Wednesday’s update from sunny San Diego
A few Mariners notes on Day 3 of the Winter Meetings.
– The Mariners aren’t making a lot of news here in San Diego — not surprisingly, since they made their splash last week with Nelson Cruz’s signing and the trade for J.A. Happ and really have just one more major move to make. That will come if and when they sign or trade for a right fielder. At this point, Melky Cabrera and Alex Rios remain the most-logical solutions in free agency, but both are still testing the market and seeing what they can get.
Most of the movement at these Winter Meetings has circled around pitching and that market should open up more now with the Cubs signing Jon Lester to a six-year, $155 million deal late last night. The Astros made some moves overnight as well, bolstering their bullpen by coming to terms with Pat Neshek and Luke Gregerson.
The Meetings continue today before concluding with the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday.
— Jack Zdurienick says Robinson Cano’s broken toe is healing fine and isn’t viewed as any kind of problem. And not surprisingly, Cano has been checking in regularly to see how things are going. Cano is friends with Nelson Cruz and Cabrera and has never shied from offering his opinions. Zduriencik says Cano has tremendous baseball knowledge and welcomes his input.
“Robbie is funny, is a good way to say it,” Zduriencik said. “He’ll send me different messages here and there. Sometimes it’s just hello or a thumbs up. He’s keeping in touch and he’s committed. He’s got a good perspective on some things. He’s well aware of what we’re doing and he’s bought in and is part of it, so it’s fun.”
— Zduriencik reiterated that D.J. Peterson will likely continue playing third base as well as some first base going forward. Many have wondered why the Mariners don’t just move him off third, given Kyle Seager’s presence there.
“We’ll continue to move him around.,” Zduriencik said. “You never know what will happen. First base would be a little easier transition for him. He’s played it in the past and played there some this year. He still needs some work at third base. Let him continue to do that.
“The thing with Peterson is just the proper amount of ABs. He missed a lot of time. It’s not his fault. But once we get him at a point where he has enough ABs and we feel he’s fairly close to being called to the big leagues, if there’s a position switch involved – and there probably will be – then we’ll make that position switch at that time. But you never know what’s going to happen with Kyle. He’s healthy and rolling right now and everything is great, but a twisted ankle or three weeks on the DL, you have to look for alternatives and you want Peterson to be able to play that position.”
— Peterson is the Mariners’ No. 2 ranked prospect by MLB.com. Their top prospect, outfielder Alex Jackson, was honored as Baseball America’s High School Player of the Year on Tuesday. Jackson is 18 — he’ll turn 19 on Christmas — but the Mariners are extremely optimistic about the potential of the right-handed hitter.
What would be a natural progression for a teenager who played 23 games in the Arizona Rookie League last year?
“It depends on the individual. At times you have players that exceed,” Zduriencik said. “You had that here years ago with Ken Griffey, who was a star. You see at times. Justin Upton, Dwight Gooden got to the big leagues in a hurry. I’m not suggesting that’s the case here, but I do think his acumen toward the game is pretty advanced. You have to note that a player like this has the ability to move at a faster pace than your typical player. You’re cognizant of it, you put him in position to succeed. How he prepares himself this offseason to come into Spring Training, it’ll be really interesting to watch this kid.”
Jackson won’t be part of the Mariners’ Major League camp this spring, but Zduriencik said he might well get pulled over to play in a Cactus League game or two. The youngster will be in Seattle as part of FanFest on Jan. 24-25.