Mariners notes, links from Day 1 of winter meetings

Dec 9, 2013, 4:43 PM | Updated: Dec 10, 2013, 11:44 am

By Shannon Drayer

Again, full disclosure: I am not at the winter meetings this year. I am in contact with numerous people both from inside and outside the Mariners organization, so I will do my best to keep you posted with what I am personally hearing from others and what others are reporting.

• The day started out with the release of a statement from general manager Jack Zdrueincik addressing a Seattle Times article that included comments from Eric Wedge and Tony Blengino that were critical of the Mariners’ upper management. People I have talked to are split on whether or not he or the team should have made a statement but I believe it was a move that needed to be made if for no other reason than to allow Zduriencik a chance to try and go about the business of baseball at the meetings. It is hard to say whether or not the article will have an impact on his attempts to sign free agents or make deals. I think ultimately the dollars talk, as do the prospects, should they decide to go that route.

• On that note, in his afternoon meeting with the Seattle media, Zduriencik said that he “has no intention of trading Taijuan Walker.” That, of course, leaves the door slightly open because there is always the possibility of someone making an offer he cannot refuse. But for the time being, it sounds like the David Price trade possibility, as we have been hearing it, is unlikely to happen.

If all of this sounds familiar, well, yeah, it is. We have been through this before with Felix Hernandez. The difference now, thank goodness, is there are no national pundits exclaiming that “the Mariners must trade Felix! They can’t afford him or their needs are too great to keep him.” At last check, Hernandez is not a Yankee and that is a good thing.

Obviously the Walker situation is different because he doesn’t have the big-league time or numbers behind him that Hernandez did when the must-trade-Felix talk began but I would be curious to know how Zduriencik views this situation in relation to Hernandez. Is the blueprint the same?

• The Mariners would still like to pick up another starter and the market for the more upper-tier pitchers this winter has been slow to get going, most likely because of the the Masahiro Tanaka situation. MLB and NPB still do not have a posting agreement in place. Tanaka’s team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, are less than thrilled with the proposed agreement that is expected to be signed this week. Few believe, however, that they will hold Tanaka back for another year. Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times believes that the Mariners will be a prime suitor.

• On to the outfield. While the Mariners still like Raul Ibanez, signing him is not a priority, according to this post by Greg Johns of MLB.com. My feeling on Ibanez is that he has been the fallback plan should they not sign Kendrys Morales. With the acquisition still to come of Robinson Cano (which is still not official until the physical is taken and passed) they are simply too lefty-heavy to consider Ibanez until other right-handed or switch-hitter options have been exhausted. I would not expect Ibanez to still be around at that point as there are multiple teams said to be interested in acquiring his services.

• About that Cano signing to be. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News created quite a stir with a blurb in his morning article.

“By mid-day Friday, Seattle had heard that some team bid nine years and $225 million for Robinson Cano, so the Mariners upped their bid to $240 million and 10 years before apparently realizing the initial bid had come from themselves, too.”

This was not news – although several outlets ran with it as news – rather a bit of snark, which is not out of the ordinary for Grant or most sportswriters. Later in the day, when asked about the comment, Grant tweeted:

• One final note: Former Mariner Eric Thames has been released from the Astros and is heading to Korea to play ball.

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