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Mariners content to add complementary players going into spring training

Jan 26, 2014, 9:30 PM EDT

Texas Rangers' Nelson Cruz celebrates after hitting a two run home run against the Detroit Tigers during the seventh inning of Game 6 of MLB's ALCS baseball playoffs in Arlington Reuters

The Mariners made the biggest news of the off-season, signing second baseman Robinson Cano to a ten-year, $240 million contract. As beneficial as the signing portends to be, at least in the early going, the consensus was that the Mariners needed to a lot more to improve on last year’s 71-91 record. They were rumored to have interest in trading for Rays starter David Price, signing Japanese starter Masahiro Tanaka, or grabbing slugger Nelson Cruz.

Since the Cano signing, the Mariners have been quiet, bringing aboard Corey Hart and John Buck since then, hardly the type of signings that might help transform them into an AL West contender. Despite the lack of action, and despite the remaining big names still on the free agent board, GM Jack Zduriencik is content to avoid the big deal. Per’s Greg Johns:

“We’re reaching out and are going to bring some players to Spring Training that aren’t big investments, but are veteran players that might have a chance to fill a role and take some pressure off these younger kids,” Zduriencik said. “I don’t think we’re going to jump in and invest where some of these dollars are going. It just doesn’t make sense when you take a 30-, 31-, 32-year old pitcher that wants five or six years and there is some history there of injury or inconsistencies. That’s a pretty big risk, and I think we have to look at this in the big picture.”

Johns mentions that, with Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez waiting to be signed, the Mariners have instead shown interest in Scott Baker. Baker missed all of 2012 and tossed just 15 innings last season after recovering from Tommy John surgery. The 32-year-old right-hander is trying to work his way back into a regular job, likely having to settle for a minor league deal.

  1. alexo0 - Jan 26, 2014 at 9:37 PM

    Mariners are content, or resigned?

  2. shawnuel - Jan 26, 2014 at 9:41 PM

    What an idiot Jack is. Deciding not to throw away money on players who are probably not worth what they will get, even though baseball geniuses like Ken Rosenthal think it is a good idea? He should be fired!

  3. autmorsautlibertas - Jan 26, 2014 at 9:45 PM

    Betcha Cano is already having second thoughts.

    • uyf1950 - Jan 26, 2014 at 10:53 PM

      I doubt it. Don’t kid yourself Cano didn’t go to Seattle to win championships or even because the thought the team would contend. He followed the money and 10 years / $240MM left quite a trail for him to follow.

      • louhudson23 - Jan 27, 2014 at 4:08 AM

        But realizing that your money can’t hit cleanup is the reality he has to deal with. He had a pile of money before. He has a much bigger pile now. In other words,so what? The Seattle part is understandable. Great city. The Mariners part was stupid. And that reality will hit him square in the face come June when it is all over for them…

      • uyf1950 - Jan 27, 2014 at 7:02 AM

        @ louhudson23, my guess is Cano looked at his pile of money prior to signing with the Mariners then he looked around and saw the pile of money guys like A-Rod, Pujols, Fielder, Verlander, Felix, Kemp and bunch of other guys had. He said to himself I’m better then 90% of those guys right now. My pile should be bigger, much bigger. and hence Cano was making nice with the powers to be with the Mariners.

  4. trippymane - Jan 26, 2014 at 9:48 PM

    Seahawks winning the superbowl, mariners winning the world series, sounders winning the mls cup, sonics coming back to Seattle, NHL coming to Seattle, and Macklemore winning Grammys 2014 is Seattle’s YEAR!!!

    • alexo0 - Jan 26, 2014 at 11:04 PM

      Definitely not music’s year.

    • yahmule - Jan 27, 2014 at 10:42 AM

      The Seahawks are going to get their asses kicked sideways this Sunday.

  5. penguins87and71 - Jan 26, 2014 at 9:56 PM

    Sorry the Mariners are not winning the World Series, keep dreaming though.

    • flamethrower101 - Jan 26, 2014 at 10:29 PM

      World Series? Hows about they get to .500 first!

  6. yahmule - Jan 26, 2014 at 11:17 PM

    Corey Hart was one of the better power hitters in baseball from 2010-2012.

    • cackalackyank - Jan 26, 2014 at 11:25 PM

      Calendar check. Not 2010. Not 2011. Not 2012. It’s 2014.

      • yahmule - Jan 27, 2014 at 10:44 AM

        He got hurt. Now, that would be enough to stop a guy like you permanently, but most pro athletes are built of sterner stuff.

