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December 8, 2014 at 9:37 AM

Winter Meetings Day 1 open thread: Loud noises!

11:35 p.m. — the White Sox?

The White Sox made a stunning move, signing Dave Robertson to a Papelbonian contract of 4-years for a total of $46 million. That’s a lot of dough. Much more than expected.

The White Sox also made a trade, acquiring Jeff Samardzija for shortstop Marcus Semien and pitcher Chris Bassit.

These quotes from GM Billy Beane in Jane Lee’s story are interesting ….

“This is how it is here,” said Beane. “Every time we’ve done it, we’re trying to be proactive. You have to be realistic. It’s not necessarily just a reflection on our team, but also recognizing who your competition is.

“Look, in the second half of the season, starting in June, we had one of the worst records in the game, and we lost some very critical players, guys who are going to get a lot of money. You lose those guys, you couple that with the trend line of the team performance, you talk about the division … you have to take all those things into account and realize when the time to do things is. If you wait too long, you cost yourself a number of years.”


6:43 p.m. — McClendon on MLB Network

6:26 p.m. 

Thanks to everyone who participated in the chat. Here’s the transcript to it.

Speaking of transcripts, here’s what new Rangers manager Jeff Banister had to say at his managerial meeting.


4:28 — Zduriencik says the Mariners are “not close” on any signings. 

We just met with general manager Jack Zduriencik. Here’s the highlights of  it …

*** Asked if they are close to making any deals, Zduriencik said they are “not close” on making any deals.

*** Zduriencik said he’s taken calls about giving up every one of his young relievers. But he isn’t too quick to move any of them because of their invaluable production last season.

*** Zduriencik said he’s also taken calls about about both Brad Miller and Chris Taylor. He said the organization values both players, but there isn’t a set determination of who is going to be the every day guy. The organization also believes that players like Ketel Marte and Tyler Smith are legit big league prospects.

*** Zduriencik said he has internal candidates to fill some of the outfield time. He wouldn’t go into detail of who those candidates are, saying he prefers to wait on that. Translation: Brad Miller hasn’t been informed that he may see some time in the outfield.

*** Utility player Willie Bloomquist is scheduled to be ready to go for spring training. The Mariners aren’t really in need of getting a utility player at Class AAA Tacoma.

*** Right now, the Mariners are comfortable with Jesus Sucre as the back-up catcher. John Hicks will likely be the full-time starter at Class AAA Tacoma. They don’t plan to bring back a veteran Humberto Quintero-type to the Rainiers as injury insurance for Zunino. There is a belief that Hicks could be okay if rushed into big league service.


3:42 p.m. — Radio break 

Here’s the podcast of my Hot Stove/Winter Meetings discussions with Jason Puckett on KJR.


3:35 p.m. — and it continues …. 

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We have conflicting reports. Or do we? Could it be conflicting sources? That seems more likely. Welcome to the winter meetings. I will be your reluctant tour guide into this world of insanity. Please don’t feed the animals.

Here’s what we know. 1. They are interested in  Melky. 2. They are interested in Matt Kemp. 3. They are interested in Alex Rios (much less financial commtiment). 4. They have some interest in Justin Upton at the right price. 5. They need a right fielder. 6. This will only continue

2:26 p.m. — the market for Melky

Jon Heyman’s latest blog post is up and says that the Mariners are the favorites for Melky Cabrera. This isn’t new. The Mariners have pursued Cabrera because he would be less money than Matt Kemp and also wouldn’t cost them players as well. The market for Melky is odd. Heyman lists the Giants, White Sox and Royals as candidates. Not sure that any of them have the motivation of the Mariners. The Giants need to add some offense, but they also got burned by Cabrera with his PED suspension. It’s difficult to envision the Royals outbidding Seattle for Cabrera. They had him once in his career. And four years in the $50 million range seem high for a team that has other needs. The White Sox, well, that’s just an odd team in general.

