Tuesday is opening of free agent season; Mariners decline two players

Seattle has five free agents. One is Raul Ibanez who will be 42 next June and while he hit .267 with 24 homers and 56 rbi before the all-star game, the second half he only hit .203, 5 homers, and 9 rbi. It could be the second half he was tired, age can do that. Oliver Perez, a lefty reliever, always a sought after commodity, had a good first half, sporting a 1.75 ERA, but in second half saw an unsporting 7.94 ERA.  Hard to know if Seattle wants either of these players back.

I am sure they will go without catcher Humberto Quintero and possibly Endy Chavez. The fifth, Seattle would like to sign, Kendrys Morales. But with a decent year at the plate and Scott Boras as an agent, he will be tough to sign. However, Morales’ options are limited as he is primarily a DH, so how many offers he gets is the question.

Mariner's Sunset

Mariner’s Sunset (Photo credit: Adventures of KM&G-Morris)

The picture above is the Good Ship Mariner coming into port, where the ship will dock and look for additional crew members, some of whom, may be shanghaied from local drinking establishments in Pioneer Square

Sailing right along, the Mariners declined options on Franklin Gutierrez, 30, because he has only played in 173 games out of the last 486 games due to injuries. Seattle can still negotiate with him. Considering how many games he missed there may not be many teams offering him a job. The Mariners could get him back cheap. He has been diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, an inflammatory problem. He is taking medication to control the problem and the thinking is the inflammatory issue may have contributed to his other health issues. For the right price, he is worth the risk, but might be better suited for a fourth outfielder or in a platoon.

Joe Saunders is the other player whose option year was declined and his contract bought out. Left handed starters may be desired, but an 11-16 record, with a 5.26 ERA and a horrid .311 batting average against make this lefty less attractive. If they want to add a veteran free agent pitcher, which they seem to do every year, they could pursue free agent pitchers like Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez, Matt Garza, or dropping down one level, Dan Haren, Bronson Arroyo, or Scott Feldman. I say pass on A.J. Burnett, but doing so makes me think that is who they would get.

What everyday free agents the Mariners will pursue is anyone’s guess. They could use a first baseman, but only Mike Napoli, James Loney, Corey Hart (knee problems) and Justin Morneau are out there. If the M’s can’t get Morneau or Napoli (unlikely) than take a pass. The free agent market is not strong for Mariners needs, and many players want to go to a team that not only can win, but one they think is in the continental United States.

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