    • uyf1950 - Jan 27, 2014 at 11:35 AM

      Yes he was . He was also 28 in 2012, 29 in 2011 he will be 32 to start the 2014 season after missing the entire 2013 season and he’s never been very good defensively according to both baseball-reference and fangraphs. Just a guess but to expect him to be anything close to the 2010/2012 Hart may be expecting to much.

      • yahmule - Jan 27, 2014 at 3:33 PM

        Which is why more than half of his potential compensation this season is tied to incentives.

      • uyf1950 - Jan 27, 2014 at 5:21 PM

        @ yahmule, the those incentives you mention have nothing to do with performance they are based on playing time, plate appearances etc… It’s against the CBA to have position players incentives based on performance.

      • yahmule - Jan 27, 2014 at 8:50 PM

        The sensible thing would be to make him the regular DH and the 1B when Smoak is sitting. Of course, these are the Mariners, so they’ll probably have him charging around left field on microfractured repaired knees.

  7. chiadam - Jan 26, 2014 at 11:57 PM

    Why even bother adding Cano if you’re going to stop there? It makes no sense.

  8. chaimtavish - Jan 27, 2014 at 1:27 AM

    Cruz looks like an even bet. Hard to understand only going part way. Hart and Morrison seem to replicate last year’s disaster with Morse and Bay. Pretty frustrating that Jack Z. seems no more knowledgeable than your average Joe–and lacking any kind of street smarts to pull of a favorable deal. I’d volunteer to be GM, for Pete’s sake. At least I’d hire knowledgeable assistants. I just don’t get the owners. Don’t they understand big data? Can’t they smell out a faker like Jack Z.?

    I have met the Nationals’ owners. *They* don’t put up with B.S.’ers and are committed to fielding a winning team. They’re smart and data-driven, along with gut-driven. Our owners seem detached and out of their league. What a disappointment!

  9. dnn92202 - Jan 27, 2014 at 2:25 AM

    So we got big money on a new tv deal. Tickets are way over priced to watch a terrible team. Why waste the time to watch them on tv. Use that money to bring a few sticks in that can hit. Cruz is garbage and not worth $1. He will hit .230 in Seattle so start the trades with cash involved. Bring up last years 1st round pick, trade off Smoak and Franklin. Bring up walker and let him pitch before he gets hurt in Tacoma. Jack Z is a moron, and add Lincoln to that as well.

    • joenash72 - Jan 27, 2014 at 3:14 AM

      Agree about Cruz.

      Trade Walker Franklin Ackley for Giancarlo Stanton. Pay him that money instead of Nelson Cruz.

      Gio/Cano would be Seattles answer to Pujols/Hamilton.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 27, 2014 at 8:45 AM

        Trade Walker Franklin Ackley for Giancarlo Stanton

        Going to take a lot more than that for Stanton, but good to see Mariner’s fans join Yankee and Phillies fans in the absurd trade ideas

  10. moogro - Jan 27, 2014 at 9:18 AM

    The headline says complementary. That’s too much. The reality is supplementary.

  11. bluemoonking - Jan 27, 2014 at 4:11 PM

    Jack Z is a moron… The worst GM ever. He gave Cano 24 million a year and a vacation in October. And now to hear that he did not give Tanaka a contract because he did not want to invest that kind of money on a 31 year old player??? Hey that’s the way it reads. Don’t fire him, run him out on a rail…

    Cano may have a couple of good years but 10??? The thought is buy the five and eat the other five… If you had a good team, it would make sense. He is trying to save his job and this and the other minor signing/trades are going to save his job? Do you know how happy the other teams are that the Mariners signed him and they did not have to???? The only people that don’t believe he should be fired, root for the A’s, Texas, Anahiem or Houston…

    It is moron speak, he is saying that he will give cheap, past their primes or never had primes dollars to take innings from kids who should be in AAA… Sound about right? I would not be supprised if Jason Bay got another call… Understand that the team leader in home runs last year at 40+ is gone and Morales would rather not play than sign a contract with Seattle.

    This team is no closer to winning 82 than 2008.

  12. jelepr - Jan 28, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    Zduriencik isn’t concerned about negative feedback or perceptions of the club. He’s a Howard Lincoln yes man. They make it perfectly clear every year – the Mariners front office is totally inept at building a major league roster.

  13. denny65 - Jan 29, 2014 at 1:58 AM

    Signing Cano means the Ms will go all the way ’til July before they’re out of the race for the AL West, instead of June as is usually the case.

    The Ms are doomed until Jack Z. is shown the door.

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