Summing Up What’s Up With The Mariners!

Jeff Sullivan · December 18, 2013 at 9:22 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

In an old job, I was expected to hit on rumors, even if the rumors were obvious poop, because people like rumors and people mean traffic and traffic means great Internet success! I don’t have that job anymore, but it turns out I do still have some of the bad habits I developed, so here’s today in Mariners rumors, outside of the Franklin Gutierrez transaction. You can take the person out of the SEO, but you can’t take the SEO out of the person. Actually wait you can, and it leaves PRN. Which can be rearranged to spell NPR! #Illuminati

So anyway

(1)

Ken Rosenthal

#Mariners drawing strong trade interest in IF Nick Franklin with multiple teams involved, sources tell me and @jonmorosi.

Seems like breaking news! Isn’t, really. Trade candidates don’t get much more obvious than Nick Franklin, who’s had his position blocked by a quarter of a billion dollars. He’s not a shortstop, and while he could conceivably become an outfielder, he isn’t one now and there’s not a lot left for him to do in the minors. This is a situation where Franklin should probably be turned into talent elsewhere, and other teams know that, so they’re all over trying to get the young second baseman. It might feel like the Mariners destroyed their own leverage by signing Robinson Cano, but they only destroyed part of it. There are still 29 other potential suitors that in theory would have to bid against one another.

I’ve got nothing against trading Nick Franklin. I do have something against trading him for too light a return. You don’t trade him just because he’s blocked — you have some patience and you wait some executives out. A year ago he was a top-100 prospect and then he clobbered Triple-A before getting up-and-down experience in the majors. Trade Franklin in a package, or trade him straight up. But if you’re trading Franklin, make sure you’re getting either someone pretty good, or someone under control for a while. This isn’t a piece you dump for mediocrity. He’s too much of a potential asset, and there are too many teams who’d like to have him for a while.

(2)

Jon Morosi

Mariners showing continued interest in free agent Ervin Santana, sources say.

The Mariners want a starting pitcher. They’ve had plenty of talks about David Price. They’ll be in to some extent on Masahiro Tanaka. And there are three primary remaining free agents, in Santana, Matt Garza, and Ubaldo Jimenez. They’ll talk about them all, and they’ll probably reach out to them all, if they haven’t already. As long as the Mariners are looking for an arm, they need to let the decent arms know they’re still in the market, and it’s not like there’s anything happening with Tanaka at the moment. So, absolutely, the Mariners aren’t uninterested in Ervin Santana. Nothing about the rotation picture has changed, that would cause them to lose the interest I’m sure they’ve had all along. Teams are all interested in pretty good players. One team will end up being the most interested. The Mariners just don’t want to be left out in the cold.

(3)

Ken Rosenthal again

Mentioned Suzuki as possibility for #Twins. Per sources, #Cubs, #Mariners also have shown interest. @FeinsandNYDN first reported #Cubs.

That’s Kurt Suzuki, who is a free-agent catcher. The Mariners’ starting catcher is Mike Zunino, and the Mariners’ backup catcher is Jesus Sucre. So, yeah, the Mariners obviously will want to get some kind of veteran backstop, and the pool out there is terrible, which is how a guy like Suzuki can end up floating to the top. Suzuki doesn’t really hit, or throw, or frame, or run, but he blocks, and he’s a super nice guy. Pitchers like him and if you’re looking for a super-high-quality backup catcher then what you’re looking for is a starting catcher, or David Ross. Not a lot of David Rosses. :(

(4)

Jeff Passan

And as great a story as Danny Farquhar was last year, the Mariners covet a closer to the point where[...]Fernando Rodney makes sense even as the market for such specialists has shriveled. The other teams with unsettled ninth-inning situations (Tampa Bay, Texas, Houston, Chicago White Sox) don’t seem altogether keen on lavishing closer bucks on anyone, even a guy who just a season ago set a major-league ERA record.

The Mariners have been linked to closers much of the offseason, including Grant Balfour and Brian Wilson, and when Jose Veras signed with the Cubs he said he also had an offer from the Mariners, which is pretty telling and presumably not a lie for no reason. Clearly, the Mariners have interest in a high-leverage veteran, and that they made an offer to Veras suggests they’re still interested, and this isn’t just a lingering rumor from the middle of November. The current bullpen isn’t super experienced and teams love adding veterans to young bullpens and the closer market is closing, with the Indians picking up John Axford and the Padres picking up Joaquin Benoit. Rodney’s still out there, with a small pool, and though he probably wants to get paid big-time, he might have to settle. I’m sure the Mariners are monitoring, just as I’m sure they’re monitoring other, non-Rodney bullpen veterans. But Rodney has all those saves the Mariners might not be able to look past. And Farquhar’s such a little guy! The Mariners could be a team that signs a veteran closer. In that case, you just hope the contract’s all right. Rodney’s a pretty good one, at least when paired with Jose Molina.

