There’s still a few holes to fill
The first shot fired was just a pop gun snapping saying, “Hey, we just signed utility man Willie Bloomquist.” The second shot was fired from a cannon and one heard all throughout the Bronx when the M’s landed Robinson Cano.
The Mariners sailed on and landed Logan Morrison and Corey Hart. Following that, they re-signed Franklin Gutierrez and announced three minor league signings that come with MLB Spring Training invites — outfielder Cole Gillespie, along with righties Matt Palmer and Ramon Ramirez.
Right now, the rumors are swirling big time that the M’s could be on the verge of acquiring Japanese phenom starter Masahiro Tanaka. Even if Tanaka does sign in Seattle, there are spots on this roster that still need help — most notably they likely need a veteran to help in the catching department.
Also, the bullpen looks shaky unless substantial improvements are made in the way of a closer and a guy or two who can set up that closer.
You could argue that the recent signings of Ramirez and Palmer are the guys destined to help in the bullpen, but I think that’s a big gamble. Ramirez threw just over five innings all of last season, so he is a big question mark. Palmer did not pitch at all in 2013, so again, he’s a huge question mark.
The pickings are getting mighty thin at the catcher position on the free agent listings page. Your choices range from Yorvit Torrealba to bringing back Henry Blanco. This is a position where the Mariners might be able to pull off a trade to fill their need.
Hector Sanchez is currently a backup catcher in San Francisco. He’s hit .267 in his three seasons as the backup backstop for the Giants. The Giants have been rumored to be looking for outfielders, and the M’s have at least one extra at this point. A deal could be worked out here without too much trouble.
The problem you have in trying to deal for late-inning relievers is that EVERYONE needs late-inning relievers. It starts coming down to how much are you willing to part with to get a great relief arm because it’s a seller’s market.
Saunders and Miller, even together, likely don’t bring in a top flight guy to your bullpen. It might take a bigger name and Seattle shouldn’t be afraid to look at trading Dustin Ackley.
There was great chatter earlier in the offseason between the Yankees and Mariners involving Dustin Ackley. The M’S quickly announced Ackley was not available, but this is a situation where it might be time to roll the dice if you are GM Jack Zduriencik.
There are a couple of Yankee bullpen names that catch my eye: Preston Claiborne and David Huff. If the Yankees really want Ackley, why not throw these names against the wall and see what sticks?
The Mariners don’t need Ackley at second, seeing as Cano will play there. You have Gutierrez, Almonte and Saunders, all of whom can play center if Ackley is shipped out.
Give it a shot, Mr. Z, or the M’s might well end up losing a lot of leads after the seventh inning in 2014.