Free Agent Notes: Mariners, Cruz, Orioles, Relievers

The last major free agent closer domino fell today when Fernando Rodney signed with the Mariners. That deal carries implications for his new club and for other teams that had interest in his services. Here are the latest rumors on the free agent market …

  • After inking Rodney, the Mariners are "all in" and are "cautiously optimistic" that they will land outfielder Nelson Cruz, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. We heard recently that Seattle was talking with Cruz and was willing to give him multiple years.
  • Though they had interest, the Orioles never pursued Rodney that aggressively, reports Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter links). Connolly says that Baltimore never indicated a willingness to spend near the $14MM guarantee that Rodney will receive from Seattle. "They liked him a little bit more than us," executive VP Dan Duquette told WBAL Radio (via a tweet from MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko). Of course, the O's had a two-year, $15MM deal in place with Grant Balfour until the team blew up the deal over issues with his physical.
  • With Rodney out of the picture, internal option Tommy Hunter appears to be the likeliest choice to close for Baltimore, notes Rich Dubroff of CSN Baltimore (via Twitter). Nevertheless, the Orioles have kept tabs on other late-inning relief options from the scratch-and-dent market. As Kubatko tweets, the club has shown interest in Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey as options to provide a mid-season boost. Both pitchers are coming off of surgeries, but offer plenty of upside. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes reported in early January that Hanrahan was preparing to audition in the spring, and also reported in December that Bailey has received significant interest, and expects to be ready by the middle of May. 
  • Of course, three other relievers also came off the board today, with Carlos Marmol and Chaz Roe signing with the Marlins and Pat Neshek going to the Cardinals.
  • Now that Rodney has signed, it is clear that no reliever will beat Joe Nathan's guarantee of $20MM, writes Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca. That represents a notable shift, as every one of the last six signing seasons has featured a reliever deal with at least $25MM in guaranteed money. The changing market has not only opened the door for smaller-market clubs to ink top bullpen arms, Nicholson-Smith notes, but also creates an opportunity for teams to limit the earnings of their younger arms by preventing them from picking up saves and increasing their arbitration earnings. It is worth noting that this year's market featured an ample supply of excellent-but-aging closers, which could help explain why no single arm garnered a huge guarantee.


39 Responses to Free Agent Notes: Mariners, Cruz, Orioles, Relievers Leave a Reply

  1. Tyler James Israel 1 year ago

    Here is the M’s line-up as it stands today + Nelson Cruz. ENJOY!

    1. Brad Miller – SS (Switch)

    2. Kyle Seager- 3B (Switch)

    3. Cano – 2B (LH)

    4. Cruz – DH/RF (RH)

    5. Hart – 1B/RF/DH (RH)

    6. Logan Morrison – RF/LF (LH)

    7. Saunders – CF/LF (LH)

    8. Zunino – C (RH)

    9. Dustin Ackley – LF/CF (LH)

    Bench: Smoak – DH/1B

    Rotatin:

    1. King Felix Hernandez

    2. Iwikuma

    3. Baker

    4. Walker

    5. Paxton

    Bulpin:

    Closer: Rodney

    Set Up: LH – Furbush

    RH – Farquar

    Long Relief – Pryor

    My take:

    Offense – Good mix of BA, power, and enough speed. Strong enough offense to compete in the excellent AL West.

    Pitching – Great starting pitching! Deep bullpin, great stuff, but too many walks. Lots of arms to give help Walker, Paxton, and Baker out when they only throw 6-7 innings a game. Baker may be a HUGE pickup if he can throw 175-200 innings.

    Overall: The M’s are contenders this year. Yes, I said contenders. If the young guys (Miller, Ackley, Saunders, LoMo, and Zunino) can hit over .250/.330/.450 I think we can surprise some people and win the AL West.

    Prediction: 87-75… Not enough for the playoffs, but enough to revive baseball in the Pacific NW and build towards our 2015 World Series. Walker and Paxton will compete for AL ROY, and Baker will compete for comeback POY.

    • Tony 1 year ago

      Seager isn’t a switch hitter.

      • The_Unnatural 1 year ago

        Neither is Miller.

        • Tony 1 year ago

          Yes , You’re correct , I was thinking about Franklin for some reason.

        • Tony 1 year ago

          Yes , You’re correct , I was thinking about Franklin for some reason.

      • The_Unnatural 1 year ago

        Neither is Miller.

