Mariners Need Ownership Approval For More Major Moves

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Mariners are weighing a number of high-profile additions, including Nelson Cruz, Masahiro Tanaka and David Price, but the team needs to persuade ownership before pressing forward on those moves. That information meshes with another Rosenthal report from last month which indicated that the Mariners may be nearing their payroll limit for 2014.

Seattle's signing of Robinson Cano this offseason was clearly an ownership-level decision, and GM Jack Zduriencik made a nice followup signing by inking Corey Hart to a one-year deal to further bolster the club's offense. Zduriencik also bought low on Logan Morrison in a trade with the Marlins, hoping that the 26-year-old can still deliver on some of his top prospect hype from a few years ago. However, save for the re-signing of the oft-injured Franklin Gutierrez, it's been quiet for the Mariners since that time.

Cano is an elite bat, but it's hard to figure that his addition plus a pair of question marks is enough to turn the organization around. Hart did not play a game in 2013, and Morrison has batted .236/.321/.387 over his past 667 plate appearances after slashing .259/.351/.460 in his first 812 big league PAs. Seattle's shot at contention is further complicated by the fact that they share a division with the highly competitive Rangers and A's. The Angels, who finished third in each of the past two seasons, have added to their rotation and should see improved production out of Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton as well.


62 Responses to Mariners Need Ownership Approval For More Major Moves Leave a Reply

  1. John Kreese 2 years ago

    Don’t most teams need ownership approval for major moves? As far as the payroll limit goes it would be disappointing if their at their maximum. My hunch is the M’s are playing coy budget wise hoping the prices fall a bit. I mean what team comes out & says “we’ve got tons of money to spend & we will!”…

    • LazerTown 2 years ago

      Yep. But depends on how much control the owners give the GM/President.
      Most of these big contracts will outlive the GM, and I’m sure teams just don’t publish their rules for the GM. Jack Z can and should try to recruit more players, but when you are dishing out $100M salary that needs approval most likely. And some moves might too, we really don’t know.

    • King Kyle 2 years ago

      That is what I was thinking too. I’d figure even on the lower cost acquisitions like Hart and Gutierrez, Zduriencik would have still needed to get approval from someone above him. Seems like a non-story.

      • LazerTown 2 years ago

        Meh, I could see those 2 being his moves. They are short deals at low salary. He probably has a set budget to work with for those shorter deals.

    • Lefebvre Believer 2 years ago

      I have that hunch as well. Their new TV deal was and is a nice fat chunk of change. For them to just sit on it after seeing their attendance cut in half the past decade just wouldn’t make any sense.

    • LAAUSC 2 years ago

      The Yankees and Dodgers…..

      • JRC 2 years ago

        the Yankees I believe have deeper pockets and bigger spotlight

  2. WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 2 years ago

    SEA should take advantage of Cruz’s current situation and sign him to a 1-2 year deal. Cruz’s market seems to have disappeared, SEA has already lost a draft pick for Cano so the lost pick is less of an issue and SEA needs to shore up their offense to help take advantage of their big spending on Cano.

    • bjsguess 2 years ago

      How does Morales play into this though?

      Right now, I think they would still get a comp pick for Morales if/when he signs somewhere else. I believe that they would also lose that pick if they go after and get Cruz.

      • tedsfrozenhead 2 years ago

        I would try to trade Smoakie and resign Morales

        • John Kreese 2 years ago

          As long as Hart or LoMo is capable of playing the outfield I agree. Smoak in some package for a CF or even some bullpen help would be nice.

          • GO_M'S! 2 years ago

            If money wasn’t an issue…I would agree too. We could package Ackley and Smoak, and probably somebody else for an established OF…maybe Kemp? Then keep Morales at DH and put Hart at 1b. But, we need another starting pitcher…and we are already close to the budget–and Smoak and Ackley are relatively cheap.

          • Marinersforever71 2 years ago

            Going after Tabata & either Cole or Liriano from Pittsburgh would be a great deal as the Pirates need first base help including the Mariners desperately in need of starting pitching & outfield help. Pittsburgh has lots of pitching depth if able to re-sign Burnett.

        • LazerTown 2 years ago

          Why?
          Morales costs $14M, Smoak maybe $2M.

          Morales is a bit better, but the gap certainly isn’t big enough to warrant that much extra money. Better to upgrade at a position where the need is greater.

