Seattle Mariners Are Done Spending

They already don’t look happy. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

What the what?

That was my reaction while I was at work Thursday when I saw this tweet by Ken Rosenthal.

Then the Twitter-sphere exploded with all kinds of rants and raves about how this was impossible, unlikely, true to form and any number of other explanations for such an atrocious statement.

Then the guy from Duck Dynasty said what he had to say and Twitter quickly shifted to that for the rest of the day.

But let’s get back to the Seattle Mariners for a minute – if you are looking for me to comment on the Duck Dynasty situation, sorry, you have the wrong blog.

Are we to actually believe for one second that the Mariners signed Robinson Cano to his fat deal and assured him that he would be apart of a winning ballclub, by backing him up with Logan Morrison, Corey Hart, Willie Bloomquist and Franklin Gutierrez?

No offense to ANY of those guys. I was actually a big proponent of bringing Hart and Morrison to Seattle. I think they have the potential to be great additions. But not if they are the ONLY additions.

Jason Churchill of Prospect Insider and 1090 The Fan in Seattle, points out the obvious; they are NOT out of money.

The Mariners have about $67 million and change committed to the 2014 roster and they spent about $84 million last season, suggesting there is indeed room. There had been no indications of a payroll cut prior to the start of the offseason, including comments from CEO Howard Lincoln saying the number certainly wasn’t going to be reduced.

So why all of a sudden now?

I have a theory. I think this is a ploy, a ruse. The Mariners have been mentioned in every rumor related to almost every available free agent under the sun this offseason. Everyone knows the Mariners want to spend this money. Otherwise, why get Cano?

But the asking prices for these free agents have been climbing ever-northward. And why not? Supply and demand, right? The agents know that there is at least one team that would be desperate enough to pay the exorbitant amounts being asked, Seattle.

But what if Seattle was all of a sudden, out of the market for the remaining players?

The asking prices would surely drop, similar to that of a free marketplace of other goods and services. Then, the Mariners can swoop in and outbid the other teams, paying less than what would have landed them a week or so ago.

It’s risky, because you are banking on the fact that these players won’t accept an offer before the Mariners can get back in on the bidding. Also, the M’s are banking on other teams to not overbid and allow the prices to actually come down.

One thing is for certain, the Mariners cannot not, will not look Robinson Cano in the eye and tell him, “This is what you’ve got to work with, welcome to Seattle.”

They are not done spending. I just hope this strategy doesn’t backfire.

Topics: Seattle Mariners

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  • drwheelock

    I’m going to bet that Seattle will be willing to extend 2014 payroll to $125-$130M “if” Tanaka is posted. I think they will be the most aggressive on him, and selling him on Seattle, and if TB doesn’t budge on including either Walker/Paxton or Zunino….Seattle will move on to landing either Lee or Hamels that definitely won’t incluce Walker/Paxton or Zunino.

    Just like every other MLB Fan…I too would LOVE landing Stanton via trade, but Seattle lands somehow Tanaka and Lee all while keeping Walker & Paxton that rotation would be the best in the history of MLB:

    Felix
    Lee or Hamels
    Iwakuma
    Tanaka
    E-Ramirez Or Pike Or Mauer?!

    “If” it’s possible in any way to land Stanton, we could then throw the most incredible package for Stanton that I really think would get this deal done:

    Stanton Trade: Walker, Paxton, Franklin, Romero, Saunders ($2.5M Arb $ Estimate), Montero
    Lee Or Hamels Trade: Ackley ($1.7M Salary) & Smoak ($2.5M Arb $ Estimate)

    I really think those trades are doable, and Philly’s and Marlins would do it. Just my hopeful thoughts.

    • Nick

      I think that you are giving up way to much for stanton and I dont see the M’s having the ability to get tanaka. Tanaka is going to take about 160M after posting fee and contract are settled and you still have to pay hamels or lee their 25M per year as well plus you still haven’t solved the hitting issues. Remember we are taking last years hitting club minus morales and with cano. Is that enough to be a contending team? As for stanton, remember he has had quite a few injury issues and didnt hit for a very high average last year. Im not saying hes good but lets not go overboard and pretend he is mike trout. If you make those two trades the mariners completely blow up ALL the minor league talent they have.

