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November 3, 2014 at 2:17 PM

A quick Hot Stove update for potential Mariners hitters — qualifying offers made

The Hot Stove will be firing up very soon. Today is the final day for teams to make qualifying offers to possible departing free agents. And at 12:01 a.m., free agents can officially sign with other teams.

Over the past few days on Twitter, news of qualifying offers – one year, $15.3 million –  to players are being announced.

Two of them pertain directly to the Mariners’ wants and needs.

The Rockies announced they’ve made a qualifying offers to OF/1B Michael Cuddyer. The Mariners had plenty of interest in the right-handed hitting veteran, who missed most of the season with injuries. They felt he would be a good fit at DH as well as part-time OF/1B.

But the qualifying offer makes that difficult. The Mariners would have to give up their first round pick to acquire Cuddyer. Also, there is a chance that Cuddyer, 35,  becomes the first player to accept the qualifying offer. A salary of $15.3 million for one season is outstanding. And players and agents certainly have to be wary about what happened to free agents with the QO tag on them last offseason. Nelson Cruz settled for a 1-year, $8 million deal and Kendrys Morales and Stephen Drew had truncated seasons. The cost of a draft pick and Cuddyer’s recent injury issues certainly would have teams wary. Cuddyer wants a multi-year deal – as all players do – but the price tag plus draft pick may make him an unlikely option.

The Tigers have already made a qualifying offer to designated hitter Victor Martinez, which was expected. Martinez is probably the best overall hitter available on the market. He would fit perfectly in the Mariners’ lineup as a DH. Manager Lloyd McClendon loves Martinez and his relentless approach at the plate. While he can’t say it on the record, it’s clear that Martinez is the one free agent McClendon covets over all others. He is a player the Mariners would be willing to give up the draft pick for if they could sign him.

The Orioles announced they’ve made a qualifying offer to Nelson Cruz. The Mariners had some interest in Cruz last season. But there are multiple and conflicting reports as to why the Mariners didn’t sign him. It seems unlikely the Mariners would go after Cruz, who figures to be paid handsomely after his big bounce back season.

Royals DH Billy Butler is also a free agent after the Royals declined his 2015 option of $12 million. But Butler told reporters that he would prefer to re-sign with KC. That’s something that is often said. But money can change sentiment quite quickly.

Not sure if Butler is the same hitter the Mariners have coveted in the past. His power numbers took a huge drop this season.

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