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December 9, 2010 at 7:22 AM

Mariners take a Class A gamble in Rule 5 draft; Zduriencik says having “in-depth dialogue” on a catcher, thought to be Miguel Olivo

They just wrapped up the Rule 5 draft here and the Mariners went somewhat against the grain by taking Class A relief pitcher Jose Flores, 21, from the Cleveland Indians organization. Don’t forget, any Rule 5 player kept on a major league roster has to remain there all season, so for Flores to stick with the M’s, he’d have to jump from Class A all the way to the majors.
What does he have in his arsenal to get there?
“The key to the thing is that he’s a strike thrower,” Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said, adding that Flores is aggressive with a good arm.
How good?
“He’s up to 95 (mph),” he said. “Again it’s a nice package. Again, when you take a kid this young and he has to make this kind of a leap, it’s a challenge for any player.”
It cost the M’s $50,000 to make the pick. They will get half of that back if Flores doesn’t make the team and is sent back to the Indians.
Zduriencik leaves the meetings with a new DH, that being Jack Cust. His acquisition, for one year, $2.5 million, will be officially announced tomorrow. On the catching front, Zduriencik said the team remains in “in-depth dialogue” on an unnamed player, believed to be onetime Mariner Miguel Olivo.
A report last night that the M’s had reached a two-year, $7.5 million deal with Olivo were said to be innacurate. Olivo has told officials from his former Rockies team that he expects to have a deal done with somebody by the end of today.

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That $7.5-million figure seems too high for the 32-year-old, but we’ll see. That’s likely what Olivo’s side had been seeking, but would also — as we said on last night’s live webcast — mean the M’s have already burned through more than half the $10 million or so in avaliable cash they had left to spend. Don’t forget, the M’s would like to land another starting pitcher at some point — preferably one who isn’t coming off serious health issues.
Adam Moore would appear to be on shaky ground if Olivo is acquired for multiple years, as opposed to the M’s doing, say, a one-year deal with an older veteran like Gregg Zaun. But Zduriencik positioned it as a matter of adding depth.
“You’re never completely covered at that position just because it’s a demanding position and the injury factor,” Zduriencik said.
On Moore’s future: “You’re sitting here hoping, as I’ve said all week long, that guys are prepared to come in mentally. That guys are physically prepared to come in. That they get back to playing like who they are. That young guys grow up and veteran players settle in and be who they are.”
Moore is still young, he added, and no one is giving up on him. But safe to say, he’ll have to start producing.



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