BY SPNW Staff 08:30AM 01/24/2013

Mariners’ Offseason Just About Over; Your Take?

Unless the Mariners unveil a miracle leaning against a lamppost in the next week or two, they are going to launch spring training with an allegedly “improved” offense consisting of four new parts, each a veteran who will be operating on a one-year contract: Raul Ibanez, Kendrys Morales, Jason Bay and Mike Morse. This is not exactly what a rapidly dwindling fan base had in mind when the Mariners closed out 2012 in last place for the sixth time in eight years.

But, hey, things happen. Or don’t happen. General Manager Jack Zduriencik attempted to negotiate several big deals over the winter in order to pump some juice into the American League’s most moribund offense, but none panned out. Josh Hamilton, a prime target, signed with the Angels, and Arizona’s Justin Upton exercised his right not to be traded to anywhere near the Space Needle.

Say this for Zdruiencik: At least he did not over-commit money to a big-time free agent.

So, for now, Ibanez, Morales, Bay and Morse are charged with pumping life into a Mariners’ offense reeking with dead flesh.

Ibanez, acquired largely because he provides leadership, will bring 41-year-old legs and a  .240 batting average from 2012 to left field. This will mark his third go-around with the Mariners, who hope he can duplicate the 19 home runs and 62 RBIs he produced for the Yankees last season.

Morales, 29, is the major hired gun. He hit .273 and banged 22 home runs with the Angels last year after missing all of 2011 while recovering from an injury (fractured lower left leg) sustained while celebrating a walk-off homer against the Mariners.

“We have been focused on adding offense this off-season, and feel that Kendrys will be a middle-of-the-order bat for us,” Zduriencik said after the Mariners acquired Morales in exchange for Jason Vargas.

“He’s a switch-hitter with power who has played, and hit, in the AL West. He’s familiar with the teams and parks and is a proven run-producer. We hate to part with Jason, and really appreciate everything he’s done for us, but we are in a situation where we had to give up talent to acquire talent.”

Bay is coming off a three-year stint with the Mets that only Jeff Cirillo could appreciate: .234 batting average and 26 home runs in 288 games. But Bay, 33, had a lot of injury issues and, if he’s healthy, who knows?

Morse is a Mariner for a second time, and cost Seattle John Jaso, its leading hitter in 2012, which actually isn’t saying much. The first time, the club couldn’t find a position for Morse, but will use him as a corner outfielder. He hit 18 home runs for the Washington Nationals last season and probably would have hit a lot more if he hadn’t been sidelined until June with a strained back muscle. In 2011, he had a breakout year, hitting .303 with 31 home runs.

“My main goal is to play every single game. I’m so excited,” said Morse. “Words can’t describe what me and my family are going through right now. Seattle is where I got my first shot,” he said. “I’m glad to be back home.”

Question is, are you happy with Zduriencik’s strategy of hiring these four veterans on one-year contracts to make presentable the 2013 offense? Comments are, of course, encouraged.






  • Tian Biao

    It was a bad offseason. The old guys might help a little, but none of them can play defense, except maybe Morales, and they all play the same slow-guy positions in the field. Plus, we now have a hole in our starting rotation, and we lost our best hitter, Jaso. That’s bad because the As are smarter than we are, and they wanted Jaso, so that says a lot. But the worst development was the unconsummated Upton deal; I’m glad it didn’t go through, but it’s very worrisome that Z was willing to do ‘the full Bavasi’ and give away the future for one guy. Obviously, he’s desperate to keep his job, and there’s nothing scarier than a must-win-now GM. (unless it’s the prospect of Noesi in the starting rotation). We’ll be lucky not to lose 90 games.

  • Geoff Kirk

    Terrible. The grab bag of washed up dh types does nothing for the team long term. They couldn’t make a deal this year and next year they will have to fill all 3 spots in the outfield. Teams will know they are even more desperate than this year. Z basically said yesterday the minor league system is so great they can both use it to fill up the pitching rotation and make trades to fill their many holes. I don’t see any light at the end of their tunnel of mediocrity.

  • Effzee

    They’ve made their bed… They need to show a serious commitment to winning in order to get winning players to want to come here. Period.

  • Justin Time

    Zdurienzik did a great job this offseason. He tried to bring in two big name guys they like but didn’t overpay. I think this is an 85 win team and if our young guys can play better we could have an interesting year. I’m more bullish than I’ve been in 6 years.