      • drwheelock

        You actually think Tanaka is actually going to get $160m contract avg around $26m/yr???!!! That’s way more than the ‘proven’ Cliff Lee got

        • drwheelock

          Seattle is currently only at $80m for 2014 payroll, but that doesn’t include potential incentives that may or may not kick in. M’s have the financial resources ‘finally’ to take their payroll to $140m easily! I can see a $100-$120m max contract but it is going to get down to his preference on where to play…and I really think Seattle has the upper hand on several front…location closest to Japan, history of Japanese legendary players in Seattle, Iwakuma, etc

        • Nick

          I said including the posting fee. Take yu darvish for example, he was payed 60mil/6 years with a 52million dollar posting fee. Thats a total of 112million dollars for him. With tanaka being even better than darvish, and there being an even greater shortage, with more teams feeling comfortable signing japanese pitchers after the matsuzaka fiasco I think it is entirely possible that he gets a TOTAL of 160M between the posting fee and his salary. Could even stretch to a 8 or 10 year deal and get bigger.

          • drwheelock

            Nick I don’t think you are realizing that the $52M posting fee for Darvish is NOT accounted against payroll, and it’s NOT counted against the Luxury Tax threshold for these bigger market teams.

            Yes, Tanaka has a $20M base posting fee, and there was even talk about it hiting between $70-100M taking 98% of the teams out of the Tanaka bidding…UP UNTIL the new posting arrangement. What this ‘new arrangement’ did is really screw the teams that are attempting to get below the Luxury Tax this coming year. The Yankees are going to get hit REALLY HARD this year if they don’t get that accomplished. So with a $20M posting fee now, that means that the players salary is going to jump a LOT higher BUT it will be accounted all to team payroll (except the $20M). Meaning this really negatively impacts teams like the Yanks/LAD/LAA/BoSox from signing him for that $160M contract you are proposing. Under this new posting arrangement, it will make all these small/medium market teams with low payrolls able to bid on Tanaka now. Will it justify a $25M salary for Tanaka who still is a BIG question mark at this point never having pitched in the MLBs ‘yet’?!!! I can see him breaking $100m and possibly up to $120M and that’s gonna be a heck of a LOT more than Ervin Santana/Jiminez/Garza are going to get. I can see a AAV salary of Tanaka being in the $16-18M range @ 6-7 years. Just can’t see it extending beyond $20M/yr for 8-10 yrs on the uncertainty of what he will produce in the MLB?!

          • Nick

            I fully understand that, however for the mariners part 52m still has to come out of somewhere… Its not just Ill give you a bag of skittles and start bidding on you they have to be willing to give up that money. It may not count against payroll but it still counts against a teams bottom line. What is it that lincoln/armstrong care about the most? The bottom line. Yankees are banking on aroid being suspended freeing up their money for tanaka (although I still doubt that they get under the luxury tax amount 189m). Dodgers dont seem to care :) and the red sox dont have a need to get involved. That still doesnt mean these teams arent going to be looking to bid up the others though.

          • drwheelock

            I totally agree with you on this!!! It’s similar to the thought ‘where did they get the money’ to buyout DirectTV for ROOT Sports and taking majority ownership. It was all negotiating and the money had to come from somewhere, but didn’t come from payroll. Interestingly, the structure of these sports networks allow teams to be very creative in their endeavors with these types of signings. It wouldn’t surprise me if Seattle uses their newly found majority stake in ROOT Sports to fund the $20m posting fee. Plus with their equity in Safeco Field that is now paid off sure help a lot too.

            It’s been a painful 12 years as a M’s fan, but all the backend structuring that has taken place for the future of the M’s is what we can now get excited about. It’s a GREAT time to be a Mariner fan…that’s all I have left to say as we watch the rest of the offseason unfold “hoping” they continue to do add’l ‘smart’ moves to continue the other great signings this offseason!!!

      • drwheelock

        And YES Stanton is the only potential franchise player avail, and is worth giving a big part of our farm in exchange to land him!

