people. It looks like the room threw up khakis and plaid.
Right now, the veteran’s committee has announced the inductees for the hall of fame. They are Bobby Cox, Tony LaRussa and Joe Torre. That’s a pretty good group of managers. I’m going to try and catch up with LaRussa and ask him about his interest in the job.
A quick note on the David Price rumors. You can add the Los Angeles Dodgers to the teams interested in Price, according to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times. As the story says, the Dodgers are a bit of a longshot. They don’t have a prospect along Taijuan Walker’s level to offer up.
December 9, 2013 at 9:08 AM
Mariners Statement from GM Jack Zduriencik:
Over the years, we have chosen to take the high road in talking about former Mariners personnel. It hasn’t always been easy but we always felt it was important to do so, not just for the club but also for the individual. And in every case, it proved to be the right way to handle things. However, we believe the comments made by former members of our organization that appeared in the Sunday Seattle Times require a brief response.
Eric Wedge, our former manager, criticized our organization, accusing Howard Lincoln, chuck Armstrong and me of meddling.
Everyone in our organization, including Howard and Chuck, is focused on putting a championship team on the field. We all care very deeply about this team, just like the fans do. We all see when the team is playing well, and when it isn’t.
I’ve worked for several Major League organizations. Our upper management has suggestions and asks questions, just like CEOs and presidents in other organization do, all to be helpful and contribute to the goal of winning. We all want to win as soon as possible.
When there are areas that need improvement, it’s my job to ask questions, suggest ideas and give direction to the field staff. When our upper management has questions or suggestions, it’s my job to respond to them. I don’t believe meddling is a fair portrayal.
One good example is the issue of the Mariners doing extra work last September. That suggestion was mine. Everyone in the baseball department thought this would be a good teaching time to help us improve our fundamentals with a young team, and help set the tone for spring training.
Howard, Chuck, Eric and I met every five to six weeks the past couple of seasons to make sure we were all on the same page. Never once did Eric complain about our communications during those meetings. In fact, we all agreed that this was a good time to offer and share ideas.
Eric approached me numerous times throughout the year expressing his desire for a long-term contract. Even the day before he quit, Eric called a meeting with me and demanded a contract extension.
I can also say that our current statistical analysis group is doing excellent work. Our dedicated staff and the tools they are using are a key component in our decision making process, and are light years ahead of where we have been. I am engaged with their work on a daily basis and very excited in the improvements made.
We have never deviated from our rebuilding plan. We have stayed the course, and we now have a talented group of young players. We are hard at work looking into every option to add to this core group, as we said we would, and we are looking forward to 2014 and beyond.
December 8, 2013 at 7:28 PM
Originally, I planned to post and write this blog post on my flight to Atlanta en route to Orlando for the 2013 MLB winter meetings.
But I managed to get a new Delta 737 that didn’t have its wi-fi hooked up yet. So you are getting this from Hartsfield-Jackson Airport where my connecting flight has been delayed for a few hours.
Basically, I wanted to outline a plan for our coverage. I will be on the ground at the luxurious Swan & Dolphin resort. Here’s my story previewing the winter meetings. Each day I will start out the morning with a running blog post with updates throughout the day. These could be notes or rumors or links, basically anything I think you guys might find important.
If something larger were to break, I will probably to do a separate blog post on that occurrence.
At approximately 4 p.m. (PST) on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, I will host a live chat where I can answer questions you may have. This could change if news breaks, but I will make sure to keep you posted.
On Thursday, there is the Rule 5 draft in the morning and then I will be flying back later in the afternoon
Most of you have Twitter and use it, but if not I recommend getting it. It’s immediate and filled with notes, rumors (some true, some absurd) and other stuff. I also recommend MLB Trade Rumors as well.
The winter meetings are from as glamorous as you might think. They are 12 hour days on the phone or in front of a computer. I usually try and get started between 8 and 9 a.m. each day, so with the time difference, you should have a blog to read when you get to work each morning.
I will definitely take some video of any press conferences including Lloyd McClendon’s press gathering. I won’t be doing video of me talking to you. I’m not skilled in how to do it, and I don’t want to frighten readers with my massive cranium.
