Seattle Mariners Rumors: Pros and Cons of Top Offseason Targets

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Seattle Mariners Rumors: Pros and Cons of Top Offseason Targets
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With the MLB offseason in full swing, the Seattle Mariners have yet to make any moves, but they may be in business to spend a lot of money this winter, hoping to bolster their roster for first-year manager Lloyd McClendon. 

Below are the pros and cons of signing players that the Mariners have been reportedly interested in.

 

Carlos Beltran

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ESPN's Jerry Crasnick has tweeted multiple times about the Mariners' interest in veteran outfielder Carlos Beltran.

Beltran rejected the one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer from the St. Louis Cardinals earlier this week, meaning the Cardinals will be compensated with a draft pick. 

 

Pros

Beltran is a versatile hitter. He has been a consistently excellent player throughout his 16 seasons in the majors and has shown little signs of slowing down at age 36. He hits for average and power and has hit well from both sides of the plate in his career (.288 as right-handed batter, .281 as left-handed batter).

He's a lock for 20 homers and 20 doubles and a .285-.300 batting average, with close to 100 RBI depending on where he hits in the lineup. 

Beltran also fills needs. Yes, needs, plural.

Seattle desperately needs an outfielder and a bat, something Beltran accounts for two-fold. He can hit anywhere from second to sixth in the order, and with the players already on the Mariners roster it would be second, third or fourth.

Though he's 36, he can still cover adequate ground in the outfield and is still solid with the leather. 

 

Cons

Beltran is a potentially low return on investment. This is a fair risk to asses to every potential signee, but it's especially valid in Beltran's case.

He'll be 37 in May and missed significant time due to injuries as recently as 2009 and 2010. His speed has noticeably decreased, most notably on the base paths, where his stolen base totals aren't nearly as prolific as they were five years ago. Granted, the Cardinals attempted fewer steals than almost every MLB team last season, but it goes without saying that Beltran's decline in speed coincides with his age.

He'll also be seeking a three- to four-year deal, according to Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports.

Going off his previous contracts, Beltran can be signed for $12 million to $15 million per season, which makes him a bargain in disguise given the other options available.

 

Nelson Cruz

Crasnick also reported that Seattle has shown interest in former Rangers slugger Nelson Cruz. If his reports come to fruition and the M's can land both Beltran and Cruz, they'll have one of the best offensive outfields in the majors.

 

Pros

Cruz has lots of power. Simply put, he has a big bat.

He's slugged at least 22 home runs in each season since 2009—135 in total over the last five seasons. He has definite 30-30 potential (HR+doubles) and is familiar with American League West pitching and Safeco Field, where he's hit eight homers in 48 games. Cruz is a true power hitter and would fit in as the fourth or fifth bat in the order.

Despite his attractive home run numbers, Cruz has never driven in more than 90 runs in a season and may not improve those numbers in Seattle based on the team's .306 on base percentage last season.

 

Cons

Cruz served a 50-game suspension after being linked in connection to performance-enhancing drugs related to the biogenesis investigation.

Signing a former admitted PED user never brings positive publicity, and there's no telling how many times or for how long Cruz actually juiced, so his performance may largely suffer as a result.

Cruz is a sub-par fielder. If the Mariners sign Cruz, it won't be for his defense. Yes, his value lies solely in his bat, but having a defensive liability on the field loses more games than most of us realize, and Seattle is already losing their best outfielder in Franklin Gutierrez.

 

Jhonny Peralta

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Crasnick came through with more news on the Mariners and tweeted that the club has shown increasing interest in shortstop Jhonny Peralta, while their pursuit of Jacoby Ellsbury has been "overblown." 

 

Pros

Peralta is another middle-of-the-order batter. He will slug out 20 home runs and 30 doubles and drive in runs. He'll also be rather affordable at between $6 million to $8 million per season.

Peralta can obviously also be a designated hitter if Brad Miller, a superior defensive shortstop, wins the starting job in the field.

 

Cons

Peralta's faults are the same as those of Cruz.

He is hardly a true shortstop. He has the body of a third baseman and is probably more suited to play there. He'll surprise now and then with a highlight reel play, and his defense has actually improved in recent years, but I don't think I'm alone when I say that I'm a bit nervous about trotting Peralta out to short on a regular basis.

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Also like Cruz, Peralta was suspended for 50 games for his involvement with Anthony Bosch and the biogenesis clinic. Not only is it bad PR, but spending $25 million over the course of a few years on a guy who may never play at the same level is risky for a team that hasn't made the playoffs in over a decade.

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