Mariners Moves: Rumors or Reality
By Jon O'Connor
With GM meetings underway, winter meetings quickly approaching, and the Mariners coming off of a season where game number 162 had meaning for the first time in a decade, the next move is full of anticipation. Let’s remember to separate the off-season rumor mill from what reality may be.
As a fan it is fun to think about what signings could happen and even more fun when major league baseball has no salary cap. No salary cap does not mean unlimited payroll, however.
With revenue up in 2014, it is rumored the Mariners will have more to spend in the winter months. Many think another Robinson Cano-like splash may be coming.
Without ruling out the possibility of throwing money at major names such as Victor Martinez and/or Hanley Ramirez, let’s take a minute to remember to keep expectations at bay.
Remembering a name a couple of years back that many Mariner fans were wishing for, Prince Fielder.
Following the 2011 World Series, Fielder became the biggest free agent on the market for the 2012 season. With many hoping to bring Prince to Seattle, the combination of the fit, the money and clouded hopes of Justin Smoak panning out, the Mariners chose to pass on Fielder.
Prince settled on a monster nine-year, $214 million dollar contract with the Detroit Tigers and has since been traded to Texas where he has struggled with injuries and playing a full slate of games. Passing on Fielder proved to be a solid decision.
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Last off-season the Mariners were rumored very close to signing Nelson Cruz, who landed in Baltimore. They chose to pass there as well, and Cruz had a very successful year in 2014 and, in turn, is back on the market as we speak.
Something that is important to remember is that the Mariners are just beginning to reap the reward of the plan that was put in place many years ago. Relying on the draft, player development, and the farm system to eventually produce a winning product.
It’s been a long hard road for Mariner fans since the record breaking year of 2001 where expectations fell just short.
Splashing money around is rare for the Mariners and in 2013 they did something very out of character signing Robinson Cano to a 10-year contract worth $240 million.
The money spent on Robinson Cano was money well spent, we can all agree on that after year one. That being said, Cano is a special type of player that is rare in professional sports.
We all know talent-wise Cano is one of the best players in the game, but it is what he brings beyond his talent that ensures the money is well worth it.
It is the intangibles Cano brings that help mold and mature the young talent the Mariners have brought up.
Bottom line here, folks, don’t get too caught up in the whispers, rumors, and what-ifs of the winter. Should a splash signing look more eminent complaints will not come from Seattle, but financially it may not be smart or necessary.
General Managers would not be doing their jobs if they didn’t speak to every available agent in the winter, that doesn’t mean a deal is in the works, but it sure is fun to speculate.
Keep a clear head M’s fans, the 2014 season was a great taste of what the future holds for this young ball club.