Mariners Links: Woodward, Iwakuma, Payroll

Here's the latest from Seattle….

  • Chris Woodward has retired from playing and has been hired as the Mariners' minor league infield coordinator, according to a team press release. Woodward was a 54th-round raft pick of the Blue Jays in 1994 but managed to play 12 seasons in the majors with the Jays, Mets, Braves, Red Sox and Mariners, usually as a backup infielder.  The 36-year-old played with the Mariners in 2009-10 and spent last year at the Blue Jays' Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas.
  • A clause in Hisashi Iwakuma's contract gives the M's exclusive rights to the right-hander through Saturday, reports's Greg Johns, whereas other free agents are available to other teams at 11 PM CST on Thursday.  The extra day of exclusivity comes at a price, however, as if the M's re-sign Iwakuma after their extended negotiating period, Iwakuma wouldn't be able to pitch until May 15.
  • Also from Johns' mailbag piece, he notes that the M's will look to increase payroll from last year's $83MM total and that the club could look to sign a veteran catcher on a minor league deal to add some depth given that Jesus Montero will primarily be a DH next year.
  • Larry Stone of the Seattle Times disagrees with Tim Dierkes' prediction that none of the top 50 free agents will sign with the Mariners this winter, arguing that the M's will have enough available payroll space to sign at least one notable free agent.

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