Last Updated on November 24, 2014 by Jason A. Churchill

On Monday morning, word broke from Yahoo’s Jeff Passan that the Seattle Mariners and third baseman Kyle Seager were nearing a seven-year, $100 million contract extension. There is also reportedly an option year, worth up to $20 million with escalators. Such a deal would keep the recent Gold Glove winner manning the hot corner Seattle through his age 34 season.

Saturday night, Jason A. Churchill and I discussed a potential Seager extension on The Hot Stove Report, a new weekly podcast produced for With reports swirling about a potential five-year deal looming for Pablo Sandoval with the Boston Red Sox, we discussed how that may alter talks between the M’s and Seager’s representatives. We also talked about the importance to lock up Seager now, before the budding star has a chance to dip his toes in the free agency waters. The closer he gets, his leverage is likely to only increase.

This is nothing short of a tremendous deal for both sides. The Mariners lock up one of their own at a reasonable rate over the long term, while Seager will earn more money over his early arbitration years. And neither side has to go through the potentially relationship-straining process provided by those arbitration hearings. Seattle also buys out the first four years of Seager’s free agency years, giving them one less position to fill moving forward.

There’s always risk when you’re talking about this kind of money, but Seager’s skill set is not one conducive to falling off the proverbial cliff — especially not anytime soon. Entering his age 27 season, Seager is entering what is typically the prime for most players at the plate. As long as his defense remains sound for the next several seasons, his value can increase as he fills into a more complete hitter at the plate. Also, should the club surround him with another good hitter or two, there should be less pressure on Seager to be “the guy” hitting behind second baseman Robinson Cano, allowing him to just focus on being his best.

Tune in this afternoon to the Steve Sandmeyer show on 1090 The Fan, and The Hot Stove Report this Saturday,  for more analysis of the deal.



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    I think the understanding is that the M’s wouldn’t move an Iwakuma unless they had something else lined up or completed. Trading Paxton or Walker or even Elias in a deal for a bat now is much more likely. Iwakuma is less risky in 2015 than those three are, presumably.

    Craig is actually a good candidate for a bounce-back season. He’s by no means a superstar, but get him back to full health and he can be a fairly regular player.

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    If you’re Seattle, do you really risk waiting until the trade deadline to add a bat? I don’t want to be the guy who says games in April mea the same as ones in September, but the M’s need to ENTER the season with the offense at least patched up. The pitching staff is going to regress, and betting that Ackley, Jackson, Saunders, Morrison, Miller, and Taylor all have average or better offensive seasons is too risky.

    I completely agree with your point on adding to the rotation. My stance this offseason has been an upgrade is an upgrade is an upgrade. If Jack Z feels the best thing to do is to add a front-line rotation arm and a couple modest offensive upgrades, then I’m all for it.

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    Bruce has his merits, but he doesn’t solve the M’s need for a right-handed bat. I’m not much of a stickler for the LH/RH thing, but the M’s were miserable against left-handed pitching last year. Also think CIN makes a call on their pitching rotation before they move Bruce.

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    Regardless of what the M’s do, I’m thinking that now is the time to load up on starting pitching.

    We have some good talent on the roster in Paxton, Walker, Elias, and Ramirez. However, only Felix and Kuma have long track records. And we don’t have much else coming up in the minors soon.

    Right now, Lester, Scherzer, and Shields are the elite guys, plus there are solid mid-rotation types in McCarthy, Liriano, Santana, Maeda, Peavy, Hammel, Volquez, and Anderson. Thats a shitload of free agent depth. Plus there are tons of starters on the trade market – including some elite guys like Hamels and Cueto.

    The market this year is flush with arms, super weak in bats. I know the M’s are focused on RH power, but it might be best to add to their strength – starting pitching – then look for value and more modest upgrades in position players. It wouldn’t be the worst idea to schmooze Lester and McCarthy, then potentially make a move from their pitching depth later on. Pitchers always net a great price at the trade deadline, so the M’s would be in a good position to add a position player mid-season.

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    The one we need to all talk about is not Cespedes and not Upton. It is Jay Bruce who is under cheap control through 2017 and he is 27 years old. Walker and 2 minor league prospects and get it done. If your doing a trade that is the one. Otherwise hold on to the young arms.. and sign Tomas now that is a solid OF.

