Seattle Mariners Rumors

Seattle Mariners trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

Quick Hits: Draft Pools, Street, Viciedo, Melky

Major League Baseball has let teams know the bonus pool values for the 2015 amateur draft, and Baseball America’s John Manuel has the full list of what each team can spend on players taken in the first 10 rounds.  The Astros have the highest bonus pool (at a bit more than $17.289MM) in part because they received the second overall selection as compensation for not signing Brady Aiken with the No. 1 pick last summer — Houston has both the second and fifth overall picks in the 2015 draft.  As noted earlier today, the 2015-16 international draft pool values were also determined and revealed by Baseball America’s Ben Badler.

Here’s some more from around the game…

  • Huston Street and the Angels haven’t begun yet talks about an extension during Spring Training, he tells MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez (Twitter link).  Street said he wanted “a week or so to settle in first” at camp and then the two sides would start negotiating.  The closer is known to be looking for a new deal comparable to the contracts signed by David Robertson and Andrew Miller this offseason.
  • The Indians are still interested in adding Dayan Viciedo but only on a minor league contract, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tweets.  Hoynes reported on the Tribe’s interest in Viciedo two weeks ago, though Hoynes felt Viciedo would more likely opt for a team who could offer him a Major League deal and a clearer path to playing time.
  • Melky Cabrera was already intrigued by the White Sox since his wife loves Chicago, though the outfielder wasn’t totally sold until he saw the team’s winter moves, Cabrera told CSN Chicago’s Dan Hayes.  When GM Rick Hahn approached Cabrera earlier in the offseason, he was more skeptical since he wanted to play for a contender.  Cabrera “really wanted to win,” Hahn recalled. “(He said) ‘But with all due respect are you guys really in a position to win and am I really a difference maker for you?’ ”
  • With Michael Saunders sidelined for several months, the Blue Jays are lacking in solid left field replacement options, Sportsnet.ca’s Ben Nicholson-Smith writes.  Nicholson-Smith lists several internal and external candidates who are flawed (or unlikely to be pursued) for one reason or another.  The PadresWill Venable is cited as perhaps the best trade candidate for the Jays’ LF hole, though even he isn’t a perfect fit.
  • The Mariners are putting a lot of faith in Logan Morrison to be healthy and productive this season, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune writes, given Morrison’s injury history and Seattle’s lack of depth at the first base position.

West Notes: Giants, Coke, Rangers, Marte

Despite all of their success, it’s not easy for the Giants to land free agents thanks to the tax rate in California, Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News writes.  The top income tax rate in California is 13.3%, which is more than double the top tax rate in all but a handful of states with major league teams.  “It’s exponential when you get into the size of some of these numbers,” Sabean said. “It makes a difference.”  The Giants have had to build differently and a little more creatively than others, sometimes with some key moves in the summer, but it has worked out pretty well for them.  Here’s more from the West divisions..

  • The Rangers‘ interest in lefty reliever Phil Coke has waned and the club doesn’t expect to sign the free agent reliever, a source tells Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram (via Twitter). The Rangers claimed a left-handed reliever earlier today when they plucked Edgar Olmos from the Mariners.  The Tigers apparently haven’t expressed much interest in a reunion and another spot in their ‘pen was filled when they signed Joba Chamberlain.
  • If shortstop prospect Ketel Marte plays well enough to reach the big leagues this year, the Mariners’ willingness to move Brad Miller or Chris Taylor will increase in the coming months, if not sooner, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  One Mariners official compared Marte, a switch hitter, to a younger version of Jose Reyes.  He also has some second base experience, but he’s blocked there by Robinson Cano.
  • All of the Angels‘ core relievers throw fastballs at an average speed of less than 92 mph, which means they’re basically ignoring baseball’s dogma about power arms in the bullpen, Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com writes.  Recently, the Angels have placed more of a premium on strike-throwing ability than velocity.
  • Trea Turner, who will be joining the Nationals as the player to be named later in the Wil Myers trade, is in camp with the Padres, Dennis Lin of U-T San Diego writes.  Lin checks in on Turner’s unusual camp experience as he is still more than three months away from joining the Nats.

