Seattle Mariners: 2014 Spring Training Preview

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Seattle Mariners: 2014 Spring Training Preview
Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

For Seattle Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik, this offseason was characteristic of the "win now" mentality. The GM has been grilled in the past for his tactics and aggressively went after the biggest free agent available in Robinson Cano and followed by adding more bats, but largely ignored pitching and defense.

Of course, a new skipper is in town after Eric Wedge was relieved of his duties. Former Pittsburgh Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon was brought in to replace Wedge and begin a new era of Seattle Mariners baseball, which will also begin next season with a new president and COO, former executive VP of finance and ballpark operations Kevin Mather who replaced the recently retired Chuck Armstrong.

The Mariners made another free agent splash when they signed veteran closer Fernando Rodney last week, and it appears he'll be the front-runner to take over the closer role that was relinquished by Tom Wilhelmsen last season.

Here's a complete rundown of this offseason's acquisitions:

Note: Acquisitions include players who have prior major league experience.

Player Position Age Contract
Scott Baker P 32 Minor League***
Joe Beimel P 36 Minor League**
Willie Bloomquist 2B 36 2yr/$5.8M
John Buck C 33 1yr/$1M*
Robinson Cano 2B 31 10yrs/$240M
Endy Chavez OF 36 Minor League**
Cole Gillespie OF 29 Minor League**
Franklin Gutierrez OF 30 1yr/$1M*
Corey Hart OF/1B 31 1yr/$6M*
Logan Kensing P 31 Minor League**
Logan Morrison1 OF 26 1yr/$1.75M*
Matt Palmer P 34 Minor League**
Humberto Quintero C 34 Minor League**
Ramon Ramirez P 32 Minor League**
Fernando Rodney P 36 2yrs/$14M*
Mark Rogers P 28 Minor League**

*: performance bonuses included in contract

**: player was invited to spring training

***: player was invited to spring training AND has performance bonuses included in contract

1: player was acquired via trade

As you can see, there are a lot of ages in the 30s in the chart. The Mariners certainly didn't get any younger, but also don't have many large contract obligations for the foreseeable future.

The addition of Cano will, at the very least, raise the excitement level surrounding this team exponentially and increase a home attendance that was fifth worst in the American League last year. Ideally for Cano and the Mariners, he won't suffer a slump similar to those had by Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton following their mega-deals. He makes this team much better and while he alone can't make Seattle a contender, he at least gives them another superstar to build around for the next decade.

Bringing back Franklin Gutierrez and Endy Chavez gives the outfield much more depth. While Gutierrez's health is in doubt, he's was phenomenal when healthy last season and was signed for the right price.

Hart is another guy who's recovering from an injury but is a proven slugger. Having him in the outfield or at DH will give Cano some protection in the lineup and a potential 30-homer/95-RBI bat.

John Buck and Humberto Quintero figure to both make the roster in some regard. One will be Mike Zunino's backup, the other most likely in the minor leagues as a potential injury call-up.

Rodney is an interesting signing. He had one great season (2012) but has otherwise been an average relief pitcher. He definitely fills a role Seattle needed to fill, but it seemed as if Zduriencik was enticed by the big name.

 

Losses

Below are all the players who won't be rejoining the Mariners this season.

Player Position New Team
Henry Blanco C Arizona Diamondbacks
Carter Capps RP Miami Marlins
Raul Ibanez OF Los Angeles Angels
Kendrys Morales 1B None
Carlos Peguero OF Kansas City Royals
Oliver Perez P None
Joe Saunders SP None

The biggest loss on this list is undoubtedly Kendrys Morales. Though he's yet to be picked up by another team, there's been little news regarding a return to Seattle, especially with the addition of Hart.

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports  Morales and the Pittsburgh Pirates have mutual interest in one another, but signing him would cost the Bucs the 25th overall pick in June's draft.

Oliver Perez was an effective piece in Seattle's bullpen last season and could be used again this year. The latest report from Fox Sports 1's Jon Morosi is that Perez is "very close" to a deal with an undisclosed team. The Nationals and Padres have shown some interest this winter, but grumblings on the veteran southpaw have been mostly quiet.

Next slide: Injury updates.

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