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Volume 25 No. 216
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Mariners Still Determining How To Best Use Influx Of New Cash

Robinson Cano's blockbuster trade to the Mets will give the Mariners some salary relief
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The Mariners have made several trades this offseason that will provide them with "significant salary relief," but it remains to be seen what the team will "do with that money," according to Corey Brock of THE ATHLETIC. Mariners Exec VP & GM Jerry Dipoto said, "The payroll we’ve been able pull back will better be repurposed when we get to our open window. We didn’t really make the 2019 team considerably cheaper ... but we made the 2021 and 2022 teams considerably more flexible." Brock noted while the Mariners' fan base was probably prepared for the trade that packaged 2B Robinson Cano and P Edwin Diaz and were "generally accepting of the package" the Mariners got back, the deal that sent SS Jean Segura and two pitchers to the Phillies for 1B Carlos Santana and SS J.P. Crawford "raised eyebrows because it gave the appearance of a salary dump." It is possible that ownership was "uncomfortable with the plateau payroll reached" in '18 -- the "highest mark in franchise history." It is "certainly plausible that Dipoto was asked to do what he could to lower payroll" in advance of '19. The team’s season-ending payroll in '18 ($167M) is "only a bit ahead of today’s projected Opening Day lineup" for '19 ($140M) (THEATHLETIC.com, 12/5). In Seattle, Ryan Divish notes Dipoto has now made "five major trades this offseason and there is an expectation more will be made in the coming weeks." It is "impossible to imagine Dipoto being done with this roster reset and makeover" (SEATTLE TIMES, 12/6). 

ADDRESSING THE ISSUES: The AP's Ronald Blum noted MLBers are concerned the Mariners have "become yet another rebuilding team and may be joined by others following a season of steep attendance drops among clubs that faded early and never contended for the playoffs." The Mariners' trades have "raised concern among players already angered" by the Orioles, White Sox, Reds, and others "jettisoning veterans." MLBPA Exec Dir Tony Clark said, "We have seen some things that are eerily similar to last offseason. One of the concerns in general has to do with the level of competition or interest in competition across the teams in general. ... When you have teams who are as we've seen already moving considerable amounts of their roster and/or other teams who are talking about doing so, it raises concerns about how that's going to affect the market." Following Clark's comments, the D-backs dealt 1B Paul Goldschmidt to the Cardinals for prospects, perhaps "signaling an exodus of veterans from the desert." Meanwhile, Blum noted attendance has "gotten the attention" of both the league and players union. The Blue Jays and Marlins each had "attendance drops of more than 800,000," the Royals by over 500,000, and the Orioles, Tigers, Pirates and Rangers in "excess of 400,000." Clark: "We have teams ... talking about a three-, four-, five-, six-year plans. We saw how that manifested itself last year and have concerns about how it's going to manifest itself this year" (AP, 12/5).