Rangers Claim Edgar Olmos From Mariners

The Rangers announced that they’ve claimed left-hander Edgar Olmos off waivers from the Mariners. Olmos, 24, was designated for assignment by Seattle when the team made its signing of Rickie Weeks official. Texas has moved Jurickson Profar to the 60-day DL to clear a spot on its 40-man roster for Olmos.

The Mariners had claimed Olmos off waivers from the Marlins earlier this offseason. The left-hander made his big league debut with the Fish in 2013, allowing four earned runs (nine total) in five innings on seven hits and a pair of walks. He fared much better between Double-A and Triple-A in 77 2/3 combined innings in 2014, working to a 4.06 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9. Olmos held lefties to a .256/.330/.289 batting line between the Majors and Minors last season.

A former third round pick, Olmos has four times ranked among the Marlins’ top 30 prospects, per Baseball America. He’s ranged from Nos. 15 through 24, most recently coming in at No. 23 last offseason. BA noted that a move to the bullpen had his velocity up in the mid-90s, and he features a slider that is an average pitch at times and a changeup that can be a “true third offering.” Their scouting reports notes that he could become a situational lefty, though he’s gotten much better against righties since yielding a .942 OPS to them in 2011. Presumably, Olmos will compete with fellow lefty Alex Claudio for a spot in the Rangers’ bullpen.



AL Notes: Moncada, Price, Wilhelmsen

Yoan Moncada might be the best $100MM the Yankees can spend, Joel Sherman of the New York Post opines.  Of course, it’s a huge gamble to invest $60-$100MM in a player who might be two years away from the majors, but elite position players are now rare commodities on the free agent market.  If Yankees evaluators truly believe that Moncada is the next coming of Robinson Cano, then Sherman says they should roll the dice.  Here’s more from the American League..

  • David Price said that as far as he knows, there have been no discussions regarding an extension with the Tigers, according to Chris Iott of MLive.com (on Twitter).  Price says that he won’t close the door on negotiations on Opening Day, but he would prefer if the talk “dies down a bit” at that point, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).  Price would “rather not talk about it all year long” but he’s “not closing every door,” Heyman tweets.
  • Right-handed reliever Tom Wilhelmsen has no regrets about challenging the Mariners to an arbitration hearing despite losing his case, as Bob Dutton of The News Tribune writes. “You hear so many things about it,” he said. “I’m glad I did it. I got to stand up for what I believe in, man. That’s a pretty cool thing to do.” Wilhelmsen sought $2.2MM but the three-judge panel sided with the club’s offer of $1.4MM.
  • Recently, Dave Cameron of FanGraphs ranked the Braves‘ signing of Nick Markakis and the Mariners‘ signing of Nelson Cruz as two of the worst moves of the offseason.  Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com understands why the Orioles opted not to go that far in terms of years and dollars but he doesn’t see either deal as harshly as Cameron.

West Notes: Dodgers, Solis, Padres, Montero

The Dodgers acquisition of Brandon Beachy could lead to a trade, writes Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. Beachy will open the season on the disabled list, so his presence could be purely for depth purposes. However, if everybody is healthy when he’s ready to contribute, the team could consider dealing Zack Greinke or Hyun-jin Ryu. Greinke may opt out after the season which could make him expendable. A trade of Ryu seems unlikely since he can void his contract if dealt (via Twitter). Here’s more from out west.

  • The Dodgers and catcher Ali Solis have split ways over a contractual issue, reports Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. Details are unknown at this time. Solis was a non-roster invite to the big league camp. He’s appeared briefly with the Padres and Rays, accruing 11 plate appearances in the process. He’s a career .243/.291/.363 hitter over his nine season minor league career.
  • Padres pitchers Josh Johnson and Brandon Morrow are familiar with rapid rebuilds, writes Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Both players were with the Blue Jays in 2013 when they were picked to win the division. The team fizzled and finished last in the AL East. Johnson also experienced the 2012 rebuild of the Marlins. Both players point to chemistry and cohesiveness as an important missing element. Only time will tell if the Padres can bond together.
  • Every team has a player in the best shape of his life. One such to watch may be Mariners slugger Jesus Montero, writes Tim Brown of Yahoo. The once-prospect dropped 45 pounds from the hefty 275 he weighed last spring. Per manager Lloyd McClendon, “I think he’s in a much better place as a human being…The baseball skills, we’ll see.”