      • Drew Pike 2 years ago

        We lost a 2nd rnd pick for Cano, and would lose a 3rd rnd pick if we sined Cruz, or one of the pitchers with a draft picked attached. We still have the 1 and will have the supp pick if Morales signs. We don’t get it if he does not sign, and if we do, we can’t lose it.

        • Scott Goin 2 years ago

          The compensatory pick Seattle would get from Morales is not protected. That would be the pick we lose from Cano if Morales is signed by another team. If we then signed another free agent like Cruz or Jimenez, we would lose our 2nd round pick as well.

    • Stevil 2 years ago

      I’d argue the loss of another pick, even a second or third rounder, would be significant if you’re throwing it away for a guy who only gives you one or two years, and offers little in the way of defense.

      If it were my call, the M’s would stay away from Cruz. A center fielder would make more sense so they could platoon Guti and Saunders in RF. Saunders is better served in a corner, and Guti might be more durable if not depended on in center.

    • Trock 2 years ago

      I think that is Cruz settled to sign for a 1-2 year deal, Seattle would have to give a pretty good average salary, as I think he would rather go back to Texas on a 1-2 year deal (which they have already said from what I have heard) they would take him on back, but he still wants 3-4 years.

    • Edgar4evar 2 years ago

      I would rather have the money and the draft pick. Cruz would only represent a small marginal improvement over the player(s) he’d replace in the outfield at this point. The M’s should be looking to trade for a cheap, talented, right-handed outfielder.

      • Marinersforever71 2 years ago

        Make a trade w/ either the Blue Jays to acquire Batista or the Orioles to acquire Matt Wieters & Nick Markakis in a big marquee trade sending Zunino & Erasmo Ramirez or James Paxton in addition to few other players. Wieters & Markakis on top of Miller, Seager, Cano, bringing back Morales for a year or two year contract, Hart, Logan Morrison, and Michael Saunders/Willie Bloomquist would be as good as the Red Sox, Athletics, Rangers, Tigers, Rays, Orioles, Yankees, Angels, etc. to compete getting back into the playoffs just what the Pirates did this last season.

    • ADFranzFerdinand 2 years ago

      Cruz isn’t a fit in Seattle for several reasons.

      1. The Mariners have enough corner OFs/DHs. No point in signing another sub-par defender.

      2. Cruz is a product of Rangers Ballpark. His home/away splits are atrocious. In Arlington, he is a .294/.356/.555. Outside of Arlington he is .242/.299/.435. The Mariners don’t need to risk $10MM+ a season on a guy who can’t hit outside of Arlington. Cruz also has a career .238/.299/.442 slash at Safeco. Not a wise gamble.

      3. He is not going to age well and he’s never been a terribly valuable player to begin with. He has accumulated 3.9 WAR over the last 3 seasons. He racked up 7.9 WAR in his first two full seasons in Texas and then just fell off. Leaving a hitter friendly park like Texas will just see his WAR drop even more.

    • Marinersforever71 2 years ago

      Hope the new commish can change the draft around by making pick back by making the new drafting system to be similar to the NFL or NBA as it’s better to have draft picks involved in trades just like those two sports. Moving the amateur draft to third week of July is better in order for some teams to make moves of getting pick or two after losing the compensation like The Rangers after signing Choo from the Reds on top of trade deadline moves as usual. Plus, improving the team w/ upcoming rookies from high school/college is the foundation to build a team as what those couple sports have done.

  3. Karkat 2 years ago

    From both a performance and PR perspective, I feel like Seattle really needs to make a serious bid for Tanaka. Advertising a rotation of Felix, Iwakuma, Tanaka, and (moving forward) Walker, along with the bat of Cano, would be a good selling point.

    • Lefebvre Believer 2 years ago

      How sad is it that in order to compete they’d probably have to do even more after signing Tanaka. Why am I an Ms’ fan again? Ugh.

      • Stevil 2 years ago

        Because you’re stubborn and find a way to stretch hope, just like the rest of us M’s fans–despite history and instincts suggesting they’re more likely to fall short!

        You’re spot-on. They would need more than Tanaka. But they’d be considerably closer, right?!

        • Lefebvre Believer 2 years ago

          Considerably closer yes, and I have to admit I’d be pretty pumped if they managed to sign Tanaka, regardless of whatever else they did.

