Updated 1:54 p.m.: While I was off pretending to be the half-Japanese version of Steve Nash at pickup hoops, the New York Mets signed free agent outfielder Michael Cuddyer to a two-year, $21 million deal. Cuddyer was given a qualifying offer of 1-year, $15.3 million by the Rockies, but he obviously turned that down.
It’s an interesting move for the Mets. They give up a draft pick for him. Jeff Passan tweeted that the Mets are still in a position to go after Cuddyer’s teammate – Troy Tulowitzki via trade. New York has the prospects to get that kind of deal done. The Rockies are supposedly asking for quite a big for Tulowitzki, particularly if they have to eat some of his massive contract
The GM Meetings open today in Phoenix, which is the unofficial beginning to the Hot Stove season. So twitter will be fueled with rumors, speculation and “baseball sources.”
It happens every year.
For clarification, I’m not at the GM meetings. I will be at the Winter Meetings on Dec. 8-11. But usually the GM meetings are just kind of a precursor to build toward the winter meetings and hot stove action.
The Mariners will once again be a big part of those rumors because they have: 1. specific needs (two bats and a starting pitcher), 2. money (M’s president Kevin Mather and GM Jack Zduriencik have said payroll will increase) and 3. a successful season to build off (attendance was up after the team played meaningful baseball in August and Septembers, and missed the postseason by one game).
The Mariners are interested in Victor Martinez. This isn’t new. This isn’t a secret. They’ve known he’d be their top target since before the season ended. Now they can actually contact him and start the process.
The Tigers seem like Seattle’s biggest competition for Martinez. But now reports have said the Blue Jays are showing interest.
CBS’ Jon Heyman and USA Today’s Bob Nightengale are reporting that the Mariners have some interest in free agent SS/3B Hanley Ramirez of the Dodgers. Nightengale is using the term “aggressively pursuing.”
Not sure exactly what that means. The Mariners have young shortstops Chris Taylor and Brad Miller. Taylor is much better defensively than Miller, while Miller, despite struggling early, is still a more productive hitter. Within the organization, there is some doubt whether Miller can progress enough defensively to play there on an every day basis. His issues with footwork and range up the middle still have yet to be resolved. It’s likely that Miller will work some in the outfield in spring training to have some positional versatility. They believe – as do many scouts from that opposing teams – that he’s a big league hitter.
So how does Ramirez fit? Well, the Mariners could certainly trade one of the two shortstops and send the other to Class AAA Tacoma. Miller has value as a bat. But Ramirez’s defense is trending downward as his injuries and games missed trend upward. He’s rumored to be looking for a $100 million contract. It would seem like an odd acquisition. But something like that, you have to look beyond that one move and the corresponding moves to see if it fits. Even with all the injuries, Ramirez has hit. Here’s his numbers below.
Heyman also mentions Justin Upton as a potential trade target since Upton has removed the Mariners from his no-trade clause.
The Mariners traded for Upton before the 2013 season when he was with Arizona, sending Taijuan Walker and Nick Franklin and likely two other players to the D’Backs. But Upton vetoed the trade. The Mariners certainly wouldn’t have to give up as much since Upton is going to be a free agent after this season and unlikely to sign an extension. It would be an interesting rent-a-player situation. He fits the desire of a right-handed hitting outfielder.
This was from a few days ago when I was watching my beloved Grizzlies lose to Eastern Washington. But Jerry Crasnick said that the Mariners are expected to shop Michael Saunders. This isn’t completely surprising given Saunders’ dissatisfaction with the way the season ended. The Mariners also aren’t too happy that his agent decided to go to the media to air out some concerns and complaints.
Want to guess what free agents might get this offseason? Heyman and a GM and players agent, play that game trying to figure it out. It’s a very interesting read and instructive as to the money that could be on the table.