West Notes: Shields, Rangers, Saunders

James Shields rejected a four-year, $80MM offer from the Giants before signing with the Padres for $5MM less, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman writes. The Giants rescinded the offer once they re-signed Jake Peavy, however, so by the time Shields actually signed, the Cubs and Marlins were probably the Padres’ top rivals for Shields. Shields’ agent, Page Odle, says his client received more than one offer with a higher average annual value than the one he ultimately accepted from the Padres, confirming that Shields’ desires to play near his home outside San Diego and to for a revamped Padres team were quite strong. Odle implies, though, that another factor might have been that the Giants’ offer simply came too early in the offseason, and that he and Shields wanted more time to make a decision. Odle also says he and Shields did not reject a $110MM offer, as had been reported last month. Here are more notes from the West divisions.

  • The Rangers have three pitchers in Yu Darvish, Yovani Gallardo and Neftali Feliz who look like they could be extension candidates, but the team has no plans to extend any of them during Spring Training, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan writes. “There is nothing in the works right now,” says GM Jon Daniels. Darvish is signed through 2017, but can become a free agent a year earlier if he wins a Cy Young award in one of the next two seasons or finishes between second and fourth in both of them. “Counterintuitively, I’m rooting for him to be able to void that last year,” says Daniels, suggesting that the year lost will be positive if Darvish performs well enough to finish at or near the top in Cy Young balloting in one or both of the next two seasons.
  • Manager Lloyd McClendon says the Mariners will use newly signed lefty Joe Saunders purely as a reliever, MLB.com’s Greg Johns tweets. The 33-year-old Saunders has pitched almost his entire career as a starter, but he made six relief appearances for the Orioles last season.

Mariners Defeat Tom Wilhelmsen In Arbitration

The Mariners have won their arbitration hearing against reliever Tom Wilhelmsen, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman tweets. Wilhelmsen had asked for $2.2MM, but he will instead receive a 2015 salary of $1.4MM.

Wilhelmsen, 31, is coming off a strong year in which he posted a 2.27 ERA in 79 1/3 innings. His peripherals (8.2 K/9, 4.1 BB/9) and track record suggest he isn’t likely to sustain an ERA that strong, but he has a terrific mid-90s fastball, and he’ll continue to pitch in a pitcher-friendly ballpark.

Wilhelmsen might have made more through the arbitration system this winter had he continued as the Mariners’ closer — he saved 53 games in 2012 and 2013 combined, but only one in 2014 after the team signed Fernando Rodney. Wilhelmsen has two more years of arbitration eligibility, and is currently eligible for free agency following the 2017 season.


AL West Notes: Montero, Coke, Profar, Hamilton

Jesus Montero has been a massive disappointment with the Mariners, but spent the offseason putting himself in position for a turnaround, as Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. Montero is in great shape, as photo and video confirms, and is certainly young and talented enough to hold plenty of promise.

More from the west:

  • The Rangers are still looking at lefty Phil Coke and watched him throw again recently, reports Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News. GM Jon Daniels discussed the possibility of adding an arm today, noting that depth is always valuable but expressing interest in seeing his current group in camp. (Video via Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest.) While the club has to this point been unwilling to make Coke a major league offer, with the southpaw still holding out for a 40-man spot, Fraley notes that the bad news on Jurickson Profar will clear a big league roster space since he is destined for the 60-day DL.
  • As for the unfortunate news on Profar, the Rangers‘ head baseball decisionmaker firmly rejected the idea that the prospect deserved criticism for trying to avoid surgery by rehab. While the news that a procedure would be required was not a total surprise, Daniels said that the 22-year-old infielder made the difficult decision for good reasons and worked very hard over the offseason. Certainly, Daniels did not sound like he was interested in giving up on Profar. “Fortunately, he’s still just 22 years old,” said the GM. “We’ll get him back and we’ll get him out there.”
  • Angels slugger Josh Hamilton is going to require a longer recovery from shoulder surgery than originally expected, as MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez reports. At this point, it isn’t even clear that Hamilton will be close enough to report to spring camp. It still does not seem that an addition will truly be necessary, with Matt Joyce on hand to step in. Hamilton’s absence will presumably also create additional opportunities for players like Collin Cowgill and waiver claimees Alfredo Marte and Roger Kieschnick.