          • jsprague 2 years ago

            The nice thing about having two legitimate aces in Felix and Kuma, plus pitchers who have the tools to be aces in Tanaka and Walker (don’t forget Paxton either, I’m excited about him too), is that on most days the other team will be scoring very few runs. They’ll keep us in ballgames even if the offense struggles. But even if Tanaka was the last move of the offseason, the addition of Cano, the M’s first legitimate #3 hitter since maybe Griffey, automatically makes them more of a threat to score runs than last year. Plus if Hart’s healthy and producing at the level he’s proven he can, he’ll do a great job protecting Cano. I hope they can swing something to score Nelson Cruz as well, but Tanaka’s the big one. Having the best rotation in the league would be a huge luxury.

  4. Defiancy 2 years ago

    Better get to selling those Wii U’s Nintendo!

    • JacobyWanKenobi 2 years ago

      Way to go from difficult to impossible. 😛

  5. Stevil 2 years ago

    Hard to imagine the ownership snubbing any reasonable chance to land Tanaka. The M’s could still address their remaining holes without any of the bigger name free agents, though.

    Hammel and Capuano could be decent starting options for a reasonable prices without long term commitments. Someone like Jennings or Span could possibly be acquired to address center field without sacrificing Walker. Gomes might be available from Cleveland for a reasonable price as well, which would give them a solid fallback option/seat-warmer for Zunino. Left handed relief options might be difficult to find, but Perez was fine before being overused. He wouldn’t cost much to re-sign. O’Flaherty’s out there as well.

    Those names wouldn’t affect payroll significantly, but they’d likely have a significant impact for the M’s. They shouldn’t come at the expense of needed prospects for the future, either.

    This is all speculation on my part, but reasonable speculation.

    • johnsilver 2 years ago

      Capuano? Why not just grab back Bonderman, Bazooka Joe, or beg the Angels to give them Blanton?

      Guys with no business being in the league are all over the place. Why not see if Santanna will sign a minor league deal and give them 5-10 starts, then sign half a dozen AAAA retreads? Same thing as Capuano quality wise.

      • trenigro 2 years ago

        Over the past 2 seasons, Capuano has a 3.91 ERA, 3.81 FIP, 7.19 K/9 and 2.31 BB/9 in 53 GS. How is he in the same sentence as Bonderman and Joe Blanton?

  6. westcoastwhitesox 2 years ago

    It’s good to see more national media attention on this; maybe it will help pressure ownership to step up. The current Mariners owners have never splurged for a winning team, they shell out for a few expensive players and hope for the best with young talent…which has not been working out. Given the current ownership, I think it was dumb to use up so much of the tight-fisted owners’ money on one player’s 10yr contract. I hope the owners have a change of heart and invest in a higher payroll to compliment their enormous investment in Cano…but I don’t have high hopes.

    • Drew Pike 2 years ago

      They had what, the 3rd highest payroll a few years back? I am not sure where it was, but it was up there, and you say they don’t spend money? The problem is they had the wrong guy running the team then. He went on a shopping spree, and signed guys after one good year. I am not sure if Z is a ton better, but he is better. His OF signings scare me, but I think he will bring in one more after the Tanaka deal is done. I think he has a few players in mind, depending on if we get him or not.

      • westcoastwhitesox 2 years ago

        Thanks Drew…I hope you’re right and the owners plan to build a championship team around Cano. Seattle deserves some good baseball!

      • Marinersforever71 2 years ago

        He & Neil Huntington should get on the phone of making a proposal to acquire starting pitching & outfield from the Pirates w/ Smoak & few other pieces going to Pittsburgh as Nick Franklin from there goes to Milwaukee or Toronto to fill second base.

  7. Neddy Garcia 2 years ago

    We still need some help in the pen.Regardless who we sign to the rotation our pen was still one of worse in the MLB. I give them another year to figure it all out.

    • Guest 2 years ago

      Getting Cliff Lee, Dominic Brown, and Papelbon from the Phillies or David Price & Matt Joyce from the Rays for Tyler Pike or James Paxton, Nick Franklin, Justin Smoak, Brandon Maurer, and catcher John Hicks would not be a bad move. Franklin and Smoak will then be moved to the Brewers & Pirates each respectively to fill sports for both teams for pretty good return. It will help out those teams & the Mariners for sure (competing for the playoffs as the wild card or the division winner).

