Richard ShermanCongratulations to the Seattle Seahawks on their Super Bowl XLVIII championship, defeating the Denver Broncos 43-8 this past Sunday. The 35 point difference was the largest margin of victory since Super Bowl  XXIV in 1990, when the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Broncos by a score of 55-10. The Seahawks and the 12th man are filling the streets of Seattle this afternoon for the Victory Parade through the streets and a celebration at Century Link Field. Even Safeco Field was opened up for fans to watch the festivities as an estimated 700,000 people have joined the celebrations in Seattle today.

The Super Bowl offers a reminder that Spring Training really is just around the corner. As of today, just seven days remain until the Seattle Mariners’ pitchers and catchers report to the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona for their first workouts. Actual games don’t begin to take place until the last few days of February of course, there’s little doubt that the smell of baseball is starting to fill the air once again.

The Mariners avoided arbitration with the newly acquired Logan Morrison this week, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $1.75 million with $350 thousand in available incentives as well. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, Morrison can earn an additional $75 thousand for reaching 450 plate appearances, and an additional $100K for reaching 500 and 550 plate appearances respectively. LoMo can also earn another $75 thousand if he reaches the 600 plate appearance plateau as well. Seattle had filed a $1.1 million number for Morrison’s 2014 salary, while his camp had filed a $2.5 million number. Instead of going through the dredged arbitration process, both parties agreed to a number just under the midpoint of their exchanged figures with very reachable incentives should Morrison stay healthy and produce well this year.

Scott Baker was added to the rotation mix on a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training last week. The 32-year old will earn a base salary of $1 million if he breaks camp with the club and can earn up to $3.25 million more in incentives. Baker was rumored to have interest from several clubs this winter, but given the lack of stability and certainty in the Mariners’ rotation, there’s a good chance he’ll fill out a rotation spot for Seattle at least to begin the year. This move comes with virtually zero risk for the M’s as they have no financial obligation to Baker should he fail to make the team, and even if he were to start the season in the bullpen, a million bucks is a very small price to pay.

After being designated for assignment to make room for John Buck, outfielder Carlos Peguero was dealt to the Kansas City Royals for cash considerations. Peguero will turn 27 later this month and has shown plenty of power in the minors, but posted a .195/.242/.380 line in 219 plate appearances spread across 2011-13 with Seattle.

Earlier in January, I took a look at the notable transactions made by the Mariners in the month over the last decade. Of note: last January the M’s dealt John Jaso in a three team deal that landed them Mike Morse, while back in January of 2004, Seattle sent Carlos Guillen to the Detroit Tigers in one of the most lopsided transactions in Mariners’ history.

The New York Yankees will hold the title of biggest January transaction for 2014, and one of the biggest of the entire winter when they agreed to terms with Masahiro Tanaka on a seven-year deal. As Alex Carson notes, the $155 million owed to Tanaka is similar to what the Mariners extended Felix Hernandez for over the same age period, even though the Japanese ace has yet to throw a pitch in the major leagues. Seattle was rumored to be interested in the right hander and at one point was considered to be a favourite, but ultimately the Bronx Bombers came out on top. Tanaka can opt out of the deal after the fourth year and become a free agent, which essentially makes it a four year deal worth $88 million with the $20 million posting fee paid to his Japanese club if he decides to hit the open market at age 29.

Alex brought up some familiar names who the Mariners could turn their attention to in Ervin Santana and David Price. Although Santana’s asking price has reportedly dropped from the $100 million he was seeking at the beginning of the winter, he still remains unsigned. It’s tough to say how keen the Tampa Bay Rays are on trading Price at this point in the winter since his market has yet to heat up again now that Tanaka is signed. As Chris Moran discusses, perhaps the asking price of the Rays’ ace as well as Chicago Cubs’ ace Jeff Samardzija are still too high.

Much has been made about Taijuan Walker being the potential center piece in any trade for Price, but the ceiling of the young righty appears to outweigh the value Price can provide in the two years before he hits free agency. Chris suggests a package focussed on lower-ceiling but MLB ready players such as James Paxton and Nick Franklin or a package featuring players still in the lower minors but with very high ceilings would be more reasonable for either starter. Franklin has been a much discussed trade chip and it’s likely the M’s are more willing to listen on Paxton than they are on Walker. Seattle doesn’t quite have any high ceiling lower lever at their disposal right now, but a good season out of a guy like Tyler Pike could help change that.

