Mariners notebook: Nori Aoki in, Mark Trumbo out?
It has been over a week since we have seen general manager Jerry Dipoto make a move, so it might stand to reason with those who have been following the Mariners this offseason that he is due for another. The non-tender deadline could help prompt one.
The deadline for tendering contracts to arbitration-eligible players is 9 p.m. Wednesday. Relievers Charlie Furbush and Anthony Bass and outfielder Leonys Martin are all arbitration-eligible and easy calls for the Mariners with Furbush and Bass projected to come in at $1.7 million and $1.1 million respectively and Martin around $3.75 million. Mark Trumbo is projected to earn $9.1 million in his last year of eligibility and by all appearances, the Mariners would like to move that contract.
There are reports that the Orioles and Rockies have had interest in Trumbo, although according to an MLB.com report Tuesday afternoon, talks between the Mariners and Rockies are off. Obviously, those talks could be back on at any time as the Rockies have a need at first base after letting Justin Morneau go. The Orioles could also have a need as Chris Davis is a free agent.
The Mariners do not have to make a move before the deadline. They could tender the contract and look to trade Trumbo later, but no doubt are trying to gauge just how much interest there is at this point. Because of the expected salary, I wouldn’t expect a big return. This trade would be more about freeing up dollars with multiple pitching needs remaining.
Aoki on the radar
In addition to pitching, Dipoto is looking to add at least one more outfielder. Last week the team was linked to Marcell Ozuna, whom the Marlins are shopping. There is expected to be competition for Ozuna and the Mariners may not be willing to meet Miami’s asking price.
The Mariners have also showed interest in free agent Nori Aoki, who hit .287/.353/.380/.733 with the Giants last year. He would fill a number of needs as he can play the corner outfield positions and hit at the top of the order, he runs well, and while he would be another left-handed bat in the outfield, he has reverse splits throughout his career.
Aoki’s defense has been a bit of a puzzle. He certainly runs some interesting routes, but like his numbers or not in the field, no doubt a thorough evaluation has been made by Dipoto using numbers we do not have access to. I would assume if there is interest, he is good enough at Safeco Field, although I don’t see him as a center-field backup.
Former managers in the news
Two Tweets of interest from Tuesday morning:
Avila: “He wants to show the industry he's here to work, not sit at home and wait for somebody to call. It has nothing to do with Ausmus.”
— Jason Beck (@beckjason) December 1, 2015
That’s Tigers general manager Al Avila on why Lloyd McClendon took the job to manage Detroit’s Triple-A affiliate. Avila told Christopher Russo on the MLB Network that speculation that McClendon’s hire had anything to do with current Tigers manager Brad Ausmus was “kind of ridiculous.” McClendon was known to be favored by some in the Tigers’ front office for the job that Ausmus eventually got.
Also, Eric Wedge could be leaving the broadcast studio soon. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports the Blue Jays have interest in hiring the former Mariners manager.
Clarification on Wedge: Role with #BlueJays, if hired, would not necessarily be in front office. Would be in organization in some capacity.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 1, 2015
Wedge managed under new Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro in Cleveland.