Mariners still in pursuit of offensive upgrade
Things aren’t happening as fast this offseason as Mariners fans would like and Jack Zduriencik can relate. The Mariners GM would love to have done more at the Winter Meetings than just sign outfielder Jason Bay to a one-year deal, but he’s continuing to press forward and it seems clear the club expects some progress soon.
Top hitters Josh Hamilton, Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn are among the dozens of free agents yet to sign. Kevin Youkilis is another prominent free agent who is believed to have Seattle on his radar.
The Mariners have also explored numerous trade options, looking for the right match.
“We have a lot of discussions going with different angles and we’ll see where it goes,” Zduriencik said Monday afternoon. “We’re trying to be fairly aggressive and try to do something to bring other opportunities here.”
Zduriencik, assistant GM Jeff Kingston and manager Eric Wedge were all at Bay’s media gathering in the Safeco Field clubhouse, taking a break from a morning of meetings and updates on the latest efforts.
“It isn’t easy to be patient, but it’s part of the process,” said Zduriencik.
The Dodgers signing of Zack Greinke to a six-year, $147 million deal could help get things moving as he and the still-unsigned Hamilton are the big dominoes that many clubs are waiting on before pursuing their next options.
“It could [get things going],” Zduriencik said. “Though I think the Dodgers are a little different than most clubs, the way they’re operating right now.”
As for the Royals-Rays trade that sent pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis to Kansas City in exchange for a package of premier prospects led by outfielder Wil Myers, don’t bother wondering why the Mariners didn’t get involved in the pursuit of Myers.
I’ve said all along that Kansas City wasn’t interested in obtaining top pitching prospects like the Mariners had to offer in exchange for Billy Butler or even young Myers. The Royals want to win now and were looking for established starters.
Zduriencik acknowledged as much on Monday.
“I knew all along they were looking for a top-of-the rotation guy, somebody who could be a No. 1 or 2 starter,” he said. “They made that very clear to us in all our discussions. And they were looking for more, even if they’d got that from us, that would not have satisfied them. They were looking for veteran presence as well. That was a big factor for them. They wanted big-league ready guys and they got that. They paid a price for it, but they got what they set out to accomplish.”
As for the Mariners? Yeah, they’ve been clear what they’re trying to accomplish as well. They’re seeking a veteran, middle-of-the-order bat. They acquired Jason Bay, who could help, but they’re not planning to stop there.
“That’s something we can’t comment a great deal on, but I don’t think we’re done,” said manager Eric Wedge. “Jack has a lot of irons in the fire. He’s been a tireless worker this winter, whether on the phones or in meetings, along with Jeff and everybody else in the front office. We’ll see. We have a lot of time left.”