Mariners Insider

Archives: Jan. 2010

Jan.
29th

M’s sign OF Eric Byrnes to a 1-year contract

GM Jack Zduriencik said in yesterday’s pre-spring training luncheon that he was going to sign a right-handed bat. He followed through today, signing right-handed hitting outfielder Eric Byrnes to a 1-year contract.

“We think Eric is a great fit for our team,” Zduriencik said in the press release. “He is a high-energy player with a veteran presence. We look forward to him competing for a spot on our roster when spring training starts.”

Byrnes, who will turn 34 on Feb. 16, is a career .260 hitter with 189 doubles, 30 triples, 109 home runs, 396 RBI and 128 steals in

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Jan.
29th

Adios to Miguel Batista

It’s time to bid goodbye to Miguel Batista, who signed a minor league contract today with the Washington Nationals with an invite to spring training. This is no surprise. I had a better chance of signing with the M’s than he did.

He’ll join manager Jim Riggleman, bench coach John McLaren and utility player Mike Morse — all former Mariners in DC.

Batista came to Seattle in 2007, signing a three-year, $25 million contract. In three seasons, he appeared 152 games, starting 52 games, finishing with a 27-29 record with a 4.84 ERA and two saves. Last season,

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Jan.
28th

Ten things from the 30th annual Mariners pre-spring training luncheon

AP photo

AUDIO: Here’s my extended appearance with Ian Furness. He mentions it on here, but I will also be co-hosting a show with Ian and Jason Puckett from Mariners Fanfest on Sunday from 1 to 3 on KJR.

Instead of transcribing the whole press conference, I figured I’d give you 10 things I took away from today’s luncheon, in no particular order of importance.

1. The Mariners theme for the 2010 season is:   “Believe Big”

Not sure if they’ve been talking to Greg Oden. But anyway, it’s not bad. It sort of incorporates manager Don Wakamatsu’s mantra of a “belief system.” I was a little disappointed that Wak only used “belief system” twice today. But he did say he wasn’t going to use it as much, probably because we used to joke about it privately and of course he found out. I think would I have liked the whole belief system. Like Mariners baseball: “a belief system for success,”  Or how about: “a postseason belief system” or “we have a belief  in our belief system.”

2. Ken Griffey Jr. isn’t expected to be just a clubhouse mascot..

He isn’t going to be some emotional team leader or clubhouse cheerleader. He’s on the 25-man roster and Wakamatsu expects him to play. How much? Well, Wakamatsu was asked about easing Griffey into playing time and how much he will play and here’s his response …

“I think we are going to go similar to what we did last year. Let’s ease him into it, but when he can play he is going be in there.”

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Jan.
28th

Randy Johnson will throw out first pitch at Mariners home opener

I’ll have a bigger wrap up from today’s spring luncheon in a little bit. I’m actually at Jimmy’s on First where I’m getting ready to do radio with Ian Furness and Jason Puckett on 950 KJR to talk about the M’s. You can stream it live here.

One of the last things they announced at the 30th annual pre spring training luncheon was that Randy Johnson will be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before the M’s home opener on April 12 against the Oakland A’s.

Will he throw Mr. Snappy? Can we put a radar gun on it?

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Jan.
27th

Zduriencik receives Rube Foster 2009 AL executive of the year award

Seattle Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik earned some well-deserved  kudos today when he was named as the recipient of the 2009 Andrew “Rube” Foster American League Executive of the Year. Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd won the Foster Award for the National League.

Zduriencik will receive the honor on Saturday at the 10th annual Legacy Awards held at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City. The Legacy Awards honor the top performers in major league baseball.

Here’s a full list of their award winners.

“This is a tremendous honor, and I will accept it on behalf of the

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Jan.
26th

Two more free agents off the board: Sheets to A’s, Nady to Cubs

I’ll post this quickly and add to it when more details come out.

But RHP Ben Sheets has signed a one-year contract with the Oakland A’s. As late as yesterday afternoon, it appeared that the Mariners, A’s and Rangers all figured to be the finalists in the bidding for Sheets.

It’s being reported by SI’s Jon Heyman that Sheets’ contract is one-year deal for $10 million, with performance bonuses. I don’t know that Seattle would have given up that kind of money.

How interested were the Mariners? No one is certain. I asked GM Jack Zduriencik about it last

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Jan.
22nd

Zduriencik speaks about the Mariners’ payroll assumptions

As we wrapped up the press conference for Cliff Lee today, GM Jack Zduriencik addressed recent speculation about the team’s payroll and remaining money.

I don’t know if he was addressing anyone specific. I know it wasn’t me because I’m smart enough to know that I’m way too stupid to even try to attempt such a mathematical feat.

But here is Jack’s statement …

Just one other comment aside from this …

I’ve been getting a lot of questions and I thought I would take it head on – a lot of phone calls and e-mails in regards

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Jan.
22nd

Must-read: Jack Zduriencik Q and A with Baseball Prospectus

Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik did a Q & A with David Laurila of Baseball Prospectus. It’s very candid, well as much as Jack will allow it to be. But it touches on a lot of things and pretty interesting.

Here’s a bit of it …

DL: Talking about the advancement of defensive metrics, Bill James recently said, “The only difference between our ability to evaluate defense and offense, at this point, is confidence.” Do you agree with that?

JZ: Well, Bill James is a hell of a lot smarter than I am and he’s got an enormous amount more experience

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