The Seattle Mariners could fill one hole on their roster by signing a veteran catcher this week - and the frontrunners appear to be free agents Mike Redmond and Gregg Zaun.
Both men are 38-year-olds considered solid defensively, and while Zaun is a switch-hitter with a .251 career batting average, Redmond is a right-handed hitter with a .289 lifetime mark.
Zaun was offered arbitration Tuesday by the Tampay Bay Rays. He has played for the Orioles, Marlins, Rangers, Royals, Astros, Rockies and Blue Jays.
Redmond was not offered arbitration by the Twins. In a career that began in 1998, the Seattle native who played his college ball for Gonzaga also played for the Marlins.
The Mariners want a veteran catcher capable of handling their staff next season, when they believe Rob Johnson won't be healthy enough to start the year after three off-season surgeries. That could leave the team with rookie Adam Moore, who has appeared in just eight big-league games, as their primary catching candidate.
Given that, general manager Jack Zduriencik would like to resolve the issue, and Redmond may be the player he's decided to offer a contract. Redmond is coming off a two-year, $2 million deal in Minnesota, Zaun a one year, $2 million deal in Tampa.
Stay tuned. And now, your morning links:
- One of the first big free agent signings is the Braves landing 38-year-old closer Billy Wagner to a one-year, $7 million deal with a $6.5 million option for 2011. The move will also cost Atlanta a draft pick, which will go to Boston because the Red Sox offered Wagner arbitration.
- Carl Crawford is in the final year of a contract, but Tampa Bay VP Andrew Friedman said the Rays aren't considering a trade. Instead, Friedman said, the 'mutual interest' of both parties is to get an extension done.
- The folks over at Foxsports.com are looking at Florida's negotiation with pitcher Josh Johnson as a forerunner to what Seattle will have to offer Felix Hernandez. Johnson asked for four years and $42 million - and Felix might get four years and $60 million, they estimate.
- The Colorado Rockies may have zeroed in on free agent infielder Bobby Crosby and pitcher Noah Lowry. Lowry hasn't pitched since 2007 because of injuries, and Crosby - a one-time American League rookie of the year - is being sought as a bench player.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro said Jamie Moyer is out of the hospital but facing an unrelated knee surgery next month that could make him a question mark in spring training.
- Dustin Pedroia, shortstop? Apparently, the Red Sox asked if he could and the All-Star second baseman is embracing the idea.
- Trouble ahead? Baseball gave drug exemptions to 108 big-league players last year for treatment of attention deficit disorder. Congress believes some players claim the exempton to get performance-enhancing drugs.
- Former Mariner Miguel Olivo was Kansas City's opening day catcher in 2009, but the Royals not only bought out his 2010 option, they declined to offer him arbitration after he led the teamwith 23 home runs.