The Seattle Mariners are open for business and wielding a fat wallet as they continue to tear off checks at the Winter Meetings in Orlando. The team made a big splash when they signed Robinson Cano to a mega-million deal a week ago, while also pursuing deals to complement Cano; that deal has since been finalized. Seattle added outfielder/first-basemen Logan Morrison and Corey Hart in separate deals Wednesday, and Seattle may not even be done with their spending-spree.
Of course the Mariners would love to have Tampa Bay Rays ace David Price, even as he stated he refuses to sign an extension with Seattle. The fact that Price would refuse to sign after his deal is up with Seattle is an obvious snub, but you would still get two years of Price to complement Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma. Seattle also remains in the race for Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, according to reports.
With money left to burn, it may be too early to grade the Mariners on an overall basis, but it does give us the body of work through the three-day Winter Meetings to measure the team’s moves to date.
Robinson Cano Signing: A+
Say what you will about whether or not Cano can produce in his 30’s, earning $20 plus million per year. Or whether his stats will nosedive as he leaves the hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium for the pitching palace at Safeco Field. All of that is void; this is the Mariners’ biggest acquisition in a long time and gives Seattle a bona fide superstar they haven’t had since the early Ichiro Suzuki days.
Cano’s stats may take a dive, but not a steep one. The fences at Safeco Field have been moved in from their original dimensions, and with help to protect him in the lineup, he figures to be a major cog and everyday player leading the Mariners turnaround.
Logan Morrison Trade: C
Morrison comes over from the Miami Marlins via trade, and on paper, you would think the Mariners got the better of the deal, having to only part ways with relief pitcher Carter Capps. Capps finished his Seattle run with a 3-3 record and an ERA over five, so it’s easy to see the Mariners got the better of the deal. Or did they?
Morrison is a nice addition if he stays healthy, but it will turn disastrous if he goes down. Overall, this trade is loaded with a bunch of potential and mediocre upside and ends the Mariners’ youth movement experiment from this past season.
Corey Hart Signing: B-
In their attempt to add offense on a budget, the Mariners came to an agreement on a one-year deal with first-baseman and outfielder Hart. Hart was signed for $6 million, but incentives — including those for games played — could push that figure to more than $12 million; that’s not a bad deal when you think about it.
Sure, there’s the fact Hart missed all of last season with knee surgery, but he’s healthy now and the Mariners got him at a pretty thrifty rate. Sometimes rummaging through the discount bin can pay off. That is, of course, all predicated on the idea that Hart stays healthy.
Willie Bloomquist Signing: C-
Seattle gets the 35-year-old version of the player they had in 2003. I’m no fan of this deal by any means, but Bloomquist is a good addition when it comes to needed depth. However, even in his advanced age, he’s still a better option than the youngsters Seattle has trotted out for tryouts.
The Winter Meetings wrap up Thursday. The annual meetings are the largest collection of baseball executives in the world, with Orlando playing host this year. The three-day event also features an Awards luncheon, Job Fair and Trade Show.