    • docmilo5 1 year ago

      Smoak is the best defensiver 1st baseman of that group. He’s good vs righties and should sit his but vs lefties. There is going to be great competition in spring training and we can’t count out Nick Franklin from making some noise. I would like to see Franklin get a shot to play some OF and I would pass on Cruz for multiple years.

    • Stevil 1 year ago

      Pryor wont be ready to start the season, and when he is ready, he wont be long relief. That will be Ramirez or Beavan. They still need another lefty reliever, a starter without durability issues, and Cruz doesn’t solve their issue of outfield defense.

      Keep in mind, Oakland and Texas were already good and they got better. I would love to see the M’s contend next season, but the odds are against them with the roster, regardless of whether or not they land Cruz.

      • GD 1 year ago

        Please remember Texas and Angels rotations are a mess. Both their offenses are pretty stellar thought on paper. I can’t imagine Pujols and Hamilton not making a turn around though. I would love it if they fell on their faces again in 2014 though!!!

        • Rufus. 1 year ago

          You say though too much.

        • Stevil 1 year ago

          I don’t think Texas is content with their rotation, though. I fully expect them to sign at least one more starter.

          The Angels certainly have pitching concerns, but the A’s…. it’s crazy how stacked they are.

      • GD 1 year ago

        Please remember Texas and Angels rotations are a mess. Both their offenses are pretty stellar thought on paper. I can’t imagine Pujols and Hamilton not making a turn around though. I would love it if they fell on their faces again in 2014 though!!!

    • Gop5 1 year ago

      If the Mariners sign Cruz, which it’s looking as though they will, then they still have a couple of potential moves coming. I think it’d be wise to hold onto Smoak and Franklin to see if there ends up being a spot for them with Franklin at SS if Miller struggles, or Smoak at 1B if Hart or LoMo don’t rebound.

      Really, I think the move the Mariners need to make is to take a chance on Tommy Hanson. The guys’ brother died last year, so I can’t think that he was prepared to pitch. Add to that him pitching in a place like Safeco, and he could also be a candidate for comeback POY. When he’s on, he is dominant. And, having options like Walker/Paxton/Baker/Hanson/Beavan/Maurer would be nice for spots behind Felix and Iwakuma.

      • GD 1 year ago

        Texas is currently in talks with tommy Hansen at the moment. I thought it was a great pickup for Angels, but he was atrocious. Hopefully he will have horrible results in the sandbox in Arlington if Texas signs him.

    • Daniel Morairity 1 year ago

      Correction: we dont know if cruz will go to seattle cuz they are optimistic on him

    • Daniel Morairity 1 year ago

      Correction: we dont know if cruz will go to seattle cuz they are optimistic on him

    • Boss 1 year ago

      this is an awful prediction!!! pryor isnt even healthy and is not a long relief guy…SCOTT BAKER OUR #3 are you serious no way veteran back end guy. Smoak not even in the lineup??? remember lomo cant stay healthy id say there battling it out for first or DH

    • MB923 1 year ago

      Just saw you post this in the other post (the Rodeny signing), so I’ll post my reply again to it here:

      Bold prediction.

      Enough speed? Their offense has barely any speed. Ranked 28th in SB last year. Saunders led the team in steals with 13 SB. UBR last year had them 28th out of 30th and none of their new players are exactly speedy guys (correct me if I’m wrong, I can’t remember every transaction lol)

      Pitching, excellent 1/2 with Felix/Iwikuma at the front, but the back end has a lot of question marks. I don’t care how players do in the minors. Unproven = ?. Some prospects work out, most are busts (not calling any of them busts by the way, just saying it’s a ? for now)

      You only listed a few relievers. Their overall bullpen isn’t strong. Rodney has had 1 very good year his whole career (2012). Farquar is solid as is Furbursh (both BB a lot of batters)

      Right now at this point, I’d call them an average at best team. Improvement over last year because i can’t picture their SP being as bad, but I don’t think they are in compeition. I’d say 82-80, 3rd or 4th place.

      • LazerTown 1 year ago

        agree. This is not a complete team. That offense is pretty bad too. Cano is great, but aside from that and maybe Hart it’s not good.

      • LazerTown 1 year ago

        agree. This is not a complete team. That offense is pretty bad too. Cano is great, but aside from that and maybe Hart it’s not good.

    • MB923 1 year ago

      Just saw you post this in the other post (the Rodeny signing), so I’ll post my reply again to it here:

      Bold prediction.