It’s not difficult for manager Lloyd McClendon to envision batting Cabrera, a switch-hitter, in the No. 2 spot in front of Robinson Cano. That would allow the Mariners to move Dustin Ackley back down in the order, something McClendon prefers. McClendon was hesitant to move Ackley to the No. 2 spot last season. But had to out of need. He’s often said he prefers Ackley batting seventh.

Some people will bring up the idea of Ackley batting leadoff, instead of Austin Jackson. I don’t see that happening. McClendon believes that Jackson can be an effective leadoff hitter. He felt like Jackson was a flawed hitter when he came to Seattle and that his approach had been changed by the Tigers when they moved him lower in the order. Expect McClendon to bat Jackson leadoff all spring and early in the season.

2:08 p.m. — for your pleasure

I found this series of tweets of quite enjoyable from Jerry Crasnick.

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and then ….

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You would think that last year’s fiasco would change the thinking but it hasn’t. Of course, it’s typical Boras speak. But that just seems like such a far-fetched deal after what we saw from Morales last season.

1:00 p.m. — A few notes

 It’s an interesting deal with the Mariners and money. There is some thought that they have plenty to spend still. And there are also sources saying that it isn’t quite as much as some people think.

So while the rumors of Melky Cabrera and Matt Kemp are out there, could they make a move for an outfielder that isn’t quite of a big name? Maybe an Alex Rios? It’s certainly possible.

Look I don’t know exactly what their budget is. They said it i would be higher than last season. Their payroll ended at $106.7  million last season. They’ve committed  a lot of money to Felix Hernandez, Robinson Cano, NELSON CRUZ and Kyle Seager for the next few years. Do they have more they can spend? Yes. Should they spend to capitalize on last season? It would make sense.

What’s weird about the Mariners in past years and even this year is the idea of the money they have – it varies. Opposing teams and agents are hearing two different things – 1. the Mariners still have money and are willing to spend it. 2. They don’t have as much as money as people think and are operating under a budget.

That’s an odd juxtaposition. I think it is probably somewhere in the middle.

*** We were told that the Mariners will televise 16 Cactus League games this year, up from the the seven from last year. Basically all the “home” games at Peoria Stadium. All of the games will be broadcast on radio, but not all of them will be live. Several will be on tape delay.

10:21 a.m. — A’s trade Brandon Moss

In more Oakland news that won’t make the Mariners sad, the A’s have traded first baseman Brandon Moss to the Indians for minor league second baseman Joe Wendle.  It doesn’t seem like a huge return, but with the signing of Billy Butler, Moss became expendable. And like that …  he’s gone. Moss had five homers and 13 RBI in 19 games against Seattle this season.

A’s fans do not seemed thrilled with the return on this trade.


9:45 a.m. — Matt Kemp updates

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Ahhh, the winter meetings. The Mariners have interest in Matt Kemp. They had interest in him last offseason. They had interest in him during last season and they have interest in him now. What it really comes down to is money and how much the Dodgers would be willing to eat of the remaining $100-plus million that Kemp is owed over the next five years. I’ve been told they won’t eat half of it – that won’t happen. EVEN at 75 percent, it would be another huge financial investment to go with Felix Hernandez, Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager and Nelson Cruz. The Mariners would also have to give up prospects, most likely Taijuan Walker and more, depending on the salary issues.

That’s why Melky Cabrera seems like the better fit right now. The Mariners wouldn’t have to make as much of a financial investment maybe 4-years, $48 million and also not have to give up Walker, Brad Miller or any of their relievers. Not sure the Mariners will give the fifth year that Cabrera wants. But I’m also not sure of the market for him.


9:00 a.m. 

Good morning from Ballroom (Some letter) at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in sunny San Diego. Below, you will see in all of its pageantry, glory and spectacle the media work room – my home for the next four days. If you look closely, this entire room will be filled with baseball writers – most of them in bad shirts and practicing poor nutrition. To quote Obi Wan Kenobi …. “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.” Okay, that’s not true. Basically it’s just a bunch of middle aged dudes hanging out, checking on Twitter and then occasionally going through lobby trying to find random executives to sniff out rumors.

We will meet with GM Jack Zduriencik at 4:30 p.m. each day for a media briefing.


photo (12)

photo (11)




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