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December 5, 2011 at 2:43 PM

Mariners linked to a number of 3B and pitching candidates

Not much going on yet as far as deals go here at the baseball winter meetings in Dallas, but the Mariners are laying the groundwork to get some deals done that do not involve Prince Fielder.
One of the areas the team would like to upgrade is third base. Wil Polidor, the agent for former Mariners infielder Carlos Guillen, told me he’ll be meeting here with all interested parties — including Seattle. Guillen, 36, is currently working out in Miami.
“I think Seattle needs a player like Carlos Guillen,” Polidor said. “He can hit and produce.”
Polidor is the agent for both Felix Hernandez and Franklin Gutierrez, so the Mariners have dealt with him many times.
Guillen can also play 1B and 2B and be a DH. So, he’d be of some use to the Mariners at multiple positions besides just third. Sort of the way Adam Kennedy was at times last season.
The Miami Marlins are also said to have interest in Guillen, a former teammate of current Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen.
Now, before we all get carried away, it’s wise to remember that the Mariners are talking to a bunch of teams and agents about a bunch of players. Not all of them are going to end up with the Mariners.
The Mariners have also been linked to Ian Stewart of the Colorado Rockies.
Of the two, Stewart has the most upside and is only 26. He plays excellent defense and has been projected as a potential 25-homer threat.
The interesting thing about both is that they shouldn’t cost a ton of money. Stewart will probably earn about $2.5 million in his first year of arbitration while Guillen is getting up there in age and not likely to get pricey either.
Both would be cost effective choices for a Seattle team that isn’t certain about where Kyle Seager fits position-wise and has not had enough of a sample to determine whether he’s even a full-time big leaguer yet.

The Rockies have had prior conversations with the Mariners about Chone Figgins, but Seattle would likely have to eat just about every dime on that contract to make such a deal happen in a Stewart trade — given that a number of teams are showing interest.
I’m not sure the Mariners would do that given their payroll and the need to move the Figgins contract to free up some money. I’m told here that there is a slim market for Figgins where the M’s could get another team to take on part of his salary — meaning money in the bank for a Mariners club that likes to claim tight payroll restrictions.
So, we’ll have to see whether the Mariners can work something out. I’m told the Rockies might also be willing to take on a minor league pitcher close to the majors who does not have to be a top prospect. Somebody, perhaps, who showed well in the Arizona Fall League and could allow the Rockies to deal Stewart while saving a little face with the fanbase.
The first name that popped into my head was Forrest Snow, the University of Washington product who just had a strong AFL and looks like an outside shot to make the team this spring. Snow is still classified as a starter, don’t forget.
For me, that would be a nice, high-upside, buy-low risk for the M’s.
But then again, a lot of teams feel that way.
It looks like the Phillies are prepared to possibly deal away third baseman Placido Polanco, which would not take a whole lot as far as returns go given how he’s owed $7.25 million next year in salary plus a buyout for 2014 if his mutual option is declined.
The way it was explained to me is, the Phillies don’t want to go more than three years on extending shortstop Jimmy Rollins and would be prepared to let him go if he insists on more. If that happens, the Phils would look to go all-out on offense and attempt to import free agent Aramis Ramirez to play third.
And if that happened, Polanco would be dealt.
So, a bunch of stuff has to happen there first. Unlike Stewart, Polanco is older but also more proven. If Seattle traded for him, he’d be a stop-gap for a couple of years until the Mariners had somebody ready to take over at third full-time.
We’ve seen reports from Jon-Paul Morosi of Fox Sports that the Mariners are talking to the agents for free agent pitcher Jeff Francis, a native of Vanacouver, B.C. The Mariners also continue to explore signing free agent Jamie Moyer, as was initially reported over a month ago.
Like I said, a lot of this stuff is preliminary and won’t involve big bucks. In other words, it would not end any of the Fielder talk, but would enable the M’s to get down to business in the interim.

Comments | Topics: Chone Figgins


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