Next up in our Offseason In Review series, the Mariners.
Major League Signings
- Chone Figgins, 3B: four years, $36MM. Includes $9MM vesting option for 2014.
- Jack Wilson, SS: two years, $10MM.
- Ken Griffey Jr., DH: one year, $2.35MM.
- Erik Bedard, SP: one year, $1.5MM. Includes $8MM mutual option for 2011 with a $250K buyout.
- Ryan Garko, 1B: one year, $550K.
- Ryan Langerhans, OF: one year, $525K.
- Eric Byrnes, OF: one year, $400K.
- Total spend: $51.325MM.
Notable Minor League Signings
- Wes Littleton, Jesus Colome, Chad Cordero, Mike Koplove, David Pauley, Yusmeiro Petit, Steven Shell, Levale Speigner, Eliezer Alfonzo, Josh Bard, Guillermo Quiroz, Brad Nelson, Josh Wilson, Chris Woodward, Corey Patterson, Mike Sweeney, Pedro Okuda
- Felix Hernandez, SP: five years, $78MM.
- Franklin Gutierrez, CF: four years, $20.25MM. Includes $7.5MM club option for 2014 with a $500K buyout.
Trades and Claims
- Claimed P Yusmeiro Petit off waivers from Diamondbacks
- Claimed Rule 5 pick P Kanekoa Texeira from Yankees
- Acquired SP Cliff Lee from Phillies for P Phillippe Aumont, P J.C. Ramirez, and OF Tyson Gillies
- Acquired OF Milton Bradley from Cubs for SP Carlos Silva and $9MM
- Acquired RP Brandon League and OF Johermyn Chavez for P Brandon Morrow
- Acquired 1B Casey Kotchman from Red Sox for 3B Bill Hall
- Claimed 1B Tommy Everidge off waivers from Athletics
- Adrian Beltre, Russell Branyan, Kenji Johjima, Endy Chavez, Bill Hall, Phillippe Aumont, J.C. Ramirez, Tyson Gillies, Carlos Silva, Brandon Morrow, Chris Shelton, Miguel Batista, Roy Corcoran, Randy Messenger, Gaby Hernandez, Robert Manuel, Chris Jakubauskas, Justin Thomas
The Mariners' offseason kicked off with a big positive on October 19th: they were freed of the $16MM left on Kenji Johjima's contract. GM Jack Zduriencik went on to remake his team, spending over $51MM on free agent contracts and acquiring Lee, Bradley, League, and Kotchman via trade.
The Mariners spent big on their two extensions, guaranteeing almost $100MM to Felix and Gutierrez. It's hard to argue with securing one of the best pitchers in baseball. The Gutierrez extension made me shrug – the savings over going year-to-year probably weren't big.
Most of the free agent spending was used to lock down the left side of the infield with two plus defenders in Figgins and Wilson. Figgins brings on-base skills as well, and should be worth the commitment.
On a team projected to have one of the worst offenses in the AL, the Griffey signing strikes me as unwise. Bradley, at least, comes with the promise of his 2007-08 seasons. By signing Griffey and acquiring Kotchman, the Ms didn't add much hitting at traditionally offensive spots. Could that $5.8MM have gone toward a more productive free agent bat or two? Zduriencik got three seasons of League plus a prospect for Morrow; were no interesting hitters being offered? The Mariners must have decided that Morrow could not provide 25 respectable starts in 2010.
The front end of the Ms rotation, of course, looks fantastic. Acquiring Lee, who was hardly known to be available, was a huge win for the Mariners. The rotation lacks depth; Bedard can't be counted on for 100 innings. The bright side is that projection systems think Ryan Rowland-Smith and Ian Snell can provide over 325 innings of 4.30 ball. If they stumble, a midseason acquisition may be necessary.
The Mariners have some similarities to their division rival A's – questionable offenses, plus defenses. It wouldn't be surprising to see a tight AL West race with all four clubs in the mix.