Seattle Mariners president Kevin Mather confirmed in an appearance on 710 ESPN’s Brock and Salk show on Thursday, that the M’s will be increasing payroll for the 2015, after the successes enjoyed in 2014.
First-year team President Mather explained that the Mariners spent $16MM more than they had budgeted for in 2014 (a total payroll of $107MM), but ownership will not be scaling that back after seeing the team’s performance this season- missing a playoff spot by one game:
"“They’re fans and they seemed extremely pleased with the competitive nature of the games and September, meaningful baseball, and not one of them has said, ‘What are we going to do to get that $16 million back?’ They were all saying, ‘What are you going to do to get us six more wins next year?’”"
The Mariners posted an 87-75 record — their best since 2007 — and brought in over two million fans to Safeco Field for the first time since 2010, which Mather says will help him to acquire more resources for Zduriencik.
Mather goes into great detail on a number of topics. From Jack Zduriencik’s extension, the frustrating travel schedule and the midseason run at David Price.
Check out the transcript of the interview and if you have time, it’s worth listening to it in its entirety.
Mather admits that Zduriencik’s rebuilding effort took longer than it should have, but he called the decision to extend him after the successful 2014 season, an “automatic.”
Another bit of the interview that should sound promising to M’s fans is this quote, in which Mather says the team wishes to avoid a dip in wins like in previous years following a successful season:
"“We need to be 85 to 95 wins every year, which means we need to draft well, we have to get our draft picks signed, we have to be strategic with our free agent signings, but we need to be competitive year-in, year-out. And you don’t do that by signing broken-down, middle-of-the-road free agents and hoping.”"
Of course, Mather was referring to the risk the club took in signing Corey Hart this past season and how that failed to work out for the club.
Finally, he discussed the impact that the team’s strong season will have on attracting top free agents.
While he said it is definitely a selling point, the biggest hurdle for the Mariners in attracting free agents, in his opinion, is the team’s travel schedule.
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It’s something we’ve taken a look at here as well. The Mariners traveled more miles than any other team in 2014, and that’s with the Diamondbacks and Dodgers heading to Australia to stay the season.
Mather says he’s been assured by new commissioner Rob Manfred that MLB will look at the travel schedule in order to avoid scenarios like the one that came up at the end of the season.
You know, the one where Seattle flew to LA, Houston, Toronto and back home without an off-day.
Not sure if anything will come of that, but it’s nice to see that, at least in appearances, the organization is looking to continue to build positive momentum towards the future.