Mariners, Joe Saunders Agree To Minor League Deal

The Mariners and Joe Saunders have agreed to a minor league contract with an invite to Major League Spring Training, writes MLB.com’s Greg Johns.

Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reported yesterday that the Mariners were interested in a minor league deal with the Legacy Agency client and viewed him as a potential left-handed relief option. As I noted at the time, Saunders has been quietly excellent against lefties over the past two seasons, even if his overall numbers are undeniably troublesome. Though Saunders pitched to a 5.26 ERA over 183 innings with the 2013 Mariners and a 6.70 ERA in 43 innings for the Rangers and Orioles last year, he’s held opposing left-handed hitters to a paltry .230/.270/.308 batting line in that time.

The Mariners have a definite hole in the bullpen with the departure of Joe Beimel, who worked to a 2.20 ERA in 45 innings (56 appearances) as a lefty specialist last year. GM Jack Zduriencik recently told reporters that he spoke to Beimel’s camp and the two sides simply weren’t able to come to an agreement. That’s hardly surprising, given the fact that Dutton tweeted last night that Beimel is looking for a multi-year deal coming off his solid season.

In his 10-year big league career, Saunders has worked almost exclusively as a starter. However, he’s also held lefties to a .241/.288/.329 batting line. If he does make the Mariners’ bullpen and enjoy a solid season as a left-handed relief option, he could enjoy a career renaissance similar to that of Oliver Perez, who, interestingly enough, also established himself as a reliever in Seattle.

As Johns notes, Saunders could be competing with Lucas Luetge, Mike Kickham, Rule 5 pick David Rollins and non-roster invitee Rafael Perez for a spot as a second lefty in the bullpen. Charlie Furbush will be the team’s top left-handed option once again in 2015.


Quick Hits: Bochy, Navarro, Moncada, Profar

Giants manager Bruce Bochy underwent a medical procedure to insert two stents into his heart and is now resting comfortably in a Scottsdale hospital, according to a team press release.  “Following his physical yesterday, the Giants medical staff was monitoring Bruce Bochy’s heart after he experienced some discomfort,” according to the statement.  The skipper is scheduled to be released on Friday and he’s already sent texts to CSNBayArea.com’s Andrew Baggarly and Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (both Twitter links) saying that he’ll be back in camp in a couple of days.  We at all MLBTR wish Bochy all the best in his recovery.

Here’s some news from around baseball…

  • The Blue Jays aren’t actively discussing a Dioner Navarro trade with any other teams, FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi reports (via Twitter).  Earlier this week, I examined Navarro as a trade candidate since Russell Martin has taken over the starting catcher’s job in Toronto.
  • A rival executive believes the Yankees are the top contender to sign Yoan Moncada, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports in a roundup of the Moncada market.  The Yankees aren’t keen, however, on paying a bonus in the $40-$50MM range, which is what some sources say Moncada will probably receive.
  • With Jurickson Profar likely to miss another full season due to shoulder injuries, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News wonders if this could spell the end of Profar’s time with the Rangers.  It’s hard to believe Texas would consider non-tendering a former top-ranked prospect Profar when he’s eligible for arbitration next winter, yet Grant is right in noting that the Rangers might just move on with Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor in the middle infield.
  • Left-hander Joe Beimel is reportedly hoping to land a multi-year contract, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune tweets.  Beimel reportedly had three teams interested in him in late January, though one of those clubs (the Mariners) looks to be out of the running.  Though Beimel had a solid season with the M’s in 2014, it’s hard to see him landing more than a one-year deal at this stage of the offseason given his age (he turns 38 in April) and injury history (missing all of 2012 due to Tommy John surgery).
  • Also from Dutton, the arbitration hearing between the Mariners and Tom Wilhelmsen will take place on Friday.  The reliever is one of just three remaining players with outstanding arb cases, as per the MLBTR Arbitration Tracker.  Wilhelmsen is looking for $2.2MM for his 2015 contract while Seattle has countered with a $1.4MM offer.