December 11, 2013 at 1:23 PM
The Mariners continued to revamp and reshape their roster for the 2013 season. On Wednesday at the 2013 MLB winter meetings, they made a pair of moves that will add to their earlier acqusition of free agent Robinson Cano.
Multiple baseball sources confirmed free agent outfielder/first baseman Corey Hart has a greed to a one-year contract. Hart will take his physical on Friday in Seattle. The terms of the contract weren’t known, but a source with knowledge of the negotiations said that it compares “favorably” to Mike Napoli’s one-year, $5 million incentive laden contract he signed with the Red Sox before last season. The incentives placed the possible Napoli earnings up to $13 million.
Hart, 31, missed all of last season with knee issues. He had
He missed all of 2013 with knee issues. In 2012, he hit .270 with an .841 on-base plus slugging percentage, including 35 doubles, 30 homers and 83 RBI.
Hart was scouted and drafted in the 11th round of the 2000 draft by Jack Zduriencik, who was the amateur scouting director at the time for the Brewers.
Moments after the news of Hart’s signing came out, the Mariners were in the midst of finalizing a trade with the Miami Marlins, acquiring first baseman/outfielder Logan Morrison in exchange for hard-throwing reliever Carer Capps. Baseball sources said both players must take their physicals for it to be finalized.
Morrison, 25, was also bothered by knee issues in the past, cutting down his playing time and limiting him to first base. He was once considered one of the Marlins’ top prospects.
Capps struggled this season, going 3-3 with a 5.43 ERA. Most of the issues came against left-handed hitter, who hit. 346 against him with 1.039 OPS.
December 11, 2013 at 8:01 AM
Just got done meeting with Jack Zduriencik. He wouldn’t official confirm the Hart deals or the Morrison-Capps trade because the physicals haven’t been taken yet.
He did say that the team isn’t automatically shopping Justin Smoak. With Smoak, relatively cheap and still under club control, they’d definitely like to keep him. “It would give us options.”
With Capps going, Zduriencik may have to find bullpen help from within. He mentioned Logan Bawcom, Carson Smith and even Hector Noesi, who is pitching in relief in Winter Ball. The Mariners may also take some fliers on guys with minor league deals and invites to spring training.
Zduriencik said that plenty of teams have asked about Mike Zunino, but that the team has no interest in trading him.
The Mariners still want to add a starting pitcher.
Wondering how Corey Hart’s knee feels? Here’s some video of him working out in November.
A baseball source said the Mariners and Marlins are finalizing the agreement for the trade. Logan Morrison and Carter Capps both have to take and pass physicals for it to be official
I’m guessing the same said the same thing as well just moments ago. Wouldn’t go into details. But that type of contract is a very good deal for the Mariners
December 11, 2013 at 12:59 PM
The Mariners were very active on Wednesday, reportedly signing free agent Corey Hart and acquiring Logan Morrison from the Marlins.
Get the latest from Ryan Divish with his daily chat from the Winter Meetings in Florida at 4 p.m. on Wednesday
December 11, 2013 at 11:21 AM
This past weekend, Geoff Baker’s story on the dysfunction within the Mariners’ front office shook the baseball world. On Wednesday afternoon, he answered questions about the report in a live chat.
Here is a link to Geoff’s story from the Sunday edition of the Times: http://seati.ms/19qPXWW
December 10, 2013 at 2:32 PM
Q. Obviously, waiting for this opportunity for a few years. What’s it feel like to be coming back and back in the saddle? How has it been the last month?
LLOYD McCLENDON: Well, obviously we’ve had a few things going on the last two or three weeks. It was really good. I saw Andre Dawson, an old teammate of mine, who said, well, you’re back in the fire again. I said, yeah, I’m extremely happy.
Obviously this is an opportunity that I’ve waited on for quite some time. I didn’t think it was going to take quite this long to do it again, but I’m really excited.
Q. The team has been mentioned prominently in a lot of things. How important is it to get Cano or an impact player to really solidify that lineup?
McCLENDON: Well, the one thing when I went through the interview process, jack and I talked about the direction of this club and what were some of the things that we were going to try to do. Obviously, for the most part, the pitching is in place. We have some quality young arms and we have Felix and Iwakuma at the top of the rotation. But we’ve struggled from an offensive standpoint for quite some time. We wanted to be able to go out and make a‑‑ I don’t know if make a statement is the word, but obviously get better from an offensive standpoint.
When it opportunity came along, I would say we got better, and I got smarter really quick.
Q. How much of the team have you been able to talk to? I know that’s something you wanted to do was talk to certain players?
McCLENDON: I’ve talked to most of my players. Obviously trying to connect Latin American countries, it’s a little difficult to get in touch with those guys. But most of the guys in the States I’ve either visited with or talked with. Whenever I can get out of here, I plan on doing a little bit more.
Q. But what are you hearing from the guys about the thoughts coming into the season?
McCLENDON: They love their new Skipper, obviously (laughing). You know, I think our guys are excited. Obviously with the commitment that we’ve just made, I think it shows them that we’re serious about what we’re trying to accomplish. I think they understand that for the most part the maturation process is just about over with. Now it’s time to step up and start getting it done. I think we have some pieces in place that can hopefully get that done for us in the near future.
Q. Are you different as a manager this time than you were in Pittsburgh?
LLOYD McCLENDON: Yeah, you know, I was asked that earlier. I believe that your past prepared you for your future. I’d be foolish if I said no, I’m no different. I would hope that I’m better. I know I’m older, I’m a little more grayer, and hopefully a little smarter. I would say, yes. I’m going to be much different, yeah.
December 10, 2013 at 11:45 AM
Ryan Divish will host a live chat at 4 p.m. from Orlando.
December 10, 2013 at 8:07 AM
And that’s a wrap
10:56 – Here’s a link to Jack Zduriencik’s radio interview on SportsRadioKJR
9:21 — Radio podcast time!!!
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 9, 2013 at 7:27 AM
Closing up, but big congrats to Tim Hevly of the Mariners, who was named the recipient of the 2013 Robert O. Fishel Award for Public Relations Excellence, presented this evening during the Baseball Winter Meetings.
After dealing with the issues of college sports and the lack of access, the Mariners media relations staff makes our lives pretty easy in terms of getting us players and providing us with stats and helping us do our jobs.
From the press release …
The Robert O. Fishel Award, named after the longtime baseball executive, goes to the “active, non-uniformed representative of Major League Baseball whose ethics, character, dedication, service, professionalism and humanitarianism best represent the standards propounded by Robert O. Fishel.” Fishel, an executive with the Cleveland Indians, the St. Louis Browns, the New York Yankees and the American League Office, was the inaugural winner of the Award in 1981.
Hevly, 44, just finished his 24th season with the Mariners, including his 16th as the head of the Baseball Information Department. In his current role, he is responsible for overseeing all aspects of public and media relations as they relate to the Club on the field and working with the General Manager, the baseball operations staff and upper management, in conjunction with the rest of the communications team, on internal and external communications issues. During his time with the Mariners, Hevly has contributed to the PR efforts for the opening of Safeco Field in 1999, the 2001 All-Star Game, and the club’s four Postseason appearances (1995, 1997, 2000-01), including its memorable 116-win campaign in 2001.
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 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.