Zduriencik talks about what’s next on agenda
After finalizing deals for Robinson Cano, Corey Hart and Logan Morrison in the span of 24 hours, Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik indicated Friday he’s likely not done yet with the offseason makeover.
The Winter Meetings ended Thursday, with Zduriencik and other Mariners officials chartering a flight home late Wednesday night so they could attend Cano’s introductory press conference, but that hasn’t slowed the lines of communication with other clubs.
“I’d still like to add to some areas of the ballclub,” Zduriencik said. “I had conversations this morning. I’ve been very specific on what we’d like to do. I’d love to be able to get another pitcher, we’ll look for bullpen help and maybe the possibility of a backup catcher.
“If nothing else happens, we’ve done some things here to improve the club,” he said. “But you’re always going to try to take a step forward and entertain every option that presents itself. So we’ll see.”
The Mariners, who previously signed veteran utility man Willie Bloomquist, now have been one of the busier teams this offseason with their Wednesday flurry at the Winter Meetings. And Zduriencik said the agreement with Hart and trade for Morrison indeed came to fruition in about a 15-minute period, thanks to a lightning-fast deal with the Marlins.
“It was very, very important for us to get a right-handed hitter and Corey fit that bill,” Zduriencik said. “Then when Logan became available, that happened real quick. Honest to God, it was one conversation. I texted [Marlins GM Dan Jennings] and said I’d have interest in Logan Morrison and he texted back and said ‘Carter Capps.’
“We called each other and had a five-minute conversation and consummated the deal. As much as I did not want to trade Carter, because we love the upside that kid has, I also felt it was important to get a player that is 26 years of age and has the offensive prowess this guy potentially has and he’s healthy.”
Having addressed the offense, Zduriencik’s next move may well involve pitching. He’s said from the start that he’d like to add a veteran to the rotation to work behind Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma and take the pressure off young up-and-comers Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, Brandon Maurer and Erasmo Ramirez.
Whether Seattle can jump into the deep pool again for a top-tier free agent like Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana or Bronson Arroyo – or whether they can afford to wait for those players to make decisions while others go off the market – remains to be seen.
“Sometimes a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush,” Zduriencik said. “So if you’re waiting on one particular thing to happen and you get shut out – because there are 29 other teams bidding for the same things we are – there’s timing involved. If something looks like it has a chance to work and you get a genuine feeling, then you go down that road. But if you’re not sure, you might need to make another move just because you can shore up your club in another area of need and make your club better incrementally.”
The Mariners have only two catchers on their 40-man roster in rookies Mike Zunino and Jesus Sucre, so adding a veteran there could be helpful. And the bullpen, with Capps now gone, seems another area where additions are likely in the coming weeks before Spring Training begins in February.