(5)

Jeff Passan again

First: Tampa Bay understands that it doesn’t have to deal Price. It has room in its budget for him this season. If the Rays underachieve, he can go for a copious return at the trade deadline, and if they’re still among the lords of the AL East, he can find a new home next winter. Second: The Seattle Mariners can very easily get this done if they include starter Taijuan Walker, a maneuver sources said they’ve begun considering internally within the past week.

That’s a powerful-sounding sentence: “The Seattle Mariners can very easily get this done if they include starter Taijuan Walker.” But all that actually says is “the Mariners could trade for David Price right now if they are willing to overpay.” Here are factual sentences: the Seattle Mariners could very easily trade for Miguel Cabrera. The Seattle Mariners could have Xander Bogaerts tomorrow! If they wanted, the Seattle Mariners could get a deal done for Matt Carpenter. Everybody has a price, which means everybody is more or less available, and the Mariners have a lot they could sell if they went insane. Yeah, the Mariners could have Price if they gave up Walker. Sensed that weeks ago. But that’s the whole thing. I could have a new car tomorrow if I wanted. Do I want?

As for the last bit, I’m sure they’ve been considering Walker for Price internally for more than just within the past week. They’ve probably been considering that from the get-go, since it was obvious that’s the guy Tampa Bay would most want. Walker’s the jewel. Teams internally consider everything, even moves you’ve never thought of. Most such considerations end up at “no” or “welp that guy’s not available anymore.”

Of course, the Price stuff is still real. It’ll be real until Price is traded or until the Mariners get some other pitcher, and the Mariners have been the team most closely linked. Something really needs to happen with Tanaka so the rest of the pitching situation can clear up, but expect the Rays to keep insisting on Price, and expect the Mariners to keep figuring out what their options are. The Rays, probably, are going to wait and hope a team on the other end caves. I would very much like the Mariners to not cave. Can’t say they won’t, but can’t assume they will. Just because the Mariners might be Price’s most likely destination doesn’t mean they’re actually a very likely destination, and maybe it’s even possible to do something in which Walker isn’t involved. How the hell should I know? I’m just a guy on the Internet riffing on rumors that might not even be truthful.

Comments

32 Responses to “Summing Up What’s Up With The Mariners!”

  1. LongDistance on December 18th, 2013 10:23 pm

    And Price’s no extension stance makes moving Walker even worse…

  2. Milendriel on December 18th, 2013 11:00 pm

    240 million $1′s probably builds a big enough wall to block Nick Franklin.

  3. tmac9311 on December 18th, 2013 11:10 pm

    Here’s hoping for Tanaka and John Buck. Those are the guys I’m most interested in adding to this team.
    I’m in no hurry to deal Nick Franklin, somebody would have to offer a young OF/SP or one that is locked up in a relatively cheap and long contract. Of course I’d make an exception for a guy like Price, in which the money saved by not having to post and give Tanaka the big deal could go towards a guy like Choo, as Price won’t resign.

    As for the bullpen arms, we for sure could use some, but seems like there are so many better ways to spend our money than using $6-8 million a year on veteran saves

  4. Westside guy on December 18th, 2013 11:23 pm

    I must admit – so far this off-season hasn’t sucked as badly as I feared it would going in (and when they signed WFB…).

    There’s still time to accrue more DHs of course, but maybe Z learned something from his mistakes last time?

  5. Typical Idiot Fan on December 19th, 2013 12:55 am

    240 million $1?s probably builds a big enough wall to block Nick Franklin.

    You sir, need an education from Scrooge McDuck!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAFSrKqIKdc

  6. ck on December 19th, 2013 7:08 am

    Amen to All, who say Price’s no extension stance would make trading Walker for Price a disaster.
    Cano mentioned,”…no respect…” as to why he went free agent.
    Price wants to be, ” An Ace, The Man, The Head Honcho…etc” In Seattle, King Felix Reigns, and Price would always be just another arm in the rotation. Never the Opening Day Starter, nor the first choice for any Game Seven type situation. In free agent parlance, “…no respect…”

  7. Longgeorge1 on December 19th, 2013 7:53 am

    Not to disagree with ck but… why then have position players been so reluctant to come here? Any decent position guy would have been “El Hombre”. Has the signing of Cano increased or decreased our chances of signing other quality players? Is it our “star studded line-up? Is it the Mariners or is it Seattle (isolation, rain, travel) that is the problem?

  8. ChrisFB on December 19th, 2013 8:12 am

    I still have a pipe dream / rosterbation that the M’s could somehow pry 2-years-from-free-agency-Scott-Boras-client Matt Wieters from the O’s for some Franklin/Ackley/Smoak level sort of package.