As for the official Cano announcement, I haven’t heard anything. He is still scheduled to take his physical sometime early this week with a press conference a day later.
Obviously other moves by the Mariners would be predicated on Cano passing the physical, but that doesn’t mean they won’t get done in Orlando. So hopefully there’s some news to write about. The last time the meetings were in Orlando, the Mariners signed Miguel Olivo (shudder) and Jack Cust. They’ll be aiming a little higher this time.
I was asked several times on Twitter today if I thought Geoff’s comprehensive story on the Mariners front office dysfunction would drive free agents away.
The answer: I highly doubt it.
Free agents weren’t coming well before the story. Some of the stuff that Geoff reported was rumored around baseball, but nobody would go on record about the situation. While some of the stuff that went on will make you shake your head in disbelief, the vast majority of that didn’t affect the day to day well being and routines of the players. The drama seemed to be confined to a higher level away from the players.
This is a business. With free agents, they look at lot of things: the team, the organization’s past success, the location, the stadium and most of all, the money. With Cano in tow (see what I did there), the Mariners can be aggressive with free agents. They can point to him as the example of a player that’s coming there. They’re hoping he can attract others along with Felix Hernandez. If they put out good, strong offers (likely overpaying in some cases), they can sign players. If not, it likely won’t be because of Geoff’s story.
December 8, 2013 at 7:11 PM
December 7, 2013 at 1:01 PM
Late start this morning since Pearl Jam decided to play till past midnight. Raul Ibanez and Jason Bay were there taking in the show.
There is nothing new on the Robinson Cano front. I’m guessing we won’t have an official announcement till sometime next week. Cano still has to take a full physical. Right now, he’s back in the Dominican Republic. Last night he was on television while attending a Dominican winter league game. And he was rockin’ a new lid.
December 6, 2013 at 11:17 AM
The MLB’s Winter Meetings start on Monday morning in Florida, and the Mariners have already been quite active in the free agent market. Reports say they are close to signing second baseman Robinson Cano, and they are interested in many top free agents.
Reporter Ryan Divish will be at the Winter Meetings next week, and he’ll go over the latest Cano news and what to expect from the Mariners next week today at 2:45 p.m.
December 6, 2013 at 8:08 AM
Updated 12:45 p.m. — Many people asked if Robinson Cano will have to change numbers once he signs with the Mariners. Cano wore No. 24 for the Yankees. But there was this guy named Griffey that wore 24 here and no player has worn it since.
Griffey, who was in Tucson, said his phone was blowing up with text messages asking if he would allow Cano to wear No. 24. But said he couldn’t answer that.
But it’s highly unlikely that would happen. Think about it this way, the Mariners signed certain hall of famer Rickey Henderson in 2000 as a free agent. Henderson wore No. 24 all his career. But when he came to Seattle he wore No. 25. Mariners management, particularly Chuck Armstrong, holds that number sacred.
As far as the reports of the Cano signing, Griffey was positive.
“I think he’s going to be good for the organization,” he said. “Anytime you get that type of player it’s going to be a good thing.”
December 5, 2013 at 1:23 PM
Update 7:41 … linkage!
Fox Sports baseball analyst Ken Rosenthal calls everyone “dumb” in this ongoing three-way dance between Cano, the Mariners and Yankees in this blog post.
Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News talked with Robinson Cano’s father and also has some comments from Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner.
Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York has a source saying Cano is gone if the Mariners make the $225 million offer.
December 5, 2013 at 10:39 AM
The Mariners announced the signing of backup infielder/utility player Willie Bloomquist on Thursday morning. While the organization doesn’t give out contract details, sources confirm that it is a 2-year contract for $5.8 million dollars.
“From my personal standpoint, this has been an exciting week for me and my family,” he said in a conference call. “To get an opportunity to go back and play where it all began as a professional, to sign back with organization that believed in me out of high school and out of college and now as a free agent, I couldn’t be more flattered to b e coming back to play there.”
December 4, 2013 at 9:08 PM
If you checked twitter earlier, you’ve seen the Mariners are one of several teams interested in trading for Rays lefty ace pitcher David Price. Jeff Passan of Yahoo first reported the growing interest.
There is definite possibility in this.