Changes in the Mariners’ front office continue, as ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports that senior adviser Ted Simmons won’t be back with the team next year (Twitter link). Simmons, a former general manager of the Pirates, was hired to work underneath Jack Zduriencik back in 2010. He’s just one of several Mariners execs that reportedly won’t be returning in 2016, as news broke yesterday that Duane Shaffer, Pete Vuckovich, Joe McIlvaine and Joe Nigro will not have their contracts renewed.
A few more Mariners notes…
- Though the focus of this column from the New York Post’s Joel Sherman is the Yankees, Sherman indicates within that there’s a strong industry belief that Hisashi Iwakuma will re-sign with the Mariners this offseason. The 35-year-old Iwakuma has spent his entire Major League career with the Mariners, and while there may have been initial questions about whether or not a new GM would be interested in retaining him, Jerry Dipoto has already said that re-signing Iwakuma (with whom he is quite familiar from his days as Angels GM) is a priority for the team.
- Iwakuma is believed to be seeking a three-year contract, reports Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. Divish notes that Iwakuma has never made more than $7MM in a season, but on a new deal something in excess of $10MM would be a reasonable target in terms of annual salary. I’d agree with that assessment and think there’s a case for Iwakuma to receive three years despite the fact that he’s only topped 180 innings in one of his four Major League seasons. Divish quotes Dipoto as saying the there’s mutual interest in a return for Iwakuma.
- Divish also notes within that column that sources have indicated a decision on manager Lloyd McClendon may not be reached until next week. Determining whether or not McClendon is the man he wants running the team is near the top of Dipoto’s priority list. McClendon tells Divish that he feels the talks he’s had thus far with Dipoto have been productive, and he takes pride in the effort level put forth by the Mariners under his guidance. “I look in the mirror every night and know that I gave it everything I had every day,” says McClendon. “My players gave me everything they had every day. Some nights it was good enough. Some nights it wasn’t very good. The effort was always there. Obviously we have to shore some things up from a talent standpoint.”
- One more note of interest from Divish’s column (which Mariners fans and those interested in their offseason should read in its entirety) is Dipoto’s description of his philosophy on roster construction. “I will be frank: The trade market is always my first alternative,” Dipoto explained. “You draft, scout and develop, you trade, and to me free agents augment the roster you have. In a perfect world, you get to a stage where the foundation is strong enough you use free agency as a pure accent move rather than a foundational builder.” That, of course, doesn’t rule out any sort of significant spending on free agents this winter but does at least hint at something of a departure from the Mariners’ free-spending ways in the past two offseasons, when they signed Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano and Fernando Rodney.
- In taking a look at MLBTR’s arb projections, the Tacoma News Tribune’s Bob Dutton notes that there could very well be a decision coming at first base. Mark Trumbo and Logan Morrison project to earn a combined $13.2MM, which could make for an expensive platoon. While both have experience in the outfield, Dutton points out that Dipoto has expressed a need for a more athletic (i.e. defensively gifted) outfield, and neither Trumbo nor Morrison is a solid outfield defender. He continues, adding that Dipoto has already traded Trumbo once and could conceivably look to do so again, though if Trumbo stays, he’ll probably play every day due to the money he’s earning, which could make Morrison expendable.