Jack Zduriencik’s furiously busy 2009-10 offseason prompted many to pick the Mariners as a breakout candidate for 2010. The Mariners traded for Cliff Lee and Milton Bradley, signed Chone Figgins and extended Felix Hernandez last winter, but the team’s offense sputtered and the M’s won just 61 games.
One year later, Zduriencik is in the midst of a considerably quieter winter. He signed Erik Bedard, Jack Cust and Miguel Olivo to major league deals worth a combined $10.5MM and added a number of others on minor league contracts (Chris Smith, Luis Rodriguez, Fabio Castro, Charlie Haeger, Chris Seddon, Royce Ring, Chris Gimenez, Denny Bautista and Ryan Langerhans).
The M’s acquired Brendan Ryan from the Cardinals for Maikel Cleto, got something (Chaz Roe) from the Rockies for non-tender candidate Jose Lopez and let Rob Johnson go. Those relatively small moves sum up Seattle's offseason so far (they also signed international prospect Esteilon Peguero to a $2.9MM deal).
The Mariners aren’t done yet. MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes suggested this week that the team could still use a starting pitcher, a left fielder, a reliever and a backup infielder. Earlier in the month, Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner explained that he thinks Willy Aybar could be a utility player worth pursuing. The club could proceed with Josh Wilson and Matt Tuiasosopo rounding out its roster, or the M’s may look to build depth by adding a player such as Aybar, Nick Punto or Adam Kennedy.
Though the Mariners will likely consider adding a utility infielder and/or a left fielder, the team’s main need appears to be pitching. The club could use relief help regardless of whether David Aardsma stays put and it seems likely that the team will add a starter to compete with David Pauley at the back of Eric Wedge’s rotation.