Well its that time of the year, no I’m not talking about Christmas, but technically the free agent hunt for teams in baseball could be consider Christmas for them.
Either way the off season is off and the Mariners are looking for some new players. Justin Smoak and Corey Hart have already taken their leave from the Mariners and now the M’s have several players that are on the market.
Beimel was one of the best relievers in baseball this season, Young of course was the comeback player of the year, and Chavez came up for the M’s in big spots.
Though technically speaking Guti wasn’t in Mariners teal all season, so lets just consider him off the team for now.
Now the Mariners do need that potential power/.300 average bat to help balance out this lineup for next season and could use a pitcher if Young doesn’t resign.
Well for the hitters you do have Pablo Sandoval, Hanely Ramirez, Victor Martinez, Nelson Cruz, Asdrubal Cabrera, Yasmany Tomas, Billy Butler, Michael Cuddyer, Nick Markakis, Delmon Young and Melky Cabrera that are available for signing.
Lets go over some of these choices shall we? First off Cruz, Martinez, and Ramirez are the three big names that I believe Jack Z will take a look at in the free agency along with Butler and Cuddyer.
Last year the Mariners came close to signing Cruz but the ownership backed off him after making Cruz a qualifying offer. Cruz is coming off his best season of his professional career.
He hit .271 with a career best 40 home runs and 108 RBI’s, and with Robinson Cano, a fellow Dominican, on the Mariners, Cruz could possibly be wearing teal next season.
Cruz’s bat would be a huge boost for this team as they would have another power bat to back up not just Cano but Kyle Seager as well.
Martinez though is a tough option to process, only because of his age and if he would want too much money. It would be the same with Cuddyer, both coming off good years with Martinez putting up amazing numbers, both will be 36 soon and are nearing the end of their careers.
So the question would be how much would you want to pay both of these guys, if you sign one of them, and how many years would you take them on for? Its all questions when it comes to both their ages and the money you’re willing to spend to get’em.
As for the other hitting free agents, Ramirez is perhaps the other free agent that could come to Seattle thanks in part to the Dominican connection. Ramirez was apart of the Dominican Republic World Baseball Classic championship team with both Cano and Fernando Rodney, along with Cruz.
So, it may be just that that helps bring either him or Cruz to the team, to be with their Dominican friends and help the team in a push for the playoffs.
Tomas was on the Mariners radar but yesterday he worked out privately with the Boston Red Sox. Nothing is currently certain on who Tomas will end up signing with, many teams including the M’s have their sights on him but again nothing has circulated determining who Tomas would like to sign with.
Sandoval though I’m not certain will be in Seattle next year but its always good to hope so. Now, if Jack Z gives the 3-time World Series champion an offer my guess is that the Mariners will be switching both him and Logan Morrison between first base and DH duties. With the Mariners making a good push for the postseason this past year the free agent market is really wide open for Jack Z to go out and talk to high FA like Sandoval.
Now there is one more possibility that Jack Z could use to get another big bat in the lineup. He could trade for Yoenis Cespedes. Only problem is that Cespedes is not a fan of Safeco Field.
In 22 games at Safeco he’s hit only .138 with 5 home runs and 10 RBI’s but maybe a full season at Safeco could change that. If Jack were to trade for him though you’re looking at giving up a couple names for him. Possibly Logan Bawcom and Nate Tenbrink or even Patrick Kivlehan, either way you would need to give up someone to have a bat like Cespedes in your lineup.
As for pitching, if Young doesn’t resign with the team Jack Z has plenty of options. If Jack Z doesn’t want to sign anyone he could possibly use Roenis Elias who is coming off a very impressive rookie season. But if Jack Z chooses not to have Elias he does have some really good options to choose from.
Lester might consider finally coming home to pitch in his home state, but then again Lester has produced great numbers his last 2 seasons after coming off a 9-14 record in 2012. But the most likely candidates I believe Jack will take a look at will be Liriano, Shields, Hammel, and Vogelsong.
So that’s two righties and two lefties. Liriano has made a name for himself in Pittsburgh he did have a tough 2014 campaign but still put up decent numbers. As for Vogelsong he did have an off year for the Giants but he’s still a decent lefty that could really help the Mariners in the starting rotation.
So many great candidates and so much time til spring training to sign them. The next 4 months are going to be very interesting.
So, the question is that who’s going to be the big name that will be linked to the Mariners this season? Only time will tell.