        • Nick

          Firstly you had not just a part but pretty mjuch ALL of our farm system being traded including 1 top 10 prospect. Putting him with guti, morrison, and hart as the center of your lineup (around cano) is pretty risky considering none of those guys managed even a quarter of a season last year (well morrison sort of did). Again, how do you afford 25m for tanaka and 25m for lee/hamels?

          • drwheelock

            Including all Walker/Paxton/Franklin and some others in a Stanton trade is ‘not’ ALL of our Farm System. Last Spring Seattle’s Farm ranked #3 out of 30. I can see giving a package to Miami that could take us down to a 12-15 ranking, and within a couple years’ our Farm would be right back up within the top 5 with Z’s scouting expertise.

            Of course you would only include Walker/Paxton “if” Tanaka is posted and Seattle signs him AND trades for either Lee or Hamels.

            And considering our base payroll for 2014 right now is sitting at $80M (without $9M potential incentives for Hart and Gutz), Seattle could EASILY take on Tanaka (@ $16-18M/yr) and Lee combined without blinking an eye, especially if it allowed us to trade for Stanton to solidify our OF and add’l 30-40 HR power from him. Heck “if” Seattle wanted to get really crazy they ‘could’ go up to $25m+/yr for Tanaka “if” they had to, but i just don’t see Tanaka topping out at $20M+/yr. Maybe I’m wrong and ‘if’ he’s posted it will be fun to watch how aggressive Seattle goes after him, and how interested he is in playing in Seattle?!

            All I’m saying is that once you bring your Farm System within the top 3 MLB Farms, those top teams have a ‘luxury’ of dealing from their strengths to land those crucial final pieces to their puzzle, and Stanton is one that is NOT going to resign with Miami and could be had for the right price and is worth going after and all in on!

            There is no reason Seattle couldn’t take a 80M payroll to $120-140 with the financial resources they have at their finger tips (Paid off stadium, all bad contracts GONE, New ROOT Sports ownership deal (like the YES network the Yanks have), and with Felix & Cano to continue to build around).

            Which means:
            1. Take on Lee OR Hamels salary thats either $20m-$25M for one of them.
            2. Sign Balfour
            3. Be the most aggressive bidder in the Tanaka sweepstakes “if” posted.
            4. Screw Cruz and go all in for Stanton.

            We’d have the #5 spot in the rotation open for whatever top prospects takes their SP to the next level along with the top 4 being: Felix/Lee/Iwakuma/Tanaka.

            You add Stanton & Morales in the current lineup, along with the SP staff and Balfour in as Closer, and Seattle’s going to be tough for anyone to beat…still with a Farm that probably will rank in the 12-15 range in MLB.

            Not trying to be sarcastic at all. I REALLY like Seattle’s position. So, there is no need to become ‘desperate’ after the awesome offseason they’ve had so far and ruin it with a questionable signing on someone like Cruz or Ervin Santana!!!

  • MrBippies

    I think it just means were ‘done’ until the Tanaka mess clears up.

    If the Ms make another decent sized signing or two, chew up $10-20 million, maybe they think they won’t have enough to have a real shot at getting Tanaka (if he even gets posted, which is looking more and more unlikely at this point). If we are serious about getting another star pitcher, I see no reason why the Ms wouldn’t want to go all out for the guy. Easier to swallow another huge contract if we aren’t rubbing up against our limit, whatever it really is.

    If Tanaka doesn’t get posted, the M’s will probably do something big in January. Right now, I think a lot of teams are waiting on Tanaka and a lot of players are sitting around to wait out the Tanaka carnival to end so that the big ticket teams will look at them again.

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  • maqman

    I too believe the M’s are waiting on Tanaka, which is a good thing. He’s clearly the best arm available, and I’d take him over Price.(I wouldn’t trade for Price period.) Safeco is a pitcher’s park and pitching is of more value to the M’s than an average team. I agree with Dave Cameron that their best OF move is to trade for Ethier and take on his whole contract, which is now below current market cost, to keep the prospect cost down. The Dodgers won’t move Kemp now, they would be selling low on him.

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