With the winter meetings ending yesterday and the Seattle Mariners having done nothing it raises the question yet again for the fans, are we seriously going to have to sit back and watch six more months with our team struggling to score runs and win games?
Prince Fielder is obviously the largest free agent remaining with the Angels taking Albert Pujols off the market yesterday, and the Mariners are said to be in the race for Prince. To me, that's too big of a risk financially for Seattle, and that's if stingy ownership allows GM Jack Zduriencik the extra money to make an offer. If a heavenly miracle did strike down and ownership allowed Zduriencik some extra cash, spending it all on one player may not be the right answer.
With all of that being said, who is left? Well there are always trades that can be made, but it is often preached by Zduriencik that he will not part easily with his young talent and obviously that's what it would take to land a veteran leader. So, back we look at the free agent market and who is remaining.
I will start with my favorite guy left on the board, Michael Cuddyer. Cuddyer has been a Minnesota Twin his entire career starting in 2001. The pressure has been heavy the last few years on Cuddyer to perform with injuries to All-Star sluggers Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. He responded by hitting a career high .284 with 20 home runs. The fact that he responded so well to that pressure shows me that he can handle the pressure in Seattle of being the man relied upon to drive in runs in the middle of a weak and non-threatening lineup. The one downside he has in terms of coming to Seattle would be that he swings from the right side. To me, this would be a guy who could add some pop in the middle of your lineup in terms of a gap to gap hitter with RBI potential.
Another guy the Mariners could look at, especially if they part ways with their current stud third baseman Chone Figgins, is Aramis Ramirez. Although Ramirez could be said to be getting up there in age, he still hit 26 home runs and drove in 93 last year while posting a .306 average in 149 games. This would be a guy I think you could get for a reasonable price with minimal years to protect yourself from his age. To me, his age and health isn't that big of an issue because you could protect him having him DH and since 2001 he's only played less than 130 games two times. Yet again, another righty, but if you're talking of moving the fences in for Prince you might as well move them in for a guy like this as well.
There are some other aged players who are available such as Carlos Beltran, Johnny Damon, Vlad Guerrero and former Mariner Raul Ibanez. I wouldn't be opposed to them going after a guy like Beltran because I feel like he's got some years left if he could DH, the same could be said for Raul as well. Throwing Johnny Damon into that mix isn't a bad idea either. Damon is a lefty that brought Tampa some pretty good production last year playing 150 games hitting 16 home runs and driving in 73.
All three of those guys could be signed for a reasonable price and low years, as they are looking to extend their careers. Like I said before, rather than giving $250 million to Prince, break that up and give it to three of these guys to add some veteran leadership and a decent bat capable of driving in runs to your lineup. The best way to mold all of this young talent is to surround them with a proven leader and give them a taste of success.