The new Mariners ownership group fronted is prepared to follow through on CEO John Stanton’s comments that “payroll matters” (made at the press conference announcing the ownership change) when the trade deadline approaches, reports Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, citing a pair of sources that are “intricately tied to the ownership group.” As Baker writes, former CEO Howard Lincoln was required to run all decisions by representatives from Nintendo of America prior to their sale of the majority stake of the club, and the result was often lackluster acquisitions. Even though the sale won’t be formalized until August, however, Nintendo isn’t likely to intervene with payroll matters at this point, and Lincoln, who remains involved in a lesser role, is said to be on board with increasing the payroll as necessary in order to augment a roster that has produced a first-place record through the season’s first 31 games.
More from the AL West…
- John McGrath of the Tacoma News Tribune argues that Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto should act quickly to sign right-hander Tim Lincecum, who threw for more than 20 teams on Friday of last week. While the Mariners don’t necessarily have an immediate rotation need, McGrath points out that several relievers are on the disabled list and adds that there are ominous signs surrounding Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma. Pitching injuries are commonplace throughout the league, of course, and adding Lincecum to serve as the next line of defense while working out of the bullpen in the short-term is a sensible play for Dipoto, McGrath opines. There’s logic behind everything McGrath writes, though if a club comes knocking with a firmer promise of a rotation spot, I can envision Lincecum preferring that even to signing with current first-place team that plays in his home town.
- Last week’s acquisitions of Bobby Wilson and Drew Stubbs weren’t exactly the largest moves made by Rangers GM Jon Daniels, writes Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News, but they’re a testament to his importance to the club’s success. The pair of additions is a reminder of Daniels’ willingness to make in-season upgrades, and each of the subtle transactions played a role in a Rangers win over the weekend. Manager Jeff Banister spoke highly about the impact of Daniels’ activity within the clubhouse. “That’s why I love the partnership that I have with JD and the entire front office,” he said. “We’re always in communication about ways to better our ballclub with players who have a different skill set. … It’s a big boost for our guys. They know this front office is willing to work for them.” Banister added that he’d be fine with the idea of Wilson and Stubbs, each of whom was with the Rangers in Spring Training but ended up elsewhere, “unpacking his bags” and sticking with the club.
- The Athletics optioned right-hander Jesse Hahn back to Triple-A this weekend in favor of reliever J.B. Wendelken, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. It’s expected that right-hander Henderson Alvarez, signed to a one-year deal after being non-tendered by the Marlins this winter, will ultimately step into that rotation spot. However, manager Bob Melvin said yesterday that Alvarez needs another pair of rehab starts, which could lead to left-hander Eric Surkamp getting a spot start when the fifth spot in the rotation comes up next.