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December 14, 2013 at 11:08 AM

Emptying out the recorder and a few other tidbits

Back in the old days when Larry Stone was in his 20s and I had the same hair as Fred Savage in the Wonder Years, reporters would do stories where they emptied out their notebook and wrote about notes they hadn’t used from interviews and such.

Now in this modern world of digital recorders, you record everything and it is saved on your computer. I made the mistake during the season of not using some really good stuff from Mike Zunino on making pitchers work fast and from Daren Brown on when to use the contact play with runners at third.

So I figured once a week that I’d try and go through my recorder and see if there was anything useful that I hadn’t used.

From Jack Zdurienick …. 

Obviously, the Mariners aren’t done with moves. There is a misconception by some fans (none that read this site) that the Winter Meetings is the be-all, end-all of offseason moves. Often times, it’s just groundwork for other moves. So what is Zduriencik going to do going forward”?

“If there is a possibility of adding a pitcher, that would be good,” he said. “I think I’d like to do that. We would entertain another right-handed bat – that would advantageous.  We are going to continue to look for bullpen help and maybe add a back-up catcher. You only have so much you can do so maybe you won’t to do everything, but we are certainly going to try and address these areas that I just mentioned.”

When you hear right-handed bat, some people would automatically think Nelson Cruz. But he’d be an odd fit for the Mariners as they are currently constructed. There are questions about the Logan Morrison and Corey Hart’s ability to play the outfield. And with Justin Smoak on the roster, the addition of Cruz would just make it more crowded with another DH type. Cruz is reportedly looking for $16-17 million a year. It’s a lot for a 33-year-old outfielder coming off a PED suspension with dramatic home/road splits, a history of hamstring issues and poor defensive player.

Zduriencik said he may have to get creative in terms of acquiring those pieces since the free agent market is picked over and the remaining upper level pieces come with pretty high price tags

“With what we’ve invested, I do think we’ll have to be,” he said. “Nothing may happen in the next few days or next few weeks. We could have to go into spring training with what we have and then opportunities present themselves that weren’t there today for certain reasons. We are going to keep the door open, and we’ll continue to work. We had discussions earlier this morning. Just because the winter meetings are over and it’s getting close to Christmas time, we are going to work and work till opening day. I like where we are at right now, but I would love to do more.”

That part about spring training is very interesting. There is a thought around baseball that the Dodgers may revisit the notion of trading Matt Kemp during spring training. Because Kemp is still in a walking boot and hasn’t even started running yet in this offseason, teams have cooled on trading for him. The Dodgers didn’t like what they were getting in offers, which were reportedly pretty high. The Dodgers could wait until spring training, show that Kemp is healthy and ready to play and then try again to trade him.

Kemp is a major risk because of his injury issues. Some scouts doubt as to whether he’ll return to his all-star and near MVP level form. And if the asking price continues to be high, it might be best to stay far away.

From Logan Morrison … 

This was made a big deal by the Mariners and on twitter, but Morrison is very active on Twitter. He used to have the twitter handle @LoMoMarlins. But he’s since changed it to @CupofLoMo … So there is that if you are interested.

Morrison was pretty candid about his feelings of a fresh start. He knew he was being shopped and likely going to be traded. It started to wear on him the longer he didn’t have resolution.

“I would get my workout and go right to the office and have MLB Network and look at my phone and say, ‘Ok, still not traded yet,'” he said. “It wasn’t so much the rumors, it was the not knowing where I’m going. You don’t fear it, you just want to get it over with and move on.. You don’t want me anymore, OK then let’s go somewhere else, where are we going.”

Morrison is obviously excited to show the Mariners and fans what he can do. And I’m sure he’d like to show the Marlins what they gave up on.

“I’m going to have to fight to do too much and prove myself with one swing,” he said. “It’s just letting the game come to me and relaxing. The environment for me is way different here.”

He played in two of three games in Safeco in 2011 when the Marlins were actually the home team in those games. He knows the reputation of the ballpark on hitters.

“It can’t be worse than Miami, it just can’t,” he said.  “That was place was huge.”

From Corey Hart … 

Hart said he dropped 25 pounds off his frame so far this offseason working out and admitted he feels differently.

“I feel faster than I have in a long time,” he said.

Hart doesn’t feel like it will drain him of his power.

“I’m just as strong,” he said. “I just feel a lot better now.”

Since Hart lives in Arizona in the offseason, he’ll be going to the Mariners’ complex in Peoria to start hitting soon.

As for the idea of hitting behind Cano, Hart said he’s fine with it. He’s hit behind Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun in the past.

“I’m used to it,” he said. “I don’t panic. I have no problem with hitting behind a star.”

On numbers gate …

I’m going to give this minimal attention. But yesterday, the jerseys for Morrison (20) and Hart (27) were displayed. Oddly, they are the same numbers of Nick Franklin and Taijuan Walker. Immediately on Twitter there was speculation that it was a hint that Franklin and Walker might be on the move eventually. It’s certainly a possibility with Franklin because of the signing of Robinson Cano. But when it was mentioned to Zduriencik about the worry the number changes were causing, he had a good chuckle and said, “We aren’t trading Taijuan.”

We were told that Franklin and Walker request number changes in the offseason. Franklin’s favorite number is 4. It has been. I don’t know if he requested it, but I’m sure he’d like to wear it.  Walker sent out a tweet saying he didn’t know he was giving up his number (since deleted). But his favorite number is 44, which is taken by Lucas Luetge. We were told that Walker will wear No. 32.  Walker said in a message it wasn’t a big deal.

Was there a miscommunication? Apparently. But it works like this … when you are rookie, you don’t have a whole lot of say in this.

Links …

Make of this what you will ... but Zdurienick will be a panelist at the Society for American Baseball Research at their 2014 analytics conference in March in Phoenix.

There was some thought the Mariners might be able to deal Franklin to the Royals, who needed a second baseman. The Royals instead went out and got Omar Infante in nice signing I said this before. But if the Mariners don’t have a great trade on the table for Franklin, there is no reason to trade him. He has Triple A options. No reason to deal him for the sake of doing so.

And there was a thought the Rays might be adding Justin Smoak as part of a deal for David Price, but the Rays signed James Loney to a three-year deal



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