    • Marinersforever71 2 years ago

      The Pirates is another option team for the Mariners to make a move as they have lots of starting pitching on top of trying to move outfielder Snider/Tabata on top of trading for Smoak, Franklin (then goes to the Jays or Brewers), Pike, Carson Smith, and Romero. Maybe that will give the M’s to compete for the final wild card spot w/ that transaction.

  8. maqman 2 years ago

    Lincoln is on the record as saying the new ROOT NW deal allows the M’s to compete against the Rangers and Angels and stating this years payroll will exceed last year. So far it’s only close to last season and certainly not over it. I don’t doubt Lincoln wants to go out a winner before he becomes worm chow and he’s going to be 74 next month. If Nintendo won’t spring for a Japanese pitcher then shame on them.

    • Marinersforever71 2 years ago

      The Mariners should replace Howard Lincoln and retired Chuck Armstrong by hiring Sean “P. Diddy” Combs as the new CEO & assistant owner of Sony or Microsoft as the new owner to help out the team to compete w/ playoff caliber teams on moves to fill the needs in the outfield & pitching. It will put a :) on Cano & his agent Jay-Z, and GM Jack Z faces.

  9. trenigro 2 years ago

    This isn’t a money issue, its a lack of trust in Jacky Z. It’s become pretty clear that Lincoln has lost faith in Z so of course they would want the final say in any big moves. They certainly had final say when Cano was signed.

    • Stevil 2 years ago

      Two things.

      First, if Lincoln didn’t trust Z, he wouldn’t have renewed his contract and supported him this offseason.

      Second, Lincoln isn’t part of ownership. This means both Jack and Howard have to run their plan/ideas through the board.

      • trenigro 2 years ago

        Zduriencik was only signed to a 1 year extension and it was done in secret last spring training. The report of the extension wasn’t even leaked out until August. From the looks of it, this season is Z’s last chance and that he is going to be on a thin leash.

        The M’s are owned by Nintendo who are absentee owners and have Howard Lincoln run the team as CEO. Lincoln is in charge of all of the decisions up top. What they mean by Z needing ownership approval, is that he needs Howard Lincoln’s approval.

        • Stevil 2 years ago

          I know it was just a one year extension and that Lincoln was made the CEO by Nintendo (well, after approval from the other owners). But Jack still could have been canned at the end of the season if Howard didn’t support him.

          I disagree that Howard is likely the only one he would need approval from. I think that’s a given with any big contract–maybe any contract!

          I suspect both of them need to convince the ownership group the risk/reward is worth it. The ownership board consists of many names not connected to Nintendo.

          But yeah, the first step for Jack is certainly Lincoln, and I agree that this is probably Jack’s last chance.

  10. Scott Goin 2 years ago

    This isn’t much of a story. It’s the same thing Jack Z has said the past month. Part of it is certainly true. Going after a guy like Tanaka will 100% need owner approval. That’s the same with every team I’m sure.

    Going by what Howard Lincoln has said about the budget and the current obligations (~80-82 million plus incentives to Gutierrez & Hart), I think Jack Z has about 10-15 million to play with in the current budget. They can certainly go beyond that with ownership approval. The money from the MLB TV contract and the Root NW deal puts them at a level much higher than ever before.

    Lincoln probably just wants to be cautious and make sure the money is not thrown away. It’s still unclear how the Root NW deal is being handled financially. They had to pay a lot of money to buy Root NW. It wasn’t just given to them. It may be that a large portion of the money in the early years is being used to offset that large expenditure.

  11. dshires4 2 years ago

    How is this news? On top of paying $100+M for a guy who has never pitched an inning of minor league ball in the United States, you’re also paying a nonrefundable deposit if Tanaka signs with you. There’s a ton of money. Of course there would need to be approval from ownership; you’re using their money! All 30 organizations would need owner approval if Tanaka were to sign with their team.

  12. Eslva917 2 years ago

    I wonder how R. Cano feels right now.

  13. Riaaaaaa 2 years ago

    I don’t really follow the Mariners much, but can someone please explain why they don’t want Morales to hit behind Cano? It’s getting late in the offseason and they haven’t really been addressing their offensive needs.

    • Stevil 2 years ago

      Because they signed Hart to hit behind Cano. Very likely they see him as the regular DH. Shannon Drayer (M’s journalist who travels with the team) noted that the M’s are still looking for outfield help via trade, which supports the notion of Hart being the replacement for Morales.