I recently took a look at how the 2014 Seattle Mariners line up to the 2008 Milwaukee Brewers after Corey Hart offered a comparison of the two clubs as a reason for signing here in the offseason. Hart described the ’14 Mariners as “young and exciting” and depending on your definition of those two terms, the Mariners project to provide both this season. Like the ’08 Brew Crew, the M’s project to, once again, be among the MLB leaders in home runs by season’s end. Seattle also projects to have a relatively young team with youngsters like Walker and Paxton expected to make a push to break camp with the club. Unfortunately the Mariners lack the rotation stability the Brewers had that year, and barring huge steps forward from guys like Walker and Erasmo Ramirez, Seattle’s rotation simply isn’t good enough to contend.

In a somewhat surprising turn of events, former top Mariner prospect Vinnie Catricala has decided to walk away from the game. Alex offers some insight from an interview he had done with Catricala previously, and praised the 25-year old’s dedication to the game he loved. After struggling in 2012 and for the first half of 2013, the Mariners designated him for assignment in June and he was claimed on waivers by the Oakland Athletics. Catricala was selected in the Rule-5 draft by the Milwaukee Brewers this past December, but has instead chosen to retire and pursue a career in law enforcement. Unfortunately Catricala ends his career without making an appearance in the major leagues. The team at PI wish him nothing but the best for the future.

In another must-read piece from the past two weeks, Brendan Gawlowski details what it takes to get a job in baseball. Drawing from his own personal experience as a minor league video coordinator for the Everett Aqua Sox last summer, Brendan analyzes the process of everything from putting together a ‘baseball’ resume to developing contacts within an organization.

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  1. My buddy is a long time Reds fan. I asked him about Arroyo. He said, “you guys don’t want Arroyo!! He’s very streaky. He’ll eat some innings but he’s old and getting worse.” I’m not saying he’s dead on, but he’s always talked good baseball. I dunno, seems more like another #4 to me.

  2. The Mariners weren’t considered among the favourites for Arroyo in reports yesterday. Not that that can’t chance, but I’d say acquiring him would be unlikely at this point. He does have the ability to eat innings and is far better than Joe Saunders so at the right price he could be a welcome addition.

  3. One thing about the M’s is they NEVER leak any info. So if there are rumors about the M’s being after Cruz, they are not coming from the M’s. The guys they sign they usually are never linked to. Most of it is speculation.

    There are many reasons why Cruz doesn’t make sense and the negatives of his signing outweigh the positives, with that said, I think JZ is a smart enough guy and can come to the same conclusion when weighing the negatives and the positives of a Cruz signing.

  4. Fernando Rodney agrees with Seattle, 2/14. I feel a lot better about the bullpen now!

    Because the Cruz signing hasn’t happened, I am starting to wonder (hope) that it won’t! Maybe it was just the agent for Cruz putting the rumor out there hoping to spark interest from other clubs?

  5. I agree with you! Maybe Arroyo doesn’t want to come here?

  6. Why aren’t the M’s in on Arroyo? That is the pitcher I would be in on if I was GM. He is a prototypical #3 starter and has had success as a #2 his whole career. He won’t kill your bullpen (which is something the M’s should be striving for) and he will give you a chance to win. Yes he’s a fly ball pitcher but SafeCo negates the HR tendencies of fly ball pitchers (see Jason Vargas) and two out of the four remaining stadiums in the division negate HR tendencies of fly ball pitchers (Oakland and Anahiem). He’s pitched in a bandbox his entire career and has actually been decent his last five years, with 4 out of the 5 years posting ERA’s around 3.80 and WAR’s around 1.5. On top of all of that he has no draft pick compensation attached to him.

    Seems like a candidate that I would want to entertain to fill the #3 slot. You can’t count on Baker to do that, he’s a wildcard.

    Arroyo the Innings Eater!!
    2004: 27 starts, 178.2 innings
    2005: 32 starts, 205.1 innings
    2006: 35 starts, 240.2 innings
    2007: 34 starts, 210.2 innings
    2008: 34 starts, 200 innings
    2009: 33 starts, 220.1 innings
    2010: 33 starts 215.2 innings
    2011: 32 starts 199 innings
    2012: 32 starts 202 innings
    2013: 32 starts 202 innings

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