FOXSPORTS.com's Ken Rosenthal reports Mariners officials "are signaling to certain agents and others in the industry that the team is near its payroll limit, though certain exceptions may be made for the right player." If the Mariners "are done spending" following the signing of 2B Robinson Cano, "then the only thing that can be said about their plan is that there was no plan at all." It appeared that the Mariners' signing of him "was an attempt to regain credibility, rekindle a dormant, disgruntled fan base." The Mariners "need to keep going," otherwise, the team "will risk wasting the early years of Cano's contract, which coincide with the final years of his prime" (FOXSPORTS.com, 12/19).
NATS TO KEEP CHIEFS: The Nationals yesterday announced that the team has signed a "four-year affiliation extension with the new management" of the Triple-A Int'l League Syracuse Chiefs. In Syracuse, Lindsay Kramer notes the Nationals' "current pact with Syracuse" runs through the '14 season. The longer deal "came at the request" of Chiefs President Bill Dutch. A big part of the Nationals' "comfort level with sinking deeper roots in Syracuse stems from the hiring" of new Chiefs GM Jason Smorol and his staff, a "turnover that helped eased concern about Syracuse's long-term viability." The Chiefs "lost almost" $1M in '13 (Syracuse POST-STANDARD, 12/19).
LASHING OUT: Grizzlies Dir of Player Personnel & Basketball Development Stu Lash said of team GM Chris Wallace, "Chris is still part of the organization, maybe not as much on a day-to-day basis as he was." In Memphis, Geoff Calkins writes, "The truth is, Wallace is only a part of the organization in the sense that he continues to draw a check," as he "doesn't go into the office and he isn't consulted on moves" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 12/19).
SIXERS SYNERGY: In Newark, Eliot Shorr-Parks noted the 76ers "sent an email recently to their season ticket holders, asking if they wanted to buy" Devils tickets. Josh Harris owns both teams. The e-mail was "selling tickets" to the Devils-Rangers outdoor game at Yankee Stadium on Jan. 26. The e-mail stated the offer is" available exclusively for Sixers Season Ticket Holders" until tomorrow (NJ.com, 12/18).