      • Marinersforever71 2 years ago

        Unless Morales re-signs w/ the Mariners by moving LoMo to the outfield and Hart to play first base by trading both Nick Franklin & Smoak to the Phillies as part of the deal to acquire Cliff Lee/Papelbon/Brown or to the Rays for Price & Joyce before Franklin & Smoak go to the Brewers & Pirates in separate moves for descent return to the Phillies or Rays.

  14. skrockij89 2 years ago

    The Mariners still have 10 million to just get to last years payroll and 20 million just to get to the year before that. If you factor in the TV contact they could spend more than that. M’s just trying to keep this under the sheets a little bitter longer. Well that’s my guess anyways.

  15. WLS 2 years ago

    Off the top of my head, Jacks trade history is terrible and the man has never put together a package for a certain player that can fill our needs.
    Milton Bradley for Carlos Silva. Brandon Morrow for Brandon League. Jesus Montero for Michael Pineda. Doug Fister for Casper Wells and Furbush. Steve Delabar for Eric Thames. Brandon League for Trayvon Robinson. John Jason for Michael Morse. Jason Vargas for Kendrys Morales. Carter Capps for Logan Morrison. And the daddy of them all… Cliff Lee for Justin Smoak, Blake Beavan and I can’t remember who (I believe a Chris Davis was an option but we took Smoak). And we cut Mike Carp.
    Every trade can be pretty much graded bad. Even with good intention, his score is terrible and should never be allowed to make another decision. Everything he trades for turns to drain clog.

    • Shane1885 2 years ago

      I would say the Morales for Vargas and the first trade to get Lee were good but other than that your right its been bad move after bad move.

      • Marinersforever71 2 years ago

        Speaking of Morales, bring back Kendry by signing him to a one or two year deal to help the Mariners on offense to support Cano, LoMo, Hart, Seager, and company. Also, Jack Z should acquire either Brett a Gardner or Matt Joyce w/ David Price by giving up Nick Franklin, Justin Smoak (both Smoak & Franklin can be traded to the Pirates & the Brewers in separate trades from the Rays for some good return). Also, signing either a Tanaka or Jimenez would definitely help the starting pitching rotation as a fourth starter behind King Felix/Price/Iwakuma/plus Erasmo Ramirez or James Paxton as a fifth starter. This may give the team to compete for the wild card or division after making those moves to get back into the playoffs and be considered to get into the World Series by making up the Seahawks football season of possibly not making to the Super Bowl & saving Jack Z’s job as the GM.

        • WLS 2 years ago

          I would like us to go after Gregory Polanco at Pittsburgh and a few young pitchers from San Diego.

          • Marinersforever71 2 years ago

            That may both be backup options if either of those players are not available or even taken by other teams. Jose Batista & Brett Cecil from the Blue Jays for Nick Franklin, James Paxton or Erasmo Ramirez, Brandon Maurer, Stefan Romero, and PTBN would totally make sense for both teams.

  16. Shane1885 2 years ago

    Weak division??? Are you actually watching the games? Maybe your just another east coast bias fan???

  17. Marinersforever71 2 years ago

    They may end up contending in a strong division after acquiring Cliff Lee, Papelbon, and Dominic Brown from the Phillies on top of signing Balfour. Other option is to acquire Francisco Liriano or Gerrit Cole & Travis Snider or Jose Tabata from the Pirates for Nick Franklin (may end up traded again to the Brewers or Blue Jays for a player or two that Pittsburgh can get to fill position for the team), Justin Smoak, Stefan Romero, Tyler Pike, and Carson Smith. That would be a good trade for either teams in PA & Mariners including change of scenery for both Snider or Tabata & Smoak.

  18. JRC 10 months ago

    weak division, nuff said. last time i looked they are playing golf right now.

  19. Marinersforever71 2 years ago

    Matt Joyce w/ David Price from the Rays or Dominic Brown w/ Cliff Lee & possibly Papelbon from the Phillies in a trade would solve the problem on the outfield help. If giving up Taijuan Walker as a major piece in either of the trades, then drafting Carlos Rodon (NC State) or Jeff Hoffman (East Carolina) would be the option during the first round of the MLB Draft if either is available when the M’s pick has arrived. Speaking of the draft, MLB should adopt the trade during that time by moving from early June to third week of July after the All Stars Game to make deals w/ the pick or two on top of moving players before July 31 Non Waiver deadline (similar to NBA/NFL if new MLB Commissioner have ties w/ Roger Goodell).

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