The Mariners had a busy day today, adding two players, one via free agency and one via a trade with the Miami Marlins. First baseman/outfielder Corey Hart, previously of the Milwaukee Brewers, was signed to a one year contract worth up to $13 million and RP Carter Capps was traded to the Marlins for first baseman/outfielder Logan Morrison. Both of these players have high upside and high risk/reward but their overall cost is fairly low so they shouldn’t be a burden to this team. Both Corey Hart and Logan Morrison are coming off of fairly significant knee injuries, Hart lost the entire 2013 season to his injury and Morrison has only played in 178 games the past two seasons. They’re both healthy now but caution should be used when projecting them to be in the lineup everyday. They join Justin Smoak in a trifecta of first basemen now on the roster.
Wow. Early this morning, the Seattle Mariners signed Robinson Cano to a ten-year contract worth $240 million. We now live in a bizarro world where the Seattle Mariners outbid the New York Yankees for the premiere free agent of the offseason. Let me reiterate that. The Seattle Mariners have given Robinson Cano the third largest contract in baseball history. My rational mind tells me this is a contract that will devastate this team when Cano enters his late 30’s and early 40’s. We’re committing to paying him $24 million when he’s 41! My irrational fan heart tells me this is going to be a lot of fun.
Today the Seattle Mariners completed a three-way trade with the Washington Nationals and the Oakland Athletics. The Mariners receive former Mariner, first baseman Mike Morse. We have sent catcher John Jaso to Oakland. It seems like Jack Zduriencik is hell bent on acquiring as many part-time first basemen, part-time outfielders, full-time designated hitters as possible. Morse is the fourth player added this offseason, in addition to the players already on the roster, who will fill three positions. Not only that, but now there is a hole in our roster for a catcher who can hit successfully against right-handed pitching. Jesus Montero is the only catcher on our roster and from what everyone has been saying, he won’t stick at catcher in the future, so throw him into the mix for playing time at designated hitter and first base.
Over the course of the last two days, the Mariners added two veteran players to their roster. One move makes some sense, its hard to discern the reason behind the other. On Friday, the Mariners signed pitcher Jeremy Bonderman to a minor league contract. The very next day the Mariners signed “outfielder”/designated hitter Raul Ibanez to a $2.75 million, one-year contract. Both of these moves are similar in nature yet one is rational and the other doesn’t make much sense given the current state of our roster.
Today, the Mariners made a move that everyone had been waiting for them to make. They added a middle of the order bat that fills a position of need. Joining the Mariners is Kendrys Morales, first baseman. Leaving the Mariners and heading to the Los Angeles Angels is Jason Vargas, starting pitcher. My initial reaction is that this trade will end up being valuable but not immediately. This move answers some questions but also brings up new ones.
As many of you know, the Los Angeles Angels signed Josh Hamilton to a five-year, $125 million dollar contract on Thursday. Josh Hamilton was viewed as the jewel of this year’s free agent class and many thought the Mariners were front runners to sign him. The overwhelming response from Mariners fans has been frustration, outrage, and disappointment. Failing to sign Josh Hamilton has been characterized as a failure by the Mariner’s front office to act and to understand the fundamental needs of the team. These reactions are ultimately emotionally driven and I would like to offer a reasoned response to those Mariner fans who feel frustrated and disappointed.
As expected, the Seattle Mariners signed an outfielder this offseason. He just happens to be an outfielder who provides questionable upside but is none-the-less part of the mix for next year. The name Jason Bay might ring a bell for some of you. He played for the Pirates, Red Sox, and Mets and gained a reputation as a power/speed outfielder. The last few years, he has dealt with a number of injuries including a serious concussion and a bad back leaving him a shell of his former self.