      Enough speed? Their offense has barely any speed. Ranked 28th in SB last year. Saunders led the team in steals with 13 SB. UBR last year had them 28th out of 30th and none of their new players are exactly speedy guys (correct me if I’m wrong, I can’t remember every transaction lol)

      Pitching, excellent 1/2 with Felix/Iwikuma at the front, but the back end has a lot of question marks. I don’t care how players do in the minors. Unproven = ?. Some prospects work out, most are busts (not calling any of them busts by the way, just saying it’s a ? for now)

      You only listed a few relievers. Their overall bullpen isn’t strong. Rodney has had 1 very good year his whole career (2012). Farquar is solid as is Furbursh (both BB a lot of batters)

      Right now at this point, I’d call them an average at best team. Improvement over last year because i can’t picture their SP being as bad, but I don’t think they are in compeition. I’d say 82-80, 3rd or 4th place.

    • LazerTown 1 year ago

      87 wins is really a reach with that. Felix and Iwakuma are great, but after that it is pretty unknown what they will get. Also, outside of Cano and maybe Hart that lineup is pretty bad. Sure, they are better, but I don’t see 16 games of improvement there. And unless something major happens they aren’t nearly good enough to be real contenders. Their prospects have potential, but the odds are very low that they all break out next year. They do have some future if things go right, but they aren’t a 87 win team in that division as it stands.

    • LazerTown 1 year ago

      87 wins is really a reach with that. Felix and Iwakuma are great, but after that it is pretty unknown what they will get. Also, outside of Cano and maybe Hart that lineup is pretty bad. Sure, they are better, but I don’t see 16 games of improvement there. And unless something major happens they aren’t nearly good enough to be real contenders. Their prospects have potential, but the odds are very low that they all break out next year. They do have some future if things go right, but they aren’t a 87 win team in that division as it stands.

  2. Lefty_Orioles_Fan 1 year ago

    I have no interest in Bailey or Hanrahan!
    I would have an interest in Danny Farquhar if the M’s wanted to trade him.
    Other than that, i just SMH about the Orioles off-season. I can’t say that it was totally unexpected, the “Duke” keeps on saying the Draft is the way to go! However, doing nothing is the way to go either! There has to be a happy medium, especially when you draft pitchers from the beginning of time and really get very little out of it!

  3. MadmanTX 1 year ago

    Rangers will at least get an after 2nd round pick if Cruz goes to Seattle. Too bad their first round pick is protected.

    • The Continental 1 year ago

      Rangers will get a pick in the comp round between the first and second rounds regardless of who he signs with.

    • Muhamed Mashkulli 1 year ago

      No the yankees got it after the Cano signing

    • docmilo5 1 year ago

      Just say “No” to Cruz. Especially if it means giving the Rangers a pick. Yes a comp pick and not really giving them a pick of Seattle’s. Let him sit until June and sign without compensation.

  4. skrockij89 1 year ago

    Seems like its set in stone for the M’s to sign Cruz now.

    • MB923 1 year ago

      I think they need him (assuming that they plan on competing this year for a championship). Their OF is very weak (Offensively).

    • MB923 1 year ago

      I think they need him (assuming that they plan on competing this year for a championship). Their OF is very weak (Offensively).

  5. skrockij89 1 year ago

    Seems like its set in stone for the M’s to sign Cruz now.

  6. BROC 1 year ago

    Seattle Mariners will ROCK in 2014….

  7. BROC 1 year ago

    Seattle Mariners will ROCK in 2014….

  8. BROC 1 year ago

    I will try to watch every Seattle Mariners game this year (on MLB.TV)….

  9. BROC 1 year ago

    I will try to watch every Seattle Mariners game this year (on MLB.TV)….

  10. BROC 1 year ago

    Neson Cruz is a great power hitter….

  11. BROC 1 year ago

    Neson Cruz is a great power hitter….

  12. kb_dbacks 1 year ago

    With Cruz i think there is more risk than there is reward. Im sorry but this isnt a “win now” type of team. Cruz at this point is more of a luxury than a need and this team has way too many holes to be wasting resources on a player thats basically a DH. Theres no way unless Texas, Oakland and LAA forfeit the season that the Mariners even sniff a playoff spot. Just go into the season with you head held high you snagged arguably one of the best player in baseball, and build for the future because they may be the fifth best team in that division with or without cruz… dont sleep on the Astros this year!

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