As many of you have already seen - Crasnick:
Two agents say the #are claiming they only have $3-4 million left to spend on the roster this winter.
According to one of those agents, Prince Fielder-to-Seattle speculation is "extremely overblown.''
This is really pretty simple. Last season, the Mariners had an end-of-year payroll of about $98.1 million. The season before that, it was 93.4 million. The season before that, it was 102.3 million. We've been given no indication that the Mariners are going to lower payroll in 2012. By my calculations, the Mariners currently project to have a 2012 payroll of about 78.2 million.
Give or take a million dollars. Even if you add in some or all of Hisashi Iwakuma and Brendan Ryan's incentives, it doesn't change things. The Mariners aren't limited to another $3-4 million, unless they're in the business of driving fans away faster than they already have, which I can't imagine they are.
If the Mariners are limited to another $3-4 million, which I guess isn't impossible, okay, but people wouldn't respond very well to that. In fact, a lot of them would be pissed off. The Mariners can't afford to piss people off right now. What's more likely is that the Mariners haven't been completely honest with the agents, or that the agents are trying to use the media for some selfish purpose. Baseball's big business. Honesty does not run amok. Honesty sits locked in a trunk in the attic, used when absolutely necessary, and no more often than that.
I don't know how involved the Mariners are in the Prince Fielder sweepstakes. Very few people do. The way they've conducted their offseason suggests that they're very much in the mix, but that's me speculating. Maybe the Mariners get him. Maybe they don't. Whatever the case, I have to believe the Mariners have more available money than these agents suggested. The Mariners can trim payroll, but only if they believe Safeco's seats are painted a magnificent shade of green.