president Chuck Armstrong: "Last year, our player payroll budget was $94 million and it won’t be going down from that. "
Further, from Geoff Baker:
Armstrong: He and Zdurienck told owners that payroll had to hold firm or team might be forced into salary dumps and other detrimental moves.
A lot of Mariners fans won't believe it, but this organization is now prepared to take a pretty significant loss in 2011. This same organization that for years was criticized - rightly or wrongly - for just wanting to make money while putting an okay product on the field.
Of course, they'd be taking a pretty significant loss in 2011 because they feel in the long-term it's better than risking huge losses later on. It would still be, in large part, a business decision. But then, baseball's a business at its core, and the fact that the Mariners would be willing to lose money in the short-term next year to avoid forcing the front office into a difficult spot is an indication that they do have a commitment to winning as well. At least as much of a commitment as most any other ownership and management group.
As always, the problem with the Mariners has less to do with the money they have, and more to do with where that money is going.