  9. MrZDevotee on December 19th, 2013 9:42 am

    Ken Rosenthal is reporting Z told him we’re pretty much done, unless we pull a trade or two. Or a minor signing or two (backup catcher etc.). There is some traction around the league that the M’s are starting to budge on Walker for Price (not what we want to hear, but that’s the rumor– we’ve “softened our stance” per Rosenthal).

    It feels like we wanted to go after Tanaka, but that boat has sailed (back to Japan– they’re gonna keep him)… Z told Rosenthal anything big going forward would have to happen above him (which seems to imply there was talk of something big like that, but no longer).

    But like Westy said, I’m kinda okay how things have gone, given my immense fear after the initial Willie Bloomquist signing. Basically, as soon as it was announced Ibanez was signing with the Angels, I was much more comfortable with where things stood, or might stand come February.

  10. kinickers77 on December 19th, 2013 10:11 am
  11. G-Man on December 19th, 2013 10:45 am

    I am totally on board with not trading Franklin without getting a decent return. However, it seems teams won’t offer much for a guy who “has to be traded”. I’ll hope that it isn’t so bad in a case where a guy has options (I assume Nick does), so he can be Tacomaed rather than taking up a 25-mans spot. Coming with a low salary and years of club control help, too.

  12. Longgeorge1 on December 19th, 2013 11:01 am

    I’ll be shocked if we don’t get a starter and two pen arms. If it costs Franklin, so be it. Trading an arm (Walker) for an arm doesn’t make sense. In the past I’ve read from “experts” that Ackley couldn’t play 2nd, Seager couldn’t play 3rd and now Franklin will never be a SS. Maybe, but he has enough speed and arm to play anywhere in the OF and let’s not forget 1b/DH (A joke). So he doesn’t HAVE to be traded unlike Price.

  13. Frozenropers on December 19th, 2013 11:06 am

    Rosenthal must have needed to fill some space. GM speak for not interested in paying what the agents are currently wanting teams to pony up. No reason to tell agent you are flush with cash, basically would be telling them you are ready to overpay. Only need to have one big overpay in an offseason. Z needs to negotiate well on his next signing/signings this offseason.

  14. MrZDevotee on December 19th, 2013 12:20 pm

    Frozenropers-
    Disagree… Mariners are a team that NEEDS to tell folks they have money, if they want players to come here. That’s our only draw. There’s no sugarcoating a message to player’s agents that “we’re probably done spending”. Why would they bother knocking on our door? They don’t knock on our door when we DO have money! Makes no sense, especially on a team where you HAVE to be active, and aggressive, and waving money to get top players to notice and consider us.

    We waved $25 million a year for potentially 6 years at Hamilton last year and he told folks he didn’t consider our offer serious. (Thank God, but still…)

  15. bluemoonking on December 19th, 2013 12:49 pm

    I wish Rosenthal, Passan, Morosi or anyone but Jack Z. was the GM of this franchise. What an idiot. No clue as to what he is doing. Cano is laughing all the way to the bank and teams like the Diamondbacks are building a competative roster. What did Jack Z actually do before he came to the Mariners?

  16. Frozenropers on December 19th, 2013 1:13 pm

    MrZDevotee—

    Disagree…Z has made some decent moves this offseason, you don’t ruin those by making a bad move and overpaying everyone you sign. At some point the M’s need to let the market come to them, (which they appear to be doing somewhat) as other teams use up their money. If Z was throwing money around like a sailor in a wh*** house, that would only lead to bad things, Bavasi type bad things, IMO.

    At some point you have to “play the game” rather than let the agents play you.

  17. Badbadger on December 19th, 2013 1:36 pm

    If the M’s were going to trade Walker for Price they would have already done it. GMs generally don’t mull things like that over for weeks, they either want in or they don’t.

    I suppose it’s possible that they are waiting to see if they can get Tanaka, but that doesn’t even make much sense- there are a bunch of good free agent pitchers left unsigned so I don’t know why it would be Tanaka or no one.

  18. MrZDevotee on December 19th, 2013 1:49 pm

    Frozen-
    That’s my point though. It doesn’t work that way for the M’s… We “let the market come to us” the past two seasons and ended up with ugliness.

    But I think we’re just talking about different levels of players. If you want Corey Harts and Willie Bloomquists, yeah, we don’t have to be going hard with our wallets open, but if we were wanting a Choo or a Cruz, we do, or they’ll just sign somehwere else for the same amount, OR LESS… They’ll go somewhere not a) a mess, b) a pitcher’s park c) a losing team, d) in the middle of nowhere, etc.

  19. bluemoonking on December 19th, 2013 1:56 pm

    Disageee all you want. But Jack is an idiot who made predictable moves and the Mariners are no closer to winning 82 games than 5 years ago.

