Monday In Mariners Rumors

Homer: Kids, there's three ways to do things. The right way, the wrong way, and the Max Power way!
Bart: Isn't that the wrong way?
Homer: Yeah, but faster!

Today marks the first official day of the winter meetings. There are actually two different sets of winter meetings, with one of them having already happened, and the way people talk about it is that the first winter meetings are when plans are made for moves down the road. You can think about it like this, though: the first winter meetings are when moves aren't made. The second winter meetings are when they are.

It's funny the way we all look forward to these winter meetings, though. Yesterday, we were thinking about Mariners rumors. The day before, we were thinking about Mariners rumors. A week ago, two weeks ago, we were thinking about Mariners rumors. For the next few days, we'll be thinking about Mariners rumors, and then afterwards, we'll be thinking about Mariners rumors. In that way, nothing changes, because the winter meetings are just part of the offseason. But the winter meetings are like the offseason, faster. Rumors come faster, in greater volume. Few of them ever pan out, but there's so much to think about that it's an exciting few days, an extended block of time during which a move could be made at any moment.

With that in mind, here is a collection of things. They are current Mariners rumors, or bits that could become current Mariners rumors soon. I do this for you. Allow yourself to get swept away by your imagination. But wear floaties because you don't want to drown.

  • The Mariners are still looking to trade Chone Figgins, and they're still willing to eat money to make that happen. It's good to know that the Mariners are running with a sensible plan as opposed to a completely nonsensical plan in which they offer Figgins to another team but demand value in return, and also that the other team assumes the whole contract, as if the last two years never happened. "Yeah Chone just batted .298." "Are you sure? That doesn't sound right." "Very sure, you don't even have to check." "Why are you trying to trade him again?" A good joke for another GM to make would be agreeing to take Figgins and his whole contract if Jack Zduriencik literally ate money.

    I think the best-case scenario here, or at least the realistic best-case scenario, is that the Mariners move Figgins for one or two or three million dollars of salary relief. That's...I'd take it.

  • The Mariners have checked in on Rockies third baseman Ian Stewart, who is as obvious a trade candidate as any. The 26-year-old Stewart was once a top prospect and posted an .804 OPS in his first season in 2008, but last year he had 19 hits. He had 19 hits, and he wasn't injured. He batted .156 with Colorado, with zero home runs, and spent a lot of the summer hitting well in triple-A. On the one hand, the Rockies are frustrated and disappointed with Stewart. On the other hand, moving Stewart now would be the very definition of selling low. On the third hand, wow, look at this, a third hand! Stewart would be an intriguing pick-up, obviously, but there's a big distance between this and that, and in any case he's not really a star. He's an interesting player coming off a disaster of a season.

  • According to Jon Heyman, two people have told him the Mariners "badly want" Prince Fielder, while two other people have told him the Mariners don't have much money. Heyman characterizes this as conflicting information even though it isn't conflicting information at all. There are a ton of things I badly want but don't necessarily have the money to obtain. There are actually several tons of those things. The issue with Fielder has never been about desire - all along, it's been about money. He costs money.

  • Incidentally, the Fielder market is hard for me to figure out right now. The Rangers have said they won't be involved, but they could be involved. The Nationals have suggested they won't be involved, but they could be involved. The Blue Jays have apparently conveyed the impression that they won't be involved, but they could be involved. I don't know who the current favorite is. I don't know if there is a current favorite. If some of the potential suitors aren't suitors, that could drive down Fielder's price. But if it gets driven down low enough, some of those potential suitors will re-emerge as suitors. It's an equilibrium thing. Absolutely no idea where the Mariners stand. I suspect, as I've always suspected, that Fielder will end up too expensive.

  • ESPN New York has gotten Jack Zduriencik's latest confirmation that he will not trade Felix Hernandez, absolutely not, not even for 12 guys. It's at the point now where I actually admire these guys a little bit for being so committed to a story that just isn't there and has never been there. Keep at it, you never know! You could get the scoop!

    I also think it's possible that Zduriencik is playing games.

    Zduriencik: No, really, no.
    Cashman: Not even for Jesus Montero?
    Zduriencik: Can't do it.
    Cashman: Not even for Jesus Montero and Dellin Betances?
    Zduriencik: Can't do it.
    Cashman: Not even for Jesus Montero and Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos?
    Zduriencik: Can't do it.
    Cashman: Not even for Jesus Montero and Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos and David Robertson?
    Zduriencik: Can't do it.
    Cashman: Not even for Jesus Montero and Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos and David Robertson and Brett Gardner?
    Zduriencik: Can't do it.
    Cashman: Not even for Jesus Montero and Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos and David Robertson and Brett Gardner and Robinson Cano?
    Zduriencik: A-ha, gotcha bitch!
    Zduriencik: /presses stop recording button on handheld recording device
    Zduriencik: Accepted!

  • Ken Rosenthal says that the Phillies are very active in trying to deal Placido Polanco. They're trying to trade Polanco because - well I guess it doesn't matter to us why, but I suppose you can add Polanco to the list of short-term possibilities at third base. Polanco's under contract for one more season, and he could be appealing to a Mariners team that might not be ready to commit a job to Kyle Seager or Alex Liddi. The downside with Polanco is that he's 36 years old and hasn't been a good hitter since 2007. He's excellent in the field, but if the Mariners acquire another light hitter with a good glove the fans might burn Safeco to the ground. Or melt it to the ground, depending on Safeco's chemical composition.

  • And finally - for now - Jon Morosi says that the Mariners have interest in both Jamie Moyer and Jeff Francis, who throw their fastballs a combined 52 miles per hour. The appeal of these guys is that they'd be fits for the park, and they'd be cheap, since Moyer is old and didn't pitch last season, and Francis just posted a 4.82 ERA after posting a 5.00 ERA. Either could slide into the back of the rotation, and if it became apparent that things weren't going to work out, then by that point Danny Hultzen and/or James Paxton could be ready for a promotion. Let it be said that signing Jeff Francis would be one of the most thoroughly unexciting Major League moves the Mariners could make. Not bad. But unexciting. Soooooo unexciting.
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