The Seattle Mariners may be set for the 2013 season as far as free agency is concerned.
Then again, Jack Zduriencik very recently pulled off the trade for Michael Morse, and there is still a significant amount of time between now and the opening of spring training.
Could the Mariners still go shopping in the free agent market?
For the Mariners, the challenge at this point may be playing time. There are already a few positions that are increasingly crowded. In 2013, spring training may feature a number of battles as youngsters fight for spots with veteran players that are trying to hang on.
There are areas of the team that could still use an upgrade, and now is the time of year where agents may be backing off on their demands rather than having a client that is unemployed.
With that in mind, here are three unsigned players than may be on the radar of the Seattle Mariners.
Yes, we are talking about Michael Bourn...again.
The speedy center fielder remains on the market, and while many articles have been written about how Bourn would look at the top of the Seattle lineup, he remains unsigned.
Why is he still a free agent? Since he is a Scott Boras client, is he asking for too much? Too many years? Are too many teams happy with their center fielders?
The problem with Bourn is that he is coming off a career year, and he's 30 years old. Therefore, he may be looking for a long, expensive contract that will likely include an inevitable decline.
He provides stolen bases and a solid batting average, but not very much power.
Signing Bourn would suggest that Seattle does not have a lot of faith that Franklin Gutierrez as a long-term solution in center field. In addition, it would create an outfield that is even more crowded now that Michael Morse is again a Mariner.
Consider that potential outfielders already include Gutierrez, Morse, Raul Ibanez, Michael Saunders, Casper Wells, Eric Thames, Jason Bay, Alex Liddi and Carlos Puguero.
Bourn would make No. 10. Depth is good, but not that much depth.
Now that Jason Vargas has been traded to the Los Angeles Angels, the Mariners could arguably use another veteran starting pitcher. Is Kyle Lohse the solution?
On paper, many teams would like to have a pitcher that is coming off a season where he went 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA. In 2011, Lohse was 14-8 with a 3.39 ERA. Prior to that?
2010: 4-8 (6.55 ERA)
2009: 6-10 (4.74 ERA)
At 34, Lohse is probably looking for a three or four-year deal. Realistically, teams may be looking to sign him to a one or two-year contract.
This may explain why he has not found a home.
The Mariners can certainly make an inquiry, but Lohse may stay on the outer fringes of their radar unless it starts to get very late in the game and Kyle is willing to take a shorter deal.
With the departure of John Jaso, the Mariners may need another catcher since Jesus Montero is currently the only viable option on the roster. Given that Montero may eventually be moved to DH, Seattle cannot plan on Jesus catching 162 games.
Fans may suggest that Seattle go straight to Mike Zunino, but in reality the 21-year-old prospect may not be ready for the big leagues. Zunino has yet to play above Double-A.
Is Yorvit Torrealba an exciting option? Not exactly. However, at this point of the season there may not be a huge number of choices.
As noted by ESPN, Seattle may be looking at “something from the Yorvit Torrealba group of free-agent catcher.”
In other words, the Mariners may not be looking specifically at Torrealba, but they may be looking at a similar type of player that can provide veteran play behind the plate.
More importantly, Jack Z will likely be searching for someone who is fairly affordable.
This could also include players like Kelly Shoppach or Brian Schneider.
Realistically, none of these deals may occur. However, as previously mentioned, free agency becomes a buyer’s market as teams get closer to opening their respective camps.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!