Price may not be right for Mariners

bob.dutton@thenewstribune.comDecember 12, 2013 

ORLANDO, Fla. — The likelihood of a trade sending Tampa Bay ace David Price to Seattle took a hit Wednesday when his agent, Bo McKinnis, rejected the idea of negotiating a contract extension with the Mariners.

McKinnis’ statement caused such a flap that Price moved to re-state his stance later in the day in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times.

“I’m open-minded to anything,” Price told the Times. “Guess it depends on where I go — where is it and are they winning?”

The Mariners and Dodgers had been viewed as among of the top possibilities in the Rays’ search to trade Price, whose salary is moving beyond their means. He is eligible for arbitration after making $10.1125 million in 2013.

Any team that acquires Price will control him for two years before he gains eligibility for free agency. The possibility of a negotiated extension, prior to a deal, would make it more palatable for a club to surrender top prospects.

Tampa Bay is thought to be interested in Seattle pitching prospect Taijuan Walker but indicated Wednesday for the first time the Mariners might be able to put together an acceptable package without him.

TOP SCOUT

Long-time Mariners scout Bill Kearns was one of four honorees in the 30th annual Scout of the Year reception.

Kearns, 92, joined the club in its 1977 inaugural season after previously working for the Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals.

Also recognized: Bill Bryk and Howard McCullough of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Doug Mapson of the San Francisco Giants.

The award seeks to recognize scouts who have served at least 25 years.

RULE 5 DRAFT

The Mariners have the sixth pick, and a roster spot available, for the Rule 5 draft, which takes place Thursday morning and marks the closing event at the winter meetings.

“There are guys we like,” general manager Jack Zduriencik said. “We’ll discuss that (Wednesday) and decide what we want to do.”

Players who have four or five years of professional service, depending on their age when they signed their first contract, are eligible for selection in the draft if they are not protected on a club’s 40-man roster.

Clubs pay $50,000 to select a player, who then must remain on their major-league roster for the entire next season or be offered back to their former club for $25,000.

Generally, there are about 15 players selected, but it’s rare for more than three or four to remain in the big leagues for the entire season. The whole process rarely takes more than 15 minutes.

Even so, an occasional gem surfaces.

The Royals plucked Joakim Soria, who became an All-Star closer, from San Diego in the 2006 draft. Other successes include Johan Santana (1999), Dan Uggla (2005) and Josh Hamilton (2006).

PRYOR’S RECOVERY

Right-handed reliever Stephen Pryor is expected to return to the mound at some point in spring training after suffering a torn back muscle last April that ended his season.

“I think he’ll throw in spring training,” Zduriencik said. “I think the question is whether he’ll be ready for opening day. That’s the big question. We’ll need to see how he’s progressing.”

Pryor, 24, did not allow a run in 7 innings over seven appearances and stranded seven of eight inherited runners before suffering the injury. He was 3-1 with a 3.91 ERA in 26 outings in 2012.

bob.dutton@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @TNT_Mariners

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