Ownership gives GM Zduriencik $91 million entering 2011 season, but Bradley deal burdensome
The Seattle Mariners plan to keep their 2011 player payroll at the same level as in 2010, a source saide Thursday.
The clubs owners meeting Wednesday settled on a payroll that will be at the same level as the estimated $91 million the team spent last year. At this time a year ago, the owners dropped the payroll level by between $8-10 million, and the Mariners went on to put together the worst record in the American League at 61-101.
“The player payroll for the 2011 season will not go down, the source said Thursday.
That means the Mariners will hand general manager Jack Zduriencik a better budget to improve the team with the worst record in the American League. The money total could grow.
“Its actually pretty complicated, the source said. “A lot depends on the Bradley situation and what happens there.
That would be Milton Bradley, the Mariners left fielder, to whom the club owes $12 million for the 2011 season. That money, plus the $5.5 million the team owes to the Cubs as part of the deal that sent pitcher Carlos Silva to Chicago in the Bradley trade, is the issue.
The Mariners may well be trying to move Bradley despite claims from the Bradley camp and from new manager Eric Wedge that the head-butting between the two seven years ago in Cleveland that led to the Indians trading the outfielder is ancient history that wont figure into the 2011 season.
If he is traded, the Mariners would have to pay most of Bradleys salary, but the difference would be added to what the Mariners would have available to spend.
As it is, only about $34 million of the $91 million is uncommitted. Right fielder Ichiro Suzuki ($17 million), Bradley ($12 million), starting pitcher Felix Hernandez ($10 million), second baseman Chone Figgins ($9 million), shortstop Jack Wilson ($5 million) and center fielder Franklin Gutierrez ($4 million) are locked into contracts.