Seattle Mariners: Power Ranking Offseason Signings, Trades so Far
The Seattle Mariners have cooled off a bit after making headlines earlier this winter, signing marquee free agent Robinson Cano and adding former All-Star Corey Hart.
There's still work to be done in the outfield and the pitching staff, but general manager Jack Zduriencik has put the Mariners in a position to continue to improve their young talent and surround it with proven star power.
The power rankings are based on the player's overall value, his contract and what was lost if acquired via trade.
Carter Capps to Miami for Logan Morrison
Carter Capps and Logan Morrison are both young and unproven—a pro and a con of the deal. The low-risk, high-reward potential of the trade makes it good for both sides, and Morrison provides some versatility with a good bat and the ability to play multiple positions. (Although he has no business playing outfield.)
After a promising start to his big-league career, Capps was inconsistent last year, giving up a ton of hits (11.1 per nine innings) and had an ERA plus of 67. Capps was good for strikeouts, but overall he wasn't a reliable reliever.
That being said, he's 23 and joining a Marlins team that's rebuilding. He'll have a chance to develop and immediately be integrated into Miami's pitching staff.
Morrison has pop and can fit nicely into the designated hitter role. His career offensive WAR is 3.5 while his defensive WAR is minus-5.8, so he should be used sparingly in the field. But he still provides a sub at first base and the outfield. His playing time figures to be dependent on Corey Hart's health and Justin Smoak's status at the start of the season.
Signed Corey Hart, 1 Year, $6 Million
Corey Hart is recovering from a pair of knee surgeries, putting the success of his future in question. He has a ton of power and hit 30 home runs in his most recent full season, so if he can stay healthy and produce at close to that level, the Mariners will have gotten a steal.
The deal isn't particularly risky, but Hart fills a roster position that could have been occupied by a true outfielder. He and Morrison offer virtually the same production defensively, and Hart creates an even larger logjam at the first base/DH spot.
Hart has the potential to be a huge contributor in Seattle behind Robinson Cano in the lineup, and he isn't getting paid enough to make anyone feel like they have to play him. Overall, a smart signing.
Signed Willie Bloomquist, 2 Years, $5.8 Million
Jack Zduriencik may have overpaid for Willie Bloomquist a bit, but at the end of the day he's a solid, scrappy, dependable, highly versatile player. Although not ideal, Bloomquist could end up rounding out the outfield, but most likely he'll play his usual 85 games as a utility man.
Bloomquist's value extends beyond the field and into the clubhouse, as he's the oldest player on the roster at 36. He's also familiar with the organization and Safeco Field, so the adjustment period should be brief and seamless.
Plus, bench depth is less vital with Bloomquist around. He's a guy that can play every day at any position.
Signed Franklin Gutierrez, 1 Year, $1 Million
Bringing back Franklin Gutierrez was risky given his injury history, but to sign him for one year at $1 million is a perfect deal.
There's no long-term commitment, no exorbitant salary obligation—all in all another low-risk, high-reward signing by Zduriencik.
When Guti is healthy, he's one of the best all-around outfielders in the league. Last season he seemed to break out every time he came off the DL, only to return a short time later.
Gutierrez is the all-important anchor to an outfield that's still a work in progress. The only downside to his steal of a contract is that if he does stay healthy, Seattle could be intrigued to bring him back for a longer duration and for a bigger price tag.
Signed Robinson Cano, 10 Years, $240 Million
Okay, so Cano's contract is ridiculous. It's for too many years, too much money and for a team that didn't need a second baseman.
However, signing Cano has been the most important acquisition Zduriencik has made this offseason.
Other than being one of the best offensive talents in the game, Cano is a proven, likable winner who plays with a lot of swagger and will instantly be loved by Mariners fans. Fans will actually attend home games and improve a second-to-worst 45.4 percent home attendance from last season.
Obviously the M's have a long way to go in terms of building a contending ball club, but Cano is a good start. Locking him down with Felix Hernandez gives Seattle tremendous star power that has an extremely high ceiling with Kyle Seager, Taijuan Walker, Mike Zunino and Nick Franklin waiting to break out.
Signing Cano long-term gives the aforementioned players a chance to develop and turn the Mariners into a winning organization. It's a small start, but it's a start.