    • Michael Kaiser

      So does that mean they actually finish out of last place, or what?

  • jafabian

    Jack Z. did what he could. Hamilton most likely didn’t want to go to Seattle as that he was mostly likely warned by Adrian Beltre how Safeco Field is unkind to hitters. I don’t even treat the failed Upton trade seriously as that as Arizona getting the word out what the ceiling is to acquire him. They had no business talking to the M’s when Upton had the M’s on his no trade list.
    Management and ownership simply does not have the reputation for fans to believe that it’s high on the to do list for them to build a championship contender whick makes Zdurienik’s job that much harder. The roster is okay right now, it needs more parts and what was acquired seems more stop gap than anything else. They really need a good veteran pitcher to settle in behind Felix and a left handed long reliever and that hasn’t been done. Way too many 1B/DH types on the team right now. Surprised they didn’t go after a SS considering what a liability Ryan’s bat is. Or a leadoff hitter. Ackley should be deeper in the order.

  • Matt712

    Chemistry is a fickle mistress. What the Mariners had last year was a core group of guys (position players) with immense talent, but unrealized potential (not unlike Morse’s previous stint as a Mariner). Getting the right kind of veteran leadership could be the magic ingredient in bringing all that potential to fruition. The swagger and desire of younger players can, in turn, be revitalizing for a veteran seeking a fresh start. This is obviously the recipe Z is hoping for. Whether it comes out a souffle or a pizza crust is up to the baseball gods.

    But hey, it’s worth a shot — for the next few seasons anyway. Until they can renegotiate their cable contract, the only real hope the M’s have at being competitive is the development of their youth. After the 2015 season, (assuming the bubble hasn’t burst) they should be able to back dump trucks full of money into all-stars’ driveways with impunity. But who knows? In that time, if things work out, with a little luck, and maybe even because of this off-season, those driveways might belong to Ackley, Seager, Smoak or Montero.


    I like what they did. I don’t but into that they’ll win much more with this team but with them moving the fences in they went and got some small power guys. Nothing spectacular but it’s a start. The rest of the league will then see that this place is easier to hit then it used to be. I think over the next few years it will get easier and easier to sign FA’s to Seattle. that may not do much for Z – as he could be gone with a year or two more of whats been happening. But the word will get out and players won’t mind coming here as much as they have been.

  • CGAux26

    If I remember correctly, the Houston L’Astros will be in the same division as the Mariners. So the Mariners cannot finish in last place-that’s the home of the L’Astros.

    • Michael Kaiser

      You just watch. The Astros will leapfrog the Mariners.

  • RadioGuy

    I was glad the Upton trade didn’t go through too. He’s not the kind of guy for whom you deal both Taijuan Walker and Nick Franklin. Whew! Dodged one there.

    It wasn’t a bad offseason. We get four veteran bats with some power who’ll be good clubhouse guys and only on one-year contracts and all we lost was a starting pitcher who’s in the walk year of HIS contract and a backup catcher who’d have been out of a job once Zunino arrives in Seattle. We needed power and steadying influences, and (barring injury of Father time) we got ‘em. I’m okay with it and I don’t think Zduriencik’s done yet. If Smoak isn’t hitting his weight by May, he’s gone.

    BTW, Geoff K: Goo, is that you? This is your old roomie from Seventhflooropia.

  • maqman

    I like what they have and what they did. I’m glad they missed on Hamilton, when Wells’ albatross contract fades into the Pacific Hamilton’s will replace it, Arte is going to be paying for a whole lot of not much for many years. Pujols will spread his wings too, far before he stops pulling down eight figure paychecks. Am pleased to see Mrs. Upton’s boys reunited and Justin way far away from the Great Northwest but not in Texas. Bay is a cheap lottery ticket. Raul is a bench bat, emergency fielder and designated veteran voice. Morales is a lot better player than a lot of people appreciate and I expect good things from him. Morse doesn’t care where they put the stinking fences, he can knock them out of the Grand Canyon. What happened to all the people screaming for two BIG BATS? Hopefully they have shut up now we have them. We need a starter and maybe another cheap catcher, Z knows it and he’ll get them. They win 82 to 88 games. Get used to winning again.

  • Big

    Will the last old Mariner dude turn off the lights when he leaves. Hope is not a method.

  • one174

    “Plenty of Ordinary”