General manager Jack Zduriencik and skipper Lloyd McClendon vowed that the Mariners will act aggressively this winter to add offense to the Mariners’ lineup.
Club president Kevin Mather assures they’ll have the ammunition to do so, telling 710 ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Salk” that the Mariners’ payroll will increase in 2015.
Mather said the Mariners spent $16 million more than they had initially budgeted for 2014 and ended up with a payroll of $107 million, which the club will have the ability to top next season.
“I just blew by a budgeted number and we spent $107 million on player payroll and not one owner said, ‘Well, what the heck’s going on here?’ ” Mather said. “They’re fans and they seemed extremely pleased with the competitive nature of the games and September, meaningful baseball, and not one of them has said, ‘What are we going to do to get that $16 million back?’ They were all saying, ‘What are you going to do to get us six more wins next year?’ “
Mather was an in-studio guest on “Brock and Salk” on Thursday, four days after the Mariners finished their season at 87-75. While it was Seattle’s best record since 2007, it wasn’t enough to reach the postseason as the Mariners came up one game short of the second American League wild-card spot.
The biggest reason for that was an offensively-challenged lineup that finished among the bottom four in the league in batting average (14th at .244), runs scored (12th at 634), on-base percentage (15th at .300) and slugging percentage (12th at .376).
McClendon said during a season-ending press conference earlier in the week that the Mariners hope to add a pair of hitters to improve the middle of their order. What will help their ability to do so, Mather said, is an influx of revenue generated by an increase in attendance at Safeco Field, which topped 2 million for the first time since 2010.
“Clearly, clearly our fanbase this year helped me with my resource problem,” Mather said. “We’re in the middle of it, we’re working through it, we’re grinding out a process, but clearly our payroll has to go up. We have holes that need to be filled and I’ll leave the holes to Jack. I think it’s pretty obvious what hole No. 1 and No. 2 are and we’re going to get after that. So the answer to your question is yes.”