Cross outfielder/first baseman Michael Cuddyer off the Mariners’ offseason shopping list. Cuddyer is heading to the New York Mets after agreeing Monday to a free-agent deal for $21 million over two years.
The Mets will also lose their first-round pick, which was No. 15 overall, in next year’s draft as the penalty for signing a player who received a one-year qualifying offer of $15.3 million from his former club.
The Mariners appeared very interested in Cuddyer — at least before Colorado extended its qualifying offer. The Rockies will now get a pick between the first and second rounds in compensation for losing Cuddyer.
Surrendering their first-round pick isn’t, from all appearances, deterring the Mariners from pursuing two other free-agent targets: Tigers designated hitter/first baseman Victor Martinez and Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez.
The Mariners have been linked to Martinez for several weeks, but their apparent interest in Ramirez didn’t surface until general managers began gathering this week in Phoenix for their annual meetings.
The rumor mill typically accelerates during the GM meetings, which often set the stage for trades and free-agent signings that occur next month at the winter meetings or later in the offseason.
Martinez, who turns 36 in December, is believed to be seeking a four-year deal at $60 million or more. That doesn’t mean he’ll get it, although some analysts believe the bidding could push it higher.
Detroit made a qualifying offer and appears determined to keep Martinez, while several other clubs, including Toronto and the Chicago White Sox, are showing interest.
Ramirez, who turns 31 in December, made $16 million this season and is believed to be seeking a deal in excess of $100 million after rejecting a qualifying offer from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Many analysts believe his price will drop because clubs will be reluctant to meet those teams’ terms and lose a high draft pick.
RUMORS FROM GM MEETINGS
• The Dodgers are determined to trim their surplus of outfielders by trading at least one of three high-priced veterans: Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier.
The Mariners had significant interest in Kemp, 30, in the past, but the sticking point was always his contract — and he is still owed $107 million over the next five years.
That might no longer be a deal-killer.
Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com reports the Dodgers are “willing to include anything from no money to significant money depending upon return” in a deal involving any of the three.
• Former Mariners outfielder/first baseman Corey Hart is “getting a lot of hits” on the free-agent market, according to Jon Heyman ofCBSSports.com
Hart, 32, labored through an injury-filled year while batting .203 with six homers and 21 RBIs in 68 games. He signed in December with the Mariners after missing all of 2013 because of two knee surgeries.
• Atlanta is looking to deal outfielder/catcher Evan Gattis, according to Joel Sherman of The New York Post and others.
Gattis, 28, fits the profile — a right-handed hitter with pop — of what the Mariners are seeking. He hit 43 homers over the past two years.
• Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik is expected to try to gauge trade interest in outfielder Michael Saunders over the next few days.
Saunders, who turns 28 later this month, is a left-handed hitter who doesn’t appear to fit with the club’s future plans. Even so, club officials believe Saunders has value; nothing suggests they are looking to just dump him.
Mariners ace Felix Hernandez will learn Wednesday whether he will win the American League’s Cy Young Award for the second time in five years.
Hernandez is generally viewed as a favorite for the award after being selected by his peers with the Players Choice Award and league executives with “The Sporting News” award as the AL’s top pitcher.
The other finalists for the AL Cy Young Award are Cleveland’s Corey Kluber and Chicago’s Chris Sale.
The Cy Young Award is determined by a vote of 30-member panels from Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Balloting took place prior to the start of postseason play.
The BBWAA announced the Jackie Robinson Rookies of the Year on Monday: Chicago first baseman Jose Abreu in the American League and New York pitcher Jacob deGrom in the National League.
The managers of the year will be announced Tuesday; the Cy Young Award winners on Wednesday; and the Most Valuable Players on Thursday. All announcements will be made on MLB Network.
The other finalists:
• American League Manager of the Year: Mike Scioscia, Los Angeles Angels; Buck Showalter, Baltimore Orioles; and Ned Yost, Kansas City Chiefs.
• National League Manager of the Year: Bruce Bochy, San Francisco Giants; Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh Pirates; and Matt Williams, Washington Nationals.
• National League Cy Young Award: Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati Reds; Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers; and Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals.
• American League Most Valuable Player: Michael Brantley, Cleveland Indians, Victor Martinez, Detroit Tigers; and Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels.
• National League Most Valuable Player: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers; Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates; and Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins.
IWAKUMA ON FRIDAY
Plans call for Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma to start Friday in Tokyo for Major League Baseball’s all-star touring team in a five-game series against Japan’s national team.
It will be Iwakuma’s only appearance in the all-star series, which begins Wednesday in Osaka. The rules will limit pitchers to 80 pitches.
“This is the very first (such series) in eight years,” Iwakuma told MLB.com, “and I’m participating in this event as a representative of Major League Baseball, so I feel very honored.
“I was really looking forward to coming back here as an American representative, so I’m very happy for that.”
Iwakuma spent 11 years with the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes and the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles before signing with the Mariners prior to the 2012 season. He was 15-9 with a 3.52 ERA this season in 28 starts despite missing a month because of a finger injury.
“This is one of a very few chances that I have to show my pitching as a Seattle Mariner,” Iwakuma told MLB.com. “I’d like to let the fans enjoy my pitching, and I’ll do my best.”
Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano is also on the MLB club.
The MLB team opens play at 1 a.m. Tuesday (PDT) with an exhibition game against a team composed of players from the Hanshin Tigers and Yomiuri Giants in Osaka.
The actual series begins Wednesday in Osaka before continuing Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Tokyo. The final game is Nov. 18 in Sapporo. The tour concludes Nov. 20 with an exhibition game on Okinawa.
Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez began his winter season Sunday by yielding no earned runs in six innings for Lara in a 5-4 victory in 10 innings over Magallanes in the Venezuela League.
Ramirez, 24, gave up two unearned runs while striking out three and walking two. He got a no-decision when Lara’s bullpen blew a lead before the Cardinals rallied for a walk-off victory in the 10th.
The Mariners have no options left on Ramirez, which means he can’t be sent to the minors next year without clearing waivers. He was 1-6 with a 5.26 ERA this season in 17 big league games, including 14 starts.
• Right-hander Victor Sanchez suffered his first winter ball loss Sunday in six starts when he gave up three runs (two earned) in 31/3 innings for Caracas in a 6-0 loss at La Guaira in Venezuela.
Sanchez, 19, was ranked by “Baseball America” as the organization’s No. 7 prospect prior to the 2014 season. He is 2-1 with a 2.73 ERA in six starts for Caracas after going 7-6 with a 4.19 ERA in 23 starts at Double-A Jackson.