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    Cespedes strikes out a lot, he has had a low OBP the last few years, and he doesn’t have a good clubhouse reputation. His career splits are pretty even and he’s a right-handed hitter and all, but I’m not sure that makes him worth trading our #2 SP to get. I would not do an Iwakuma-for-Cespedes trade unless the M’s signed one of Lester/Shields/Scherzer first, and even then I’d be hesitant. If we’re going to trade with the Red Sox, I think we should be selective, and not just acquire Yoenis Cespedes just because we can. There may be better options.

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    I have to laugh when I see things like Allen Craig is done because he had one injury riddled down year. It was just last offseason that people wanted Allen Craig as a primary target. Frankly, I think he is very good buy low target and he fits a need on our team.

    Also, there is no way that the Mariners are trading Iwakuma AND either of Walker/Paxton in the same deal to get Cespedes and peripheral parts. JBJ has not shown he can hit at the major league level and if acquired would likely start in AAA as insurance should Austin Jackson not improve this year. I would think that if we traded Iwakuma it would be for Cespedes and another piece…perhaps we’d include a bullpen arm or something but its not going to be two impact players coming from us.

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    I would be more than a little bit cautious about trading away any starting pitching. ESPECIALLY our #2 guy. We hardly have depth there. And free agency is such a crapshoot. Banking on getting a Lester, Sherzer etc. if we traded Walker or Paxton AND Kuma? Scary proposition. And, IMO, Allen Craig is close to done. Not at ALL excited about him. Would love Bogaerts, Bradley etc.

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    Based on what is out there. Hanley would be in the OF with Bo., leaving Bogearts at SS. I am on the Tomas band wagon and it most likely would take a 7 year 115Mill to get him to come to Seattle.

    Bos doesn’t need Saunders they.Have 15 guys in the OF But, Iwakuma to Boston makes a ton of sense, and you could get some solid talent back. But Iwakuma would be a fall back trade for Boston if they don’t get Hamels.

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    There has been rumors for nearly 2 weeks about an Iwakuma/Saunders for Cespedes/JBJ trade. I would love to see that trade come together.

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    And by the way, I’d call the Red Sox right about how. They have a HUGE glut of hitters right now:

    Hanley Ramirez and Xander Bogaerts at SS
    Pablo Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez, and Will Middlebrooks at 3B
    OFers Yoenes Cespedes, Shane Victorino, Rusney Castillo, Mookie Betts, Adam Craig, and Jackie Bradley Jr.
    Adam Craig and Mike Napoli at 1B
    David Ortiz at DH

    Thats is RIDICULOUS depth. They simply can’t fit all those players on their roster. Even better: many of those players are RH hitters. Obviously, it will depend on what they do with Ramirez. If he stays in the infield, the Red Sox will still have a glut of outfielders and no place to play Bogaerts.

    The guys that interest me the most on that list are Bogaerts, Craig, and Bradley. All three are talented, but coming off poor seasons. Maybe a mega-deal? Iwakuma and Paxton/Walker? Worth considering.

    The Red Sox are a great trade matchup for the M’s right now, especially if the M’s were to dip into the starting pitching market. If they made Iwakuma available, or were willing to deal some of our younger arms, there could be a match for a big trade.

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    Good for Kyle! Its nice to see the team locking up a home grown player.

    Its looks like a great value for the M’s. I’m interested to see how the contract breaks down, but it looks pretty favorable compared to the deals just signed by Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez. Those two just signed for 4-5 years, and 18mil/20mil respectively. I’d imagine that he’ll get a bigger salary in the next three years, then be quite affordable for the four free agent years they just bought out. Assuming he continued to play at a high level, those arbitration years probably would have been worth 30 million total. So, essentially, the M’s just signed him for 4/70 mil, which is less than Sandoval just signed for.

    Seager is a better player than Sandoval, and is comparable to Ramirez (less volatile, less risk, better D, but less offensive upside). The M’s just got a good deal. And they locked up a core member of the club for the rest of his prime years.

    Nice move Jack. And congrats to Kyle, who is now set for life.

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    With the bats that are4 off the board. It would be smart for the M’s to Go after Tomas and maybe now consider Kang. The M’s need bats and to keep there core young arms. For every 4 young arms 1 may make it you cant afford to just deal those away. Keep what young talent you got hoard it and spend on your holes. Kand is a second baseman but I am sure if the money is right and he is as athletic as people say he can be moved to another position. And Tomas is YOUNG and a huge power bat.

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