The shakeup has begun on the Mariner roster.
The Mariners declined options on three veterans, Jose Lopez, Erik Bedard, and Russell Branyan. That does mean they are gone. The M’s can still negotiate with them. But. . .
Branyan struggled in his second go round with Seattle, hitting .215 with 15 homers and spent time on the DL the past two seasons with back problems. Bedard, a quality starter, has been injury plagued in Seattle missing half of 2009 and all of last season with a bum shoulder. It is unlikely either will be back, though they could try to sign Bedard if he would take a pay cut.
Lopez is more interesting. In 2009 he looked like a star, hitting .272 with 25 homers and 96 rbi’s, but last season fell off dramatically, hitting .239 with 58 rbi’s and 10 homers. He played third this season to accommodate Chone Figgins at second. He made 18 errors, started 29 double plays, and led major league third basemen with 332 assists. Good defensive numbers. But the M’s may let him go just to “make a change” as many teams do. Ackley is on fire in the Arizona Fall league, so Figgins could move to third where he played for the Angels and Ackley plays second. But with Lopez eligible for salary arbitration they can negotiate a new contract.
There were other moves yesterday.
Brian Sweeney who split time between Seattle and Tacoma, with a 3.16 e.r.a in 24 games was picked up on waivers by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Five players were outrighted to Tacoma. Light hitting outfielder Ryan Langerhans and catcher Guillermo Quiroz (not Quiznos) refused their assignment and are now free agents. Thanks for the memories, faint and wispy though they were. Left handed pitcher Chris Seddon and right handed Sean White were also outrighted and can become free agents if they choose as can Ryan Feierabend who also was outrighted to Tacoma.
The moves are the first of many. We will see what surprises Trader Jack has for us this off season as the M’s bring on board new sailors to the good ship Mariner.