A few things leftover things to catch up on as we head into the winter meetings, which start on Monday in San Diego.
General manager Jack Zduriencik made it clear that the team is looking for an outfielder. Everyone knows they are looking for an outfielder. Admittedly, he’d already been in contact with a few teams and agents about possibilities. But with the trade of Michael Saunders, he’s going to hear from several other teams about possible deals.
“It may also deepen the dialogue we have going,” Zduriencik said. “I think there’s always that domino effect. When something happens, you get a phone call immediately. The day the word got out that we were going to sign Nelson Cruz, right away I got a phone call about some things.”
As for his plans for the winter meetings?
“We’re going to be active I hope,” he said. “We’ve got a dialogue going. We have conversations going. We’ve got a lot of irons in the fire. I think there is interest in this place. I think there is interest from people in coming here. We’ll see. We go the meetings on Monday. But I had conversations today. I will have conversations tomorrow. We’ll just keep having them and see where they go.”
Sometimes you might not get to where you want to get to. I think we have some internal options. I think we have some flexibility on our roster. We are probably going to a club that’s talked about a lot at the meetings with some of the information I’ve gotten from people calling me and wanting to get together when we get there. We hope to fill a need or to.”
Asked if he still had payroll flexibility, Zduriencik replied, “Yes, yes.”
Zduriencik shot down the idea of trading Hisashi Iwakuma to the Red Sox or any team.
“He’s not going anywhere,” Zduriencik said. “You’ve got Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma and all these other nice arms. Why would you break that up right now? Any general manager will tell you to never say never, but it’s about as close to never as I would say. It’s not going to happen this year. It’s just not going to happen.”
While some people are still upset about the Michael Saunders-J.A. Happ trade, there is some additional factors in it.
Per multiple baseball sources, the Blue Jays are picking up a portion of the Happ’s $6.7 million contract. Still can’t find the exact number, though it is thought to be the difference between what Saunders gets this year. Saunders made $2.3 million last season and is expected to make around $3 million this season.
Zduriencik also said he started receiving calls from teams interested in Happ the day after the Mariners traded for him.
The Mariners have signed veteran right-hander Justin Germano to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training. It’s another starting pitching depth signing to go with the trade for Sam Gaviglio. Germano spent most of the season in Class AAA with the Rangers and then Dodgers organization. With Erasmo Ramirez out of options, the team will likely have to DFA him out of spring training and then hope he clears waivers to outright him to the minors.
A couple people have asked for a Danny Hultzen update. He’s still back at home. He will report to spring training on a normal schedule like the rest of the pitchers. He is also expected go through the normal schedule of pitchers during the spring. The Mariners may be slightly cautious in some aspects. But he’s considered 100 percent. Still any thought of him contributing as a big leaguer this season is pretty unfair. He last pitched in an official game in September of 2013. He needs to build up innings and strength.
Hultzen hit 90 mph with his fastball in a 25-pitch instructional league outing back in September. Zduriencik said Hultzen wasn’t even throwing full speed. They believe the velocity will go up as he builds up innings. Also Hultzen made a few minor tweaks to his delivery and arm angle.
Each day on Twitter, people ask who I think the Mariners will get to play right field in some or fashion. Most times, I reply with something that is relatively non-committal like a skilled politician. Why? Honestly, I don’t really know who it will be. In trade situations so many other factors come into it and can change it in moment’s notice. And the Mariners are beyond secretive about this stuff. But a few thoughts …
1. The Mariners will not give up Taijuan Walker for one year of Justin Upton. The organization knows the value of Walker and knows that would be a mistake.
2. Matt Kemp seems to be the preferred choice for some of the people in the organization. They like the idea of Kemp not being a one-year rental and having him under contract for multiple years. The question will be the sliding scale of players to give up in a trade and the Dodgers’ eating some of the more than $100 million still owed to him.
But there is this …
Of course, the Dodgers want to move Ethier. He can’t play anymore. He’s barely a functioning platoon outfielder that is owed this: 2015:$18M, 2016:$18M, 2017:$17.5M,2018:$17.5M club option ($2.5M buyout) …. To quote my old friend Larry LaRue, “Yikes!!”
3. Melky Cabrera is also someone that the Mariners will consider. Yes more money being spent, but no prospects being lost.
4. With Kyle Seager signing the 7-year contract, expect DJ Peterson to play predominantly first base this spring as the Mariners prepare him for that as his future spot. Peterson has played it before in the minor leagues and with Team USA. He’s fine over there. If Brad Miller is on the roster come spring, we will see him in the outfield some. There is a growing notion that he isn’t an everyday shortstop because of defensive inconsistency. When Miller was drafted, there were some scouts that felt his best position would be outfield. However, Chris Taylor still has plenty to prove to the organization. It’s unlikely he will just be handed the starting shortstop job.
Here’s the updated contract statuses for the 40-man roster …
Under Contract (9):
- BLOOMQUIST, Willie (2015)
- CANO, Robinson (2015-2023)
- CRUZ, Nelson (2015-2018)
- HAPP, J.A. (2015)
- HERNANDEZ, Felix (2015-2019)
- HULTZEN, Danny (2015-16) — (3/4)
- IWAKUMA, Hisashi (2015)
- RODNEY, Fernando (2015)
- SEAGER, Kyle (2015-2021)
Arbitration Eligible (5):
- ACKLEY, Dustin (3/3)
- FURBUSH, Charlie (1/3)
- JACKSON, Austin (0/3)
- MORRISON, Logan (0/3)
- WILHELMSEN, Tom (2/3)
Under Control – Pre-Arb Eligible (25):
- BAWCOM, Logan (1/3)
- CHOI, Ji-Man (1/3)
- ELIAS, Roenis (0/3)
- FARQUHAR, Danny (1/3)
- FERNANDEZ, Anthony (2/3)
- GUAIPE, Mayckol (0/3)
- HICKS, Johns (0/3)
- JONES, James (1/3)
- LEONE, Dominic (0/3)
- LUETGE, Lucas (2/3)
- MARTE, Ketel (0/3)
- MAURER, Brandon (2/3)
- MEDINA, Yoervis (2/3)
- MILLER, Brad (0/3)
- MONTERO, Jesus (2/3)
- MORBAN, Julio (2/3)
- OLMOS, Edgar (2/3)
- PAXTON, James (0/3)
- RAMIREZ, Erasmo (3/3)
- ROMERO, Stefen (1/3)
- SMITH, Carson (0/3)
- SUCRE, Jesus (2/3)
- TAYLOR, Chris (0/3)
- WALKER, Taijuan (1/3)
- ZUNINO, Mike (0/3)
(Options used in parenthesis)
Out of Options & under 2015 team control:
- ACKLEY, Dustin
- RAMIREZ, Erasmo
Here’s my story from today’s paper.
Here’s Jerry Brewer’s column for today’s paper where he expresses his desire for the Mariners to sign Melky Cabrera.
Marc W has two blog posts up on USS Mariner that are worth reading. One is about the idea of certainty, and the other is about J.A. Happ’s velocity.
Here’s my interview with ESPN 710 yesterday
And another interview with 1090 the Fan
Jack Zduriencik talked with ESPN 710 and on KJR …