    I DO NOT BELIEVE IN THROWING MONEY AWAY EITHER… I don’t believe that Cano was a good signing. You want to talk about a Bavasi signing… That was it. There were so many moves Z should have made… This team still has many needs that are not be filled. It is about building a system and a roster. Niether of which Z has experience doing.

    You want to see how a roster is constructed, see what the Diamondbacks have done this winter…

  20. Frozenropers on December 19th, 2013 2:13 pm

    “Disageee all you want. But Jack is an idiot who made predictable moves and the Mariners are no closer to winning 82 games than 5 years ago.”

    I would like to see where someone, heck anyone, actually PREDICTED that the M’s would sign Robinson Cano before the offseason began. The M’s signing of Cano this offseason was likley the LEAST predictable move made so far this offseason.

  21. bluemoonking on December 19th, 2013 2:20 pm

    Does it really matter? Cano signed his last contract (hopefully he won’t Figgins his way out of it). Actually most good teams rejoiced at the signing because he did not go to a contender. He will be on the books NINE years after Z is gone. Is Cano enough for you to buy your season tickets?

  22. Frozenropers on December 19th, 2013 2:26 pm

    “You want to see how a roster is constructed, see what the Diamondbacks have done this winter…”

    Kevin Towers? That’s the guy you chose to model a team/offseason after? Really?

    “Does it really matter?”

    You said Z was “predictable”. He was obvioulsy not. Yes, I would have to say it matters as the statement made was blatantly inaccurate.

  23. bluemoonking on December 19th, 2013 2:51 pm

    Yes, Kevin Towers… I like the moves and continue to like the moves he made this off season.

    And rumors were that Cano would sign with the M’s at the end of last season, if I remember correctly. They were the only ones that would spend that kind of money for that many years. So, IT WAS NOT A SUPRISE!!! Hello!!!

    I am predicting that Z will make one more move and it will be a franchise defining one… God help the Mariners…

  24. the tourist on December 19th, 2013 2:57 pm

    I’d like to see some links with those rumors. Because I saw zero of those.

  25. Frozenropers on December 19th, 2013 3:01 pm

    I’d like to see some links with those rumors. Because I saw zero of those.

    +1

  26. Typical Idiot Fan on December 19th, 2013 3:01 pm

    Blue, you’re way off the mark. I do not see one prediction that has Cano going to the Mariners, because (at the time) it made zero sense. The Mariners already had a second baseman playing out of position and another one who they were really high on. Adding another second baseman was the furthest from anybody’s mind. While it was true the Mariners had the most money off the books this offseason, there were a lot of people who didn’t think they would spend it.

    The Mariners signing Cano shocked the world, especially us. When the rumors were going down, we still were cynical that it was just Jay-Z using the M’s to leverage against other teams. It wasn’t until Cano actually went to Seattle that the reality started to sink in, and that reality was that the Mariners were going to do something they’d never done before.

  27. naviomelo on December 19th, 2013 3:14 pm

    We’re seriously calling it an offseason with this outfield defense?

  28. Eastside Suds on December 19th, 2013 3:23 pm

    Unfortunately naviomelo…..this year’s outfield free agents were a little pop and not much else. Other than Granderson and Ellsbury, name one outfield free agent who would be labeled a better “athlete” than Michael Saunders, or the recently re-signed Gutierrez. You can’t. There aren’t any.

    Rajai Davis, Jason Kubel, David Murphy, Carlos Beltran, Nelson Cruz, Chris Young, Marlon Byrd, Shin-Soo Choo??……nope

    A trade has to work both ways. I’m sure that if any top-flite centerfielders were dangled in the Mariner’s direction, we would take notice. It is what it is.

  29. MrZDevotee on December 19th, 2013 3:36 pm

    Bluemoon-
    So your logic goes: “So what if I’m wrong– I’m right!”

    (confusion) Okay.

    But there’s no way to take your comments seriously after that.

  30. marcus_andrews on December 19th, 2013 4:02 pm

    Bluemoon-

    Kevin Towers did a good job this offseason? If we were managing our offseason as he’s managed his we would have traded something like Brad Miller for Mark Trumbo (read a worse player) and something like Nick Franklin for Addison Reed (read a less valuable player). Towers has been a model in buying into labels (“proven closer,” “power bat,” etc.) rather than just getting good players.

  31. Typical Idiot Fan on December 19th, 2013 5:13 pm

    We’re seriously calling it an offseason with this outfield defense?

    Who says they’re calling it an offseason? Go read LL’s take on the Rosenthal comments. In a nutshell, it is hot air and shouldn’t be taken seriously.

    Kind of like what I’ve been saying about every Mariner related rumor this offseason.

  32. Westside guy on December 19th, 2013 6:37 pm

    This outfield is already an improvement over last year’s outfield.

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