There was a flurry of trades and free agents signings, but lately it is quiet, too quiet, like the those old westerns where the cavalry is pinned down after an Indian attack and they are waiting for it to begin again. It is always quitter before the storm they say.
It could be teams are waiting to see who lands the 25 year old pitcher from Japan, Masahiro Tanaka, who was 24-0 with an ERA of 1.27 last season. Teams post $20 million then negotiate a deal with Tanaka and his agent Casey Close. The Mariners are rumored to be interested, but truthfully nearly every team is, and after spending $240 million on Robinson Cano, it is doubtful they are willing to overspend for a pitcher when they need more bats in the lineup. Tanaka could end up in New York with fellow countryman, Ichiro Suzuki, and the Yankees never let money stand in the way.
Teams have until January 24, 2014, to sign him. If his agent is smart he will delay as long as possible to make the bidding go higher. He is 99-35 with a 2.30 ERA in seven seasons with 8.5 K’s per nine innings. He has given up 0.5 home runs in his career, but they have smaller stadiums in Japan and not many sluggers. Still he has won 28 straight games and puts up impressive numbers.
If Seattle is looking for a pitcher there are still quality starters available. Matt Garza, Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez, Bronson Arroyo, and A.J. Burnett, though the latters record in post season play, like the Titanic, is a disaster. Need a bat? Nelson Cruz is still out there. The Mariners should fill out the team with free agents and trades rather than paying what is sure to be an ungodly amount of money for one pitcher.
In recent statements Trader Jack, the Mariners intrepid GM, has hinted they might not be signing anymore free agents. Perhaps he is still working the trade lines. I can not believe they are done, but spring training is little more than six weeks away and if teams are waiting to see if they can land Tanaka, the window to sign any free agents still left will be small. So Jack, forget Tanaka, think Jimenez, think Cruz, think trades, think of